Between the political revolutions of 1789 and 1848 no other subject so directly challenged the notion of "good taste" in literature as food. To be "in good taste," a work of the high style excluded references to literal taste; culinary allusions in tragedy and lyric poetry therefore represented an ironic attack on literary decorum and a liberation from the constraints of figurative taste.
In The Ambiguity of Taste, Jocelyne Kolb attempts to define changes in genre and metaphorical usage by undertaking close readings of six authors. She looks first at Molière and Fielding, whose culinary allusions herald poetic revolution but whose works do not themselves escape the limits of a neoclassical aesthetic. Byron and Heine, known as renegades, are treated in separate chapters and in the greatest detail. The penultimate chapter joins Goethe and Hugo as champions of poetic freedom, and in the final chapter Kolb briefly considers Thomas Mann and Proust, whose works display the gains of poetic revolution.
This book will be savored by students of comparative literature and European Romanticism. Its accessible style will tempt nonspecialists and food enthusiasts as well.
Jocelyne Kolb is Professor of German Studies, Smith College. This book was the winner of the 1995 American Conference on Romanticism Book Prize.
In The Art of Distances, Corina Stan identifies an insistent preoccupation with interpersonal distance in a strand of twentieth-century European and Anglophone literature that includes the work of George Orwell, Paul Morand, Elias Canetti, Iris Murdoch, Walter Benjamin, Annie Ernaux, Günter Grass, and Damon Galgut. Specifically, Stan shows that these authors all engage in philosophical meditations, in the realm of literary writing, on the ethical question of how to live with others and how to find an ideal interpersonal distance at historical moments when there are no obviously agreed-upon social norms for ethical behavior.
Bringing these authors into dialogue with philosophers such as Michel de Montaigne, Ralph Waldo Emerson, Friedrich Nietzsche, Sigmund Freud, Helmuth Plessner, Martin Heidegger, Jean-Luc Nancy, Emmanuel Levinas, Peter Sloterdijk, Guillaume le Blanc, and Pierre Zaoui, Stan shows how the question of the right interpersonal distance became a fundamental one for the literary authors under consideration and explores what forms and genres they proposed in order to convey the complexity of this question. Albeit unknowingly, she suggests, they are engaged in fleshing out what Roland Barthes called “a science, or perhaps an art, of distances.”
Bluestocking Feminism and British-German Cultural Transfer, 1750–1837 examines the processes of cultural transfer between Britain and Germany during the Personal Union, the period from 1714 to 1837 when the kings of England were simultaneously Electors of Hanover. While scholars have generally focused on the political and diplomatic implications of the Personal Union, Alessa Johns offers a new perspective by tracing sociocultural repercussions and investigating how, in the period of the American and French Revolutions, Britain and Germany generated distinct discourses of liberty even though they were nonrevolutionary countries. British and German reformists—feminists in particular—used the period’s expanded pathways of cultural transfer to generate new discourses as well as to articulate new views of what personal freedom, national character, and international interaction might be. Johns traces four pivotal moments of cultural exchange: the expansion of the book trade, the rage for translation, the effect of revolution on intra-European travel and travel writing, and the impact of transatlantic journeys on visions of reform. Johns reveals the way in which what she terms “bluestocking transnationalism” spawned discourses of liberty and attempts at sociocultural reform during this period of enormous economic development, revolution, and war.
What is “Europe,” and when did it come to be? In the Renaissance, the term “Europe” circulated widely. But as Katharina N. Piechocki argues in this compelling book, the continent itself was only in the making in the fifteenth and sixteenth centuries. Cartographic Humanism sheds new light on how humanists negotiated and defined Europe’s boundaries at a momentous shift in the continent’s formation: when a new imagining of Europe was driven by the rise of cartography. As Piechocki shows, this tool of geography, philosophy, and philology was used not only to represent but, more importantly, also to shape and promote an image of Europe quite unparalleled in previous centuries. Engaging with poets, historians, and mapmakers, Piechocki resists an easy categorization of the continent, scrutinizing Europe as an unexamined category that demands a much more careful and nuanced investigation than scholars of early modernity have hitherto undertaken. Unprecedented in its geographic scope, Cartographic Humanism is the first book to chart new itineraries across Europe as it brings France, Germany, Italy, Poland, and Portugal into a lively, interdisciplinary dialogue.
