American Hybrid Poetics explores the ways in which hybrid poetics—a playful mixing of disparate formal and aesthetic strategies—have been the driving force in the work of a historically and culturally diverse group of women poets who are part of a robust tradition in contesting the dominant cultural order. Amy Moorman Robbins examines the ways in which five poets—Gertrude Stein, Laura Mullen, Alice Notley, Harryette Mullen, and Claudia Rankine—use hybridity as an implicitly political strategy to interrupt mainstream American language, literary genres, and visual culture, and expose the ways in which mass culture in the twentieth and twenty-first centuries has had a powerfully standardizing impact on the collective American imagination. By forcing encounters between incompatible traditions—consumer culture with the avant-garde, low culture forms with experimental poetics, prose poetry with linguistic subversiveness—these poets bring together radically competing ideologies and highlight their implications for lived experience. Robbins argues that it is precisely because these poets have mixed forms that their work has gone largely unnoticed by leading members and critics in experimental poetry circles.
Russia has fascinated outsiders for centuries, and according to Alicia Chudo, it is high time this borscht stopped. In this hilarious send up of Russian literature and history, Chudo takes no prisoners as she examines Russia's great tradition of unreadable geniuses, revolutionaries who can't hit the broad side of a tsar, and Soviets who like their vodka but love their tractors.
Written in the tradition of 1066and All That, The Pooh Perplex, and The Classics Redefined, And Quiet Flows the Vodka will, with any luck, be the final word on the ghastly first two millennia of Russian literature, history, and culture.
Robert C. Benchley's sketches and articles, published in periodicals like Life, Vanity Fair, and The New Yorker, earned him a reputation as one of the sharpest humorists of his time; his influence—on contemporaries such as E. B. White, James Thurber, and S. J. Perelman, or followers like Woody Allen, Steve Martin, and Richard Pryor—has left an indelible mark on the American comic tradition. The Benchley Roundup collects those pieces, selected by Benchley's son Nathaniel, "which seem to stand up best over the years"-a compendium of the most endearing and enduring work from one of America's funniest and most penetrating wits.
"It took me fifteen years to discover that I had no talent for writing, but I couldn't give it up because by then I was too famous."
The Body of Poetry collects essays, reviews, and memoir by Annie Finch, one of the brightest poet-critics of her generation. Finch's germinal work on the art of verse has earned her the admiration of a wide range of poets, from new formalists to hip-hop writers. And her ongoing commitment to women's poetry has brought Finch a substantial following as a "postmodern poetess" whose critical writing embraces the past while establishing bold new traditions. The Body of Poetry includes essays on metrical diversity, poetry and music, the place of women poets in the canon, and on poets Emily Dickinson, Phillis Wheatley, Sara Teasdale, Audre Lorde, Marilyn Hacker, and John Peck, among other topics. In Annie Finch's own words, these essays were all written with one aim: "to build a safe space for my own poetry. . . . [I]n the attempt, they will also have helped to nourish a new kind of American poetics, one that will prove increasingly open to poetry's heart."
Poet, translator, and critic Annie Finch is director of the Stonecoast low-residency MFA program at the University of Southern Maine. She is co-editor, with Kathrine Varnes, of An Exaltation of Forms: Contemporary Poets Celebrate the Diversity of Their Art, and author of The Ghost of Meter: Culture and Prosody in American Free Verse, Eve, and Calendars. She is the winner of the eleventh annual Robert Fitzgerald Prosody Award for scholars who have made a lasting contribution to the art and science of versification.
Bollywood movies have been long known for their colorful song-and-dance numbers and knack for combining drama, comedy, action-adventure, and music. But when India entered the global marketplace in the early 1990s, its film industry transformed radically. Production and distribution of films became regulated, advertising and marketing created a largely middle-class audience, and films began to fit into genres like science fiction and horror. In this bold study of what she names New Bollywood, Sangita Gopal contends that the key to understanding these changes is to analyze films’ evolving treatment of romantic relationships.
Gopalargues that the form of the conjugal duo in movies reflects other social forces in India’s new consumerist and global society. She takes a daring look at recent Hindi films and movie trends—the decline of song-and-dance sequences, the upgraded status of the horror genre, and the rise of the multiplex and multi-plot—to demonstrate how these relationships exemplify different formulas of contemporary living. A provocative account of how cultural artifacts can embody globalization’s effects on intimate life, Conjugations will shake up the study of Hindi film.