Winner of the 2004 Book Award from the Society for the Study of Early Modern Women and the 2003 Roland H. Bainton Prize for Literature from the Sixteenth Century Society and Conference.
Our common definition of literacy is the ability to read and write in one language. But as Margaret Ferguson reveals in Dido's Daughters, this description is inadequate, because it fails to help us understand heated conflicts over literacy during the emergence of print culture. The fifteenth through seventeenth centuries, she shows, were a contentious era of transition from Latin and other clerical modes of literacy toward more vernacular forms of speech and writing.
Fegurson's aim in this long-awaited work is twofold: to show that what counted as more valuable among these competing literacies had much to do with notions of gender, and to demonstrate how debates about female literacy were critical to the emergence of imperial nations. Looking at writers whom she dubs the figurative daughters of the mythological figure Dido—builder of an empire that threatened to rival Rome—Ferguson traces debates about literacy and empire in the works of Marguerite de Navarre, Christine de Pizan, Elizabeth Cary, and Aphra Behn, as well as male writers such as Shakespeare, Rabelais, and Wyatt. The result is a study that sheds new light on the crucial roles that gender and women played in the modernization of England and France.
Viewed as a crucible of modernity, the eighteenth century has become a special focus of Modern Language Quarterly, a journal that has led the revival of literary history as a subject for empirical study and theoretical reflection. The essays in this volume, which cover a broad cross-section of eighteenth-century literary history, represent the best studies of this period recently published in MLQ. While examining different parts of the century, as well as different aspects and countries, contributors explore the intersection of literary studies with history, philosophy, psychology, and the visual arts. They discuss a creative range of topics, including feminism, nationalism, domestic ideology, the classical novel–drama–lyric poetry triad, and both aesthetic and philosophical writings. This span of subjects and approaches extends the focus of Eighteenth-Century Literary History beyond its period to project a spirit of inquiry onto literary history in general.
Contributors. Nancy Armstrong, Marshall Brown, Sanford Budick, Catherine Gallagher, Thomas M. Kavanagh, Jon Klancher, Jill Kowalik, Jonathan Brody Kramnick, Christie McDonald, Jerome McGann, Ruth Perry, Michael B. Prince, Leonard Tennenhouse
"The Elsewhere." Or, midbar-biblical Hebrew for both "wilderness" and "speech." A place of possession and dispossession, loss and nostalgia. But also a place that speaks. Ingeniously using a Talmudic interpretive formula about the disposition of boundaries, Newton explores narratives of "place, flight, border, and beyond." The writers of The Elsewhere are a disparate company of twentieth-century memoirists and fabulists from the Levant (Palestine/Israel, Egypt) and East Central Europe. Together, their texts-cunningly paired so as to speak to one another in mutually revelatory ways-narrate the paradox of the "near distance."
Feeling Faint is a book about human consciousness in its most basic sense: the awareness, at any given moment, that we live and feel. Such awareness, it argues, is distinct from the categories of selfhood to which it is often assimilated, and can only be uncovered at the margins of first-person experience. What would it mean to be conscious without being a first person—to be conscious in the absence of a self?
Such a phenomenon, subsequently obscured by the Enlightenment identification of consciousness and personal identity, is what we discover in scenes of swooning from the Renaissance: consciousness without self, consciousness reconceived as what Fredric Jameson calls "a registering apparatus for transformed states of being." Where the early modern period has often been seen in terms of the rise of self-aware subjectivity, Feeling Faint argues that swoons, faints, and trances allow us to conceive of Renaissance subjectivity in a different guise: as the capacity of the senses and passions to experience, regulate, and respond to their own activity without the intervention of first-person awareness.