Critique is a form of thinking and acting. Since the end of the 18th century, there has been a dynamization and fluidization of the understanding of form, as concepts such as the break, marginalization, tearing, and opening indicate. As a philosophical problem, the question of form arises in critical theory from Marx to Adorno. Since the 1960s, literary practices have proliferated that generate critical statements less through traditional argument and more through the programmatic use of formal means. At the same time, the writing self, along with its attitudes, reflections, affects, and instruments, visibly enters the critical scene. This volume examines how the interdependence of critique, object, and form translates into critical stances, understood as learnable, reproducible gestures, which bear witness to changing conditions and media of critical practice.
"Every writer has advice for aspiring writers. Mine is predicated on formative years spent cleaning my father’s calf pens: Just keep shoveling until you’ve got a pile so big, someone has to notice. The fact that I cast my life’s work as slung manure simply proves that I recognize an apt metaphor when I accidentally stick it with a pitchfork. . . . Poetry was my first love, my gateway drug—still the poets are my favorites—but I quickly realized I lacked the chops or insights to survive on verse alone. But I wanted to write. Every day. And so I read everything I could about freelancing, and started shoveling."
The pieces gathered within this book draw on fifteen years of what Michael Perry calls "shovel time"—a writer going to work as the work is offered. The range of subjects is wide, from musky fishing, puking, and mountain-climbing Iraq War veterans to the frozen head of Ted Williams. Some assignments lead to self-examination of an alarming magnitude (as Perry notes, "It quickly becomes obvious that I am a self-absorbed hypochondriac forever resolving to do better nutritionally and fitness-wise but my follow-through is laughable.") But his favorites are those that allow him to turn the lens outward: "My greatest privilege," he says, "lies not in telling my own story; it lies in being trusted to tell the story of another."
Joe Blundo began his writing career at the Columbus Dispatch in 1978 and has been writing about Columbus ever since. In 1997, Joe was given his own column titled “So to Speak,” which quickly became one of the most popular sections of the paper. Raccoon dinners, Abe Lincoln impersonators, and things in nature that aren’t fair are just a few of the topics Blundo explores in this collection of the best of his newspaper columns. The columns range from hilarious to poignant to indignant—but all contain his unique voice and somewhat tilted way of looking at life. He’s especially drawn to the quirks that make Columbus what it is, people with a passion they can’t stop talking about, and recording the milestones in his family’s life. Sometimes he spouts off on the big issues of the day but more often he looks for the little things that others might not notice.
A few years ago, Christopher Buckley wrote of Bruce Jay Friedman in the New York Times Book Review that he "has been likened to everyone from J. D. Salinger to Woody Allen," but that "he is: Bruce Jay Friedman, sui generis, and no mean thing. No further comparisons are necessary." We are happy to report that he remains the same Bruce Jay Friedman in his unique, unblinking, and slightly tilted essays—collected here for the first time—in Even the Rhinos Were Nymphos.
A butler school in Houston, a livestock auction in Little Rock, a home for "frozen guys" in California, JFK's humidor in Manhattan—all are jumping off points for Friedman's baleful and sharply satirical scrutiny of American life and behavior in the second half of the twentieth century. Travel with Friedman from Harlem to Hollywood, from Port-au-Prince to Etta's Eat Shop in Chicago. In these pieces, which were published in literary and mass-circulation magazines from the 1960s to the 1990s, you'll meet such luminaries as Castro and Clinton, Natalie Wood and Clint Eastwood, and even Friedman's friends Irwin Shaw, Nelson Algren, and Mario Puzo. Friedman is a master of the essay, whether the subject is crime reporting ("Lessons of the Street"), Hollywood shenanigans ("My Life among the Stars"), or his outrageous adventures as the editor of pulp magazines (the classic "Even the Rhinos Were Nymphos"). We could sing his praises as a journalist, humorist, and social critic. But, as Buckley tells us, being Bruce Jay Friedman is enough.
Bruce Jay Friedman is the author of seven novels (including The Dick, Stern, and A Mother's Kisses), four collections of short stories, four full-length plays (including Scuba Duba and Steambath), and the screenplays for the movies Splash and Stir Crazy.
From his cavernous voice and unparalleled artistry to his fearless struggle for human rights, Paul Robeson was one of the twentieth century's greatest icons and polymaths. In Everything Man Shana L. Redmond traces Robeson's continuing cultural resonances in popular culture and politics. She follows his appearance throughout the twentieth century in the forms of sonic and visual vibration and holography; theater, art, and play; and the physical environment. Redmond thereby creates an imaginative cartography in which Robeson remains present and accountable to all those he inspired and defended. With her bold and unique theorization of antiphonal life, Redmond charts the possibility of continued communication, care, and collectivity with those who are dead but never gone.