In readings of Renaissance authors ranging from Montaigne to Shakespeare, Pertile shows how self-loss affords embodied consciousness an experience of itself in a moment of intimate vitality which precedes awareness of specific objects or thoughts—an experience with which we are all familiar, and yet which is tantalizingly difficult to pin down.
In today’s academe, the fields of science and literature are considered unconnected, one relying on raw data and fact, the other focusing on fiction. During the period between the Renaissance and the Enlightenment, however, the two fields were not so distinct. Just as the natural philosophers of the era were discovering in and adopting from literature new strategies and techniques for their discourse, so too were poets and storytellers finding inspiration in natural philosophy, particularly in astronomy.
A work that speaks to the history of science and literary studies, Fictions of the Cosmos explores the evolving relationship that ensued between fiction and astronomical authority. By examining writings of Kepler, Godwin, Hooke, Cyrano, Cavendish, Fontenelle, and others, Frédérique Aït-Touati shows that it was through the telling of stories—such as through accounts of celestial journeys—that the Copernican hypothesis, for example, found an ontological weight that its geometric models did not provide. Aït-Touati draws from both cosmological treatises and fictions of travel and knowledge, as well as personal correspondences, drawings, and instruments, to emphasize the multiple borrowings between scientific and literary discourses. This volume sheds new light on the practices of scientific invention, experimentation, and hypothesis formation by situating them according to their fictional or factual tendencies.
In recent years, the rise of fundamentalism and a related turn to religion in the humanities have led to a powerful resurgence of interest in the problem of political theology. In a critique of this contemporary fascination with the theological underpinnings of modern politics, Victoria Kahn proposes a return to secularism—whose origins she locates in the art, literature, and political theory of the early modern period—and argues in defense of literature and art as a force for secular liberal culture.
Kahn draws on theorists such as Carl Schmitt, Leo Strauss, Walter Benjamin, and Hannah Arendt and their readings of Shakespeare, Hobbes, Machiavelli, and Spinoza to illustrate that the dialogue between these modern and early modern figures can help us rethink the contemporary problem of political theology. Twentieth-century critics, she shows, saw the early modern period as a break from the older form of political theology that entailed the theological legitimization of the state. Rather, the period signaled a new emphasis on a secular notion of human agency and a new preoccupation with the ways art and fiction intersected the terrain of religion.
Although the Renaissance epic was the principal literary means of representing war in its time, modern readers of the epic often lack a basic understanding of the history of warfare. Michael Murrin here offers the first analysis to bring an understanding of both the history of literature and the history of warfare to the study of the epic.
Analyzing English, Italian, and Iberian epics published between 1483 and 1610, Murrin focuses on particular aspects of warfare (cavalry clashes, old and new style sieges, the tactical use of the gun, naval warfare) and the responses to them by authors from Malory to Milton. Throughout, Murrin traces a parallel development in the art of war and in the epic as it emerged from the romance.
Murrin demonstrates that with new technology and increasing levels of carnage, the practice of war gradually drifted from traditional epic modes. But before changes in warfare completely doomed the tradition in which the epic was rooted, this crisis provoked an unprecedented range of experiment which marks heroic narrative in the late Renaissance and ultimately led to the epic without war.
A much-needed introduction to the neglected subject of warfare in epic literature, this work is an uncommonly wide-ranging exercise in comparative criticism that will appeal to historians and students of literature alike.
This book of essays—carefully written by twenty-four authorities on their subjects—provides a deep understanding of and appreciation for the coherence, primacy, and importance of the search for identity in the divergent areas of Latin America, the Caribbean, and Europe.
In an age of upheaval and challenged faith, traditional heroes are hard to come by, and harder still to love, with their bloodstained hands and backs unbowed by the consequences of their actions. Through penetrating readings of key works of modern European literature, Victor Brombert shows how a new kind of hero—the antihero—has arisen to replace the toppled heroic model.