With all the recent advances in molecular and evolutionary biology, one could almost wonder why we need the fossil record. Molecular sequence data can resolve taxonomic relationships, experiments with fruit flies demonstrate evolution and development in real time, and field studies of Galapagos finches have provided the strongest evidence for natural selection ever measured in the wild. What, then, can fossils teach us that living organisms cannot?
Evolutionary Patterns demonstrates the rich variety of clues to evolution that can be gleaned from the fossil record. Chief among these are the major trends and anomalies in species development revealed only by "deep time," such as periodic mass extinctions and species that remain unchanged in form for millions of years. Contributors explore modes of development, the tempo of speciation and extinction, and macroevolutionary patterns and trends. The result is an important contribution to paleobiology and evolutionary biology, and a spirited defense of the fossil record as a crucial tool for understanding evolution and development.
The contributors are Ann F. Budd, Efstathia Bura, Leo W. Buss, Mike Foote, Jörn Geister, Stephen Jay Gould, Eckart Hâkansson, Jean-Georges Harmelin, Lee-Ann C. Hayek, Jeremy B. C. Jackson, Kenneth G. Johnson, Nancy Knowlton, Scott Lidgard, Frank K. McKinney, Daniel W. McShea, Ross H. Nehm, Beth Okamura, John M. Pandolfi, Paul D. Taylor, and Erik Thomsen.
In this groundbreaking book, Jessica Martell investigates the relationship between industrial food and the emergence of literary modernisms in Britain and Ireland. By the early twentieth century, the industrialization of the British Empire’s food system had rendered many traditional farming operations, and attendant agrarian ways of life, obsolete. Weaving insights from modernist studies, food studies, and ecocriticism, Farm to Form contends that industrial food made nature “modernist,” a term used as literary scholars understand it—stylistically disorienting, unfamiliar, and artificial but also exhilarating, excessive, and above all, new. Martell draws in part upon archives in the United Kingdom but also presents imperial foodways as an extended rehearsal for the current era of industrial food supremacy. She analyzes how pastoral mode, anachronism, fragmentation, and polyvocal narration reflect the power of the literary arts to reckon with—and to resist—the new “modernist ecologies” of the twentieth century.
Deeply informed by Martell’s extensive knowledge of modern British, Irish, American, and World Literatures, this progressive work positions modernism as central to the study of narratives of resistance against social and environmental degradation. Analyzed works include those of Thomas Hardy, E. M. Forster, Virginia Woolf, Joseph Conrad, George Russell, and James Joyce.
In light of climate change, fossil fuel supremacy, nutritional dearth, and other pressing food issues, modernist texts bring to life an era of crisis and anxiety similar to our own. In doing so, Martell summons the past as a way to employ the modernist term of “defamiliarizing” the present so that entrenched perceptions can be challenged. Our current food regime is both new and constantly evolving with the first industrial food trades. Studying earlier cultural responses to them invites us to return to persistent problems with new insights and renewed passion.
The Forces of Form in German Modernism charts a modern history of form as emergent from force. Offering a provocative alternative to the imagery of crisis and estrangement that has preoccupied scholarship on modernism, Malika Maskarinec shows that German modernism conceives of human bodies and aesthetic objects as shaped by a contest of conflicting and reciprocally intensifying forces: the force of gravity and a self-determining will to form. Maskarinec thereby discloses, for the first time, German modernism's sustained preoccupation with classical mechanics and with how human bodies and artworks resist gravity.
Considering canonical artists such as Rodin and Klee, seminal authors such as Kafka and Döblin, and largely neglected thinkers in aesthetics and art history such as those associated with Empathy Aesthetics, Maskarinec unpacks the manifold anthropological and aesthetic concerns and historical lineage embedded in the idea of form as the precarious achievement of uprightness.
The Forces of Form in German Modernism makes a decisive contribution to our understanding of modernism and to contemporary discussions about form, empathy, materiality, and human embodiment.
How are we to read the world after the fall of the Berlin Wall? Form and Instability brings notions of figuration and translation to bear on the post-1989 condition. "Eastern Europe" in this book is more than a territory. Marked by belatedness and untimely remainders, it is an unstable object that is continually misapprehended. From the intersection of comparative literature, area studies, and literary theory, Anita Starosta considers the epistemological and aesthetic consequences of the disappearance of the Second World. Literature here becomes a critical lens in its own right—both object and method, it confronts us with the rhetorical dimension of language and undermines the ideological and hermeneutic coherence of established categories. In original readings of Joseph Conrad and Witold Gombrowicz, among other twentieth-century writers, Form and Instability unsettles cultural boundaries as we know them.
The early papers collected here trace a trajectory through the work and thinking of Charles Fillmore over his long and distinguished career—reflecting his desire to make sense of the workings of language in a way that keeps in mind questions of language form, language use, and the conventions linking form, meaning, and practice.
This volume continues the collection of work by Charles J. Fillmore, which he started in 2003. Taken together, the work gathered in these volumes reflects Fillmore’s desire to make sense of the workings of language in a way that keeps in mind questions of language form, language use, and the conventions linking form, meaning, and practice.
Divided into four parts, the papers collected in Volume II explore language in use; semantics and pragmatics; text and discourse; and language in society.
This volume continues the collection of work by Charles J. Fillmore, which he started in 2003. Taken together, the work gathered in these volumes reflects Fillmore’s desire to make sense of the workings of language in a way that keeps in mind questions of language form, language use, and the conventions linking form, meaning, and practice.
Divided into four parts, the papers collected in Volume III explore the organization of linguistic knowledge; the foundations of constructing grammar; construction grammar analyses; and constructions and language in use.
Form and Reform: Reading across the Fifteenth Century challenges the idea of any definitive late medieval moment and explores instead the provocatively diverse, notably untidy, and very rich literary culture of the age. These essays from leading medievalists, edited by Shannon Gayk and Kathleen Tonry, both celebrate and complicate the reemergence of the fifteenth century in literary studies. Moreover, this is the first collection to concentrate on the period between 1450 and 1500—the crucial five decades, this volume argues, that must be understood to comprehend the entire century’s engagement with literary form in shifting historical contexts.
The three parts of the collection read the categories of form and reform in light of both aesthetic and historical contexts, taking up themes of prose and prosody, generic experimentation, and shifts in literary production. The first section considers how attention to material texts might revise our understanding of form; the second revisits devotional writing within and beyond the context of reform; and the final section plays out different perspectives on the work of John Skelton that each challenge and test notions of the fifteenth century in literary history.
Form and the Art of Theatre
Paul Newell Campbell University of Wisconsin Press, 1984 Library of Congress PN1655.C29 1984 | Dewey Decimal 809.2
This book is an argument for a particular point of view toward theatre, not a summary or survey of dramatic theory and criticism. The argument centers on the concept of form, a concept that is the rock on which all theoretical and critical works are built, or against which they shatter.
Form from Form
Christopher Bolin University of Iowa Press, 2018 Library of Congress PS3602.O6533 | Dewey Decimal 811.6
“Was it a crater or a sinkhole?” asks a voice in one of the mysterious, wonderstruck poems in Christopher Bolin’s Form from Form, whose cadences modulate with the energies of form-making, deformation, and elusive reformation. Natural forms and forms of human manufacture, forms of absence and those of urgent desire construct and deconstruct each other in Bolin’s singular music, which blends unnerving plainness and obliqueness, the childlike and the alien.
As their sites drift from workers’ camps to city squares, isolated coasts to windswept plains, the poems in Form from Form trace a map of a fragmented ecology, dense with physical detail of altered landscapes and displaced populations. In tones of austere beauty and harsh discordance, these poems provide a “field guide to luminescent things,” a visionary fretwork of the possibilities and impossibilities of faith in the present moment.
The meaning of any linguistic expression resides not only in the words, but also in the ways that those words are conveyed. In her new study, Miako N. P. Rankin highlights the crucial interrelatedness of form and meaning at all levels in order to consider specific types of American Sign Language (ASL) expression. In particular, Form, Meaning, and Focus in American Sign Language considers how ASL expresses non-agent focus, similar to the meaning of passive voice in English.
Rankin’s analyses of the form-meaning correspondences of ASL expressions of non-agent focus reveals an underlying pattern that can be traced across sentence and verb types. This pattern produces meanings with various levels of focus on the agent. Rankin has determined in her meticulous study that the pattern of form-meaning characteristic of non-agent focus in ASL is used prolifically in day-to-day language. The recognition of the frequency of this pattern holds implications regarding the acquisition of ASL, the development of curricula for teaching ASL, and the analysis of ASL discourse in effective interpretation.