Though they fail, by design, to live up to conventional expectations of mythic heroes, antiheroes are not necessarily "failures." They display different kinds of courage more in tune with our time and our needs: deficiency translated into strength, failure experienced as honesty, dignity achieved through humiliation. Brombert explores these paradoxes in the works of Büchner, Gogol, Dostoevsky, Flaubert, Svevo, Hašek, Frisch, Camus, and Levi. Coming from diverse cultural and linguistic traditions, these writers all use the figure of the antihero to question handed-down assumptions, to reexamine moral categories, and to raise issues of survival and renewal embodying the spirit of an uneasy age.
Avoiding the male-authored model of competing orations, French and Italian women of the Renaissance framed their dialogues as informal conversations, as letters with friends that in turn became epistles to a wider audience, and even sometimes as dramas. No other study to date has provided thorough, comparative view of these works across French, Italian, and Latin. Smarr's comprehensive treatment relates these writings to classical, medieval, and Renaissance forms of dialogue, and to other genres including drama, lyric exchange, and humanist invective -- as well as to the real conversations in women's lives -- in order to show how women adapted existing models to their own needs and purposes.
Janet Levarie Smarr is Professor of Theatre and Italian Studies at the University of California, San Diego.
This bracing study redefines romanticism in terms of its philosophical habits of self-consciousness. According to Paul Hamilton, metaromanticism, or the ways in which writers of the romantic period generalized their own practices, was fundamentally characteristic of the romantic project itself.
Through a close look at the aesthetics of Friedrich Schiller and Jean-Jacques Rousseau, and key works by Samuel Taylor Coleridge, Percy and Mary Shelley, John Keats, Sir Walter Scott, Jane Austen, and many others, Hamilton shows how the romantic movement's struggle with its own tenets was not an effort to seek an alternative way of thought, but instead a way of becoming what it already was. And yet, as he reveals, the romanticists were still not content with their own self-consciousness. Pushed to the limit, such contemplation either manifested itself as self-disgust or found aesthetic ideas regenerated in discourses outside of aesthetics altogether.
Mirabile Dictu covers in six separate chapters the works of Virgil, Dante, Boccaccio, Ariosto, Tasso, and Spenser. Its broad aim is to provide a select cross-section of works in the Middle Ages and Renaissance in order systematically to examine and compare for the first time the marvelous in the light of epic genre, of literary and critical theory (both past and present), and of historically and culturally determined representational practices.
Douglas Biow organizes this volume around the literary topos of the bleeding branch through which a metamorphosed person speaks. In each chapter the author takes this "marvellous event" as his starting point for a broad-ranging comparison of the several poets who employed the image; he also investigates the ways in which a period's notion of "history" underpins its representations of the marvelous. This method offers a controlled yet flexible framework within which to develop readings that engage a multiplicity of theories and approaches.
Mirabile Dictu offers not only an insightful survey of the literary connections among this group of important poets, but also a useful point of departure for scholars and students intrigued by the reuse of epic conventions, by the peculiar role of "marvellous" events in dramatic poetry, and by the later history of classical literature.
In the decades surrounding World War I, religious belief receded in the face of radical new ideas such as Marxism, modern science, Nietzschean philosophy, and critical theology. Modes of Faith addresses both this decline of religious belief and the new modes of secular faith that took religion’s place in the minds of many writers and poets.
Theodore Ziolkowski here examines the motives for this embrace of the secular, locating new modes of faith in art, escapist travel, socialism, politicized myth, and utopian visions. James Joyce, he reveals, turned to art as an escape while Hermann Hesse made a pilgrimage to India in search of enlightenment. Other writers, such as Roger Martin du Gard and Thomas Mann, sought temporary solace in communism or myth. And H. G. Wells, Ziolkowski argues, took refuge in utopian dreams projected in another dimension altogether.
Rooted in innovative and careful comparative reading of the work of writers from France, England, Germany, Italy, and Russia, Modes of Faith is a critical masterpiece by a distinguished literary scholar that offers an abundance of insight to anyone interested in the human compulsion to believe in forces that transcend the individual.