Immanuel Kant's claim that the categorical imperative of morality is based in practical reason has long been a source of puzzlement and doubt, even for sympathetic interpreters. In The Form of Practical Knowledge, Stephen Engstrom provides an illuminating new interpretation of the categorical imperative, arguing that we have exaggerated and misconceived Kant's break with tradition. By developing an account of practical knowledge that situates Kant's ethics within his broader epistemology, Engstrom’s work deepens and reshapes our understanding of Kantian ethics.
By any measure—international reputation, influence upon fellow writers and later generations, number of books published, scholarly and critical attention—Robert Creeley (1926–2005) is a literary giant, an outstanding, irreplaceable poet. For many decades readers have remarked upon the almost harrowing emotional nakedness of Creeley’s writing. In the years since his death, it may be that the disappearance of the writer allows that nakedness to be observed more readily and without embarrassment.
Written by the foremost critics of his poetry, Form, Power, and Person in Robert Creeley’s Life and Work is the first book to treat Creeley’s career as a whole. Masterfully edited by Stephen Fredman and Steve McCaffery, the essays in this collection have been gathered into three parts. Those in “Form” consider a variety of characteristic formal qualities that differentiate Creeley from his contemporaries. In “Power,” writers reflect on the pressure exerted by emotions, gender issues, and politics in Creeley’s life and work. In “Person,” Creeley’s unique artistic and psychological project of constructing a person—reflected in his correspondence, teaching, interviews, collaborations, and meditations on the concept of experience—is excavated. While engaging these three major topics, the authors remain, as Creeley does, intent upon the ways such issues appear in language, for Creeley’s nakedness is most conspicuously displayed in his intimate relationship with words.
In the spring of 1968, the English faculty at the University of Wisconsin-Madison (UW) voted to remedialize the first semester of its required freshman composition course, English 101. The following year, it eliminated outright the second semester course, English 102. For the next quarter-century, UW had no real campus-wide writing requirement, putting it out of step with its peer institutions and preventing it from fully joining the “composition revolution” of the 1970s. In From Form to Meaning, David Fleming chronicles these events, situating them against the backdrop of late 1960s student radicalism and within the wider changes taking place in U.S. higher education at the time.
Fleming begins with the founding of UW in 1848. He examines the rhetorical education provided in the university’s first half-century, the birth of a required, two semester composition course in 1898, faculty experimentation with that course in the 1920s and 1930s, and the rise of a massive “current-traditional” writing program, staffed primarily by graduate teaching assistants (TAs), after World War II. He then reveals how, starting around 1965, tensions between faculty and TAs concerning English 101-102 began to mount. By 1969, as the TAs were trying to take over the committee that supervised the course, the English faculty simply abandoned its long-standing commitment to freshman writing.
In telling the story of composition’s demise at UW, Fleming shows how contributing factors—the growing reliance on TAs; the questioning of traditional curricula by young instructors and their students; the disinterest of faculty in teaching and administering general education courses—were part of a larger shift affecting universities nationally. He also connects the events of this period to the long, embattled history of freshman composition in the United States. And he offers his own thoughts on the qualities of the course that have allowed it to survive and regenerate for over 125 years.
“Bottom line is, I’m the kind of guy who’s happy to go to the opera, but I should like to be allowed to wear steel-toed boots with my evening suit. I like to read Harper’s with a chaser of Varmint Hunter Magazine. Maybe that’s why I enjoy a good show under canvas. Here we sit, brain-deep in arts and culture, but we’re also just people hanging out in a tent, some of us wearing boots, a few of us wearing Birkenstocks, but best of all we’re breathing free fresh air filled with music.”
From Scandihoovian Spanglish to snickering chickens, New York Times bestselling author and humorist Michael Perry navigates a wide range of topics in this collection of brief essays drawn from his weekly appearances on the nationally syndicated Tent Show Radio program. Fatherhood, dumpster therapy, dangerous wedding rings, Christmas trees, used cars, why you should have bacon in your stock portfolio, loggers in clogs—whatever the subject, Perry has a rare ability to touch both the funny bone and the heart.
In premodern China, elite painters used imagery not to mirror the world around them, but to evoke unfathomable experience. Considering their art alongside the philosophical traditions that inform it, The Great Image Has No Form explores the “nonobject”—a notion exemplified by paintings that do not seek to represent observable surroundings.