Monstrous Kinds is the first book to explore textual representations of disability in the global Renaissance. Elizabeth B. Bearden contends that monstrosity, as a precursor to modern concepts of disability, has much to teach about our tendency to inscribe disability with meaning. Understanding how early modern writers approached disability not only provides more accurate genealogies of disability, but also helps nuance current aesthetic and theoretical disability formulations.
The book analyzes the cultural valences of early modern disability across a broad national and chronological span, attending to the specific bodily, spatial, and aesthetic systems that contributed to early modern literary representations of disability. The cross section of texts (including conduct books and treatises, travel writing and wonder books) is comparative, putting canonical European authors such as Castiglione into dialogue with transatlantic and Anglo-Ottoman literary exchange. Bearden questions grand narratives that convey a progression of disability from supernatural marvel to medical specimen, suggesting that, instead, these categories coexist and intersect.
Juxtaposing the insights of feminism with those of marxism, psychoanalysis, and deconstruction, this unique collection creates new common ground for women's studies and Renaissance studies. An outstanding array of scholars—literary critics, art critics, and historians—reexamines the role of women and their relations with men during the Renaissance. In the process, the contributors enrich the emerging languages of and about women, gender, and sexual difference.
Throughout, the essays focus on the structures of Renaissance patriarchy that organized power relations both in the state and in the family. They explore the major conequences of patriarchy for women—their marginalization and lack of identity and power—and the ways in which individual women or groups of women broke, or in some cases deliberately circumvented, the rules that defined them as a secondary sex. Topics covered include representations of women in literature and art, the actual work done by women both inside and outside of the home, and the writings of women themselves. In analyzing the rhetorical strategies that "marginalized" historical and fictional women, these essays counter scholarly and critical traditions that continue to exhibit patriarchal biases.
Scenes from the Drama of European Literature was first published in 1984. Minnesota Archive Editions uses digital technology to make long-unavailable books once again accessible, and are published unaltered from the original University of Minnesota Press editions.
In his foreword to this reprint of Erich Auerbach's major essays, Paolo Valesio pays tribute to the author with an old saying that he feels is still the best metaphor for the genesis of a literary critic: the critic is born of the marriage of Mercury and Philology. The German-born Auerbach was a scholar who specialized in Romance philology, a tradition rooted in German historicism—the conviction that works of art must be judged as products of variable places and times, not from the eye of eternity, nor by a single unchanging aesthetic standard. The mercurial element in Auerbach's work is significant, for in a life of motion—of exile from Hitler's Germany—he came to believe that literary history was evolutionary, ever-changing—a view reflected in the title of his book, which suggests life and literature are historical drama.
Auerbach is best known for his magisterial study Mimesis: The Representation of Reality in Western Literature, written during the war, in Istanbul, when he was far from his own culture and from the books that he normally relied on. In 1957, just before his death, he arranged for the publication in English of his six most important essays, in a volume called Scenes from the Drama of European Literature.As in Mimesis,Auerbach's fresh insights bring to the disparate subjects of the essays a coherence that reflects the unity of Western, humanistic tradition, even while they hint at the deepening pessimism of his later years.
In the first essay, "Figura," Auerbach develops his concept of the figural interpretation of reality; applied here to Dante's Divine Comedy,it also served as groundwork for his treatment of realism in Mimesis. A second essay on Dante's examines the poet's depiction of St. Francis of Assisi. The next three essays deal with the paradoxical nature of Pascal's political thought; the merging of la cour and la ville—the king's entourage and the bourgeoisie—chiefly in relation to the seventeenth-century French theater; and Vico's formulation concepts by the German Romantics. In the final essay Auerbach confers upon Baudelaire's Fleurs du Mal the designation "aesthetic dignity" because, not in spite of, the hideous reality of the peoms.
"A major collection of important essays on European literature, almost all classics, and almost all required reading for their various centuries—thus the book is indispensable for the medieval period,the seventeenth and nineteenth centuries; in addition, the 'Figura' and the Vico essays are very significant theoretical statements. The book is lucid and far more accessible for undergraduates than, say, current high theory. Nor has Auerbach's own work aged . . . All of his varied strengths are evidence in this collection, which is a better way into his work than Mimesis." –Fredric Jameson, University of California, Santa Cruz.
The period of reform, revolution, and reaction that characterized seventeenth- and eighteenth-century Europe also witnessed an intensified interest in lesbians. In scientific treatises and orientalist travelogues, in French court gossip and Dutch court records, in passionate verse, in the rising novel, and in cross-dressed flirtations on the English and Spanish stage, poets, playwrights, philosophers, and physicians were placing sapphic relations before the public eye.
In The Sexuality of History, Susan S. Lanser shows how intimacies between women became harbingers of the modern, bringing the sapphic into the mainstream of some of the most significant events in Western Europe. Ideas about female same-sex relations became a focal point for intellectual and cultural contests between authority and liberty, power and difference, desire and duty, mobility and change, order and governance. Lanser explores the ways in which a historically specific interest in lesbians intersected with, and stimulated, systemic concerns that would seem to have little to do with sexuality. Departing from the prevailing trend of queer reading whereby scholars ferret out hidden content in “closeted” texts, Lanser situates overtly erotic representations within wider spheres of interest. The Sexuality of History shows that just as we can understand sexuality by studying the past, so too can we understand the past by studying sexuality.
The Smell of Books investigates the ways in which the olfactory sense has manifested itself in Italian, German, French, Russian, and English literature of the past 150 years. Against a broad interdiscriplinary backdrop that includes linguistics, psychology, aesthetics, and sociology, Hans J. Rindisbacher takes a new approach to literary history – one centered on the sense of smell.
Rindisbacher examines the works of the German Expressionists and of Baudelaire, Huxley, Rimbaud, Wilde, and Turgenev, as well as Holocaust memoirs and contemporary German books such as Patrick Suskind’s Das Parfum and Christa Wolf’s Storfall. He demonstrates that the sense of smell, which has heretofore occupied a position at the bottom of the sensory hierarchy, plays a consequential role in romantic, modern, and contemporary European and Russian literature.
Berlin in the 1920s was a cosmopolitan hub where for a brief, vibrant moment German-Jewish writers crossed paths with Hebrew and Yiddish migrant writers. Working against the prevailing tendency to view German and East European Jewish cultures as separate fields of study, Strangers in Berlin is the first book to present Jewish literature in the Weimar Republic as the product of the dynamic encounter between East and West. Whether they were native to Germany or sojourners from abroad, Jewish writers responded to their exclusion from rising nationalist movements by cultivating their own images of homeland in verse, and they did so in three languages: German, Hebrew, and Yiddish.
Author Rachel Seelig portrays Berlin during the Weimar Republic as a “threshold” between exile and homeland in which national and artistic commitments were reexamined, reclaimed, and rebuilt. In the pulsating yet precarious capital of Germany’s first fledgling democracy, the collision of East and West engendered a broad spectrum of poetic styles and Jewish national identities.
Today we do not expect poems to carry scientifically valid information. But it was not always so. In Sweet Science, Amanda Jo Goldstein returns to the beginnings of the division of labor between literature and science to recover a tradition of Romantic life writing for which poetry was a privileged technique of empirical inquiry.
Goldstein puts apparently literary projects, such as William Blake’s poetry of embryogenesis, Goethe’s journals On Morphology, and Percy Shelley’s “poetry of life,” back into conversation with the openly poetic life sciences of Erasmus Darwin, J. G. Herder, Jean-Baptiste Lamarck, and Étienne Geoffroy Saint-Hilaire. Such poetic sciences, Goldstein argues, share in reviving Lucretius’s De rerum natura to advance a view of biological life as neither self-organized nor autonomous, but rather dependent on the collaborative and symbolic processes that give it viable and recognizable form. They summon De rerum natura for a logic of life resistant to the vitalist stress on self-authorizing power and to make a monumental case for poetry’s role in the perception and communication of empirical realities. The first dedicated study of this mortal and materialist dimension of Romantic biopoetics, Sweet Science opens a through-line between Enlightenment materialisms of nature and Marx’s coming historical materialism.
Uncle Tom’s Cabin broke publishing records and made Harriet Beecher Stowe in her time one of the world’s most famous authors. The book was a bestseller in Britain and was translated into some forty languages. Yet today Stowe tends to be seen wholly in the context of American literary history. Transatlantic Stowe: Harriet Beecher Stowe and European Culture is the first book to consider multiple aspects of Stowe’s career in an international context. The groundbreaking essays of Transatlantic Stowe examine the author’s literary and literal forays in Europe and the ways in which intellectual and cultural exchanges between the Old and New Worlds shaped her work. It was a crucial moment in the transatlantic discourse, a turning of the tide, and Stowe was among the first American novelists to be lionized in Europe---and pirated by publishers---in the same way that European writers had been treated in America.Blending historical and cultural criticism and drawing on fresh primary material from London and Paris, Transatlantic Stowe includes essays exploring Stowe’s relationship with European writers and the influence of her European travels on her work, especially the controversial travel narrative Sunny Memories of Foreign Lands and her “Italian novel” Agnes of Sorrento.Interdisciplinary and itself transatlantic, the collection discusses visual art and material culture as well as literature and politics and includes contributions from Britain, Ireland, and the United States. Together these essays offer new interpretations of Stowe’s most popular novel as well as new readings of her many other works, illuminate the myriad connections between Stowe and European writers, and thus rewrite literary history by returning Stowe to the larger political, historical, and literary contexts of nineteenth-century Europe.
Armchair travel may seem like an oxymoron. Doesn’t travel require us to leave the house? And yet, anyone who has lost herself for hours in the descriptive pages of a novel or the absorbing images of a film knows the very real feeling of having explored and experienced a different place or time without ever leaving her seat. No passport, no currency, no security screening required—the luxury of armchair travel is accessible to us all. In Traveling in Place, Bernd Stiegler celebrates this convenient, magical means of transport in all its many forms.
Organized into twenty-one “legs”—or short chapters—Traveling in Place begins with a consideration of Xavier de Maistre’s 1794 Voyage autour de ma chambre, an account of the forty-two-day “journey around his room” Maistre undertook as a way to entertain himself while under house arrest. Stiegler is fascinated by the notion of exploring the familiar as though it were completely new and strange. He engages writers as diverse as Roussel, Beckett, Perec, Robbe-Grillet, Cortázar, Kierkegaard, and Borges, all of whom show how the everyday can be brilliantly transformed. Like the best guidebooks, Traveling in Place is more interested in the idea of travel as a state of mind than as a physical activity, and Stiegler reflects on the different ways that traveling at home have manifested themselves in the modern era, from literature and film to the virtual possibilities of the Internet, blogs, and contemporary art.
Reminiscent of the pictorial meditations of Sebald, but possessed of the intellectual playfulness of Calvino, Traveling in Place offers an entertaining and creative Baedeker to journeying at home.
Who during the Renaissance could have dissented from the values of reason and restraint, patience and humility, rejection of the worldly and the physical? These widely articulated values were part of the inherited Christian tradition and were reinforced by key elements in the Renaissance, especially the revival of Stoicism and Platonism. This book is devoted to those who did dissent from them. Richard Strier reveals that many long-recognized major texts did question the most traditional values and uncovers a Renaissance far more bumptious and affirmative than much recent scholarship has allowed.
The Unrepentant Renaissance counters the prevalent view of the period as dominated by the regulation of bodies and passions, aiming to reclaim the Renaissance as an era happily churning with surprising, worldly, and self-assertive energies. Reviving the perspective of Jacob Burckhardt and Nietzsche, Strier provides fresh and uninhibited readings of texts by Petrarch, More, Shakespeare, Ignatius Loyola, Montaigne, Descartes, and Milton. Strier’s lively argument will stir debate throughout the field of Renaissance studies.