François Jullien argues that this nonobjectifying approach stems from the painters’ deeply held belief in a continuum of existence, in which art is not distinct from reality. Contrasting this perspective with the Western notion of art as separate from the world it represents, Jullien investigates the theoretical conditions that allow us to apprehend, isolate, and abstract objects. His comparative method lays bare the assumptions of Chinese and European thought, revitalizing the questions of what painting is, where it comes from, and what it does. Provocative and intellectually vigorous, this sweeping inquiry introduces new ways of thinking about the relationship of art to the ideas in which it is rooted.
The Great Latke-Hamantash Debate
Edited by Ruth Fredman Cernea University of Chicago Press, 2005 Library of Congress PN6231.J5G66 2006 | Dewey Decimal 641.56760207
Creation versus evolution. Nature versus nurture. Free will versus determinism. Every November at the University of Chicago, the best minds in the world consider the question that ranks with these as one of the most enduring of human history: latke or hamantash? This great latke-hamantash debate, occurring every year for the past six decades, brings Nobel laureates, university presidents, and notable scholars together to debate whether the potato pancake or the triangular Purim pastry is in fact the worthier food.
What began as an informal gathering is now an institution that has been replicated on campuses nationwide. Highly absurd yet deeply serious, the annual debate is an
opportunity for both ethnic celebration and academic farce. In poetry, essays, jokes, and revisionist histories, members of elite American academies attack the latke-versus-hamantash question with intellectual panache and an unerring sense of humor, if not chutzpah. The Great Latke-Hamantash Debate is the first collection of the best of these performances, from Martha Nussbaum's paean to both foods—in the style of Hecuba's Lament—to Nobel laureate Leon Lederman's proclamation on the union of the celebrated dyad. The latke and the hamantash are here revealed as playing a critical role in everything from Chinese history to the Renaissance, the works of Jane Austen to constitutional law.
Philosopher and humorist Ted Cohen supplies a wry foreword, while anthropologist Ruth Fredman Cernea provides historical and social context as well as an overview of the Jewish holidays, latke and hamantash recipes, and a glossary of Yiddish and Hebrew terms, making the book accessible even to the uninitiated. The University of Chicago may have split the atom in 1942, but it's still working on the equally significant issue of the latke versus the hamantash.
“As if we didn’t have enough on our plates, here’s something new to argue about. . . . To have to pick between sweet and savory, round and triangular, latke and hamantash. How to choose? . . . Thank goodness one of our great universities—Chicago, no less—is on the case. For more than 60 years, it has staged an annual latke-hamantash debate. . . . So, is this book funny? Of course it’s funny, even laugh-out-loud funny. It’s Mickey Katz in academic drag, Borscht Belt with a PhD.”—David Kaufmann, Forward
“I’ve never believed that living in one place means being one thing all the time, condemned like Minnie Pearl to wear the same hat for every performance. Life is more complicated than that.”
In this remarkable book of days, John Hildebrand charts the overlapping rings—home, town, countryside—of life in the Midwest. Like E. B. White, Hildebrand locates the humor and drama in ordinary life: church suppers, Friday night football, outdoor weddings, garden compost, family reunions, roadside memorials, camouflage clothing. In these wry, sharply observed essays, the Midwest isn’t The Land Time Forgot but a more complicated (and vastly more interesting) place where the good life awaits once we figure exactly out what it means. From his home range in northwestern Wisconsin, Hildebrand attempts to do just that by boiling down a calendar year to its rich marrow of weather, animals, family, home—in other words, all the things that matter.
Interrogative constructions are the linguistic forms by which questions are expressed. Their analysis is of great interest to linguists, as well as to computer scientists, human-computer interface designers, and philosophers. Interrogative constructions have played a central role in the development of modern syntactic theory. Nonetheless, to date most syntactic work has taken place quite separately from formal semantic and pragmatic work on interrogatives. Although there has by now been a significant amount of work on interrogatives across a variety of languages, there exist few syntactic and semantic treatments that provide a comprehensive account of a wide range of interrogative constructions and uses in a single language.
This book closes the gap in research on this subject. By developing the frameworks of Head Driven Phrase Structure Grammar and Situation Semantics, the authors provide an account that rigorously integrates syntactic, semantic, and contextual dimensions of interrogatives. The challenge of providing exhaustive coverage of the interrogative constructions of English, including various constructions that occur solely in dialogue interaction, leads to new insights about a variety of contentious theoretical issues. These include matters of semantic ontology, the quantificational status of wh-phrases, the semantic effect of wh-fronting, the status of constructions in grammatical theory, the integration of illocutionary information in the grammar, and the nature of ellipsis resolution in dialogue. The account is stated with sufficient rigor to enable fairly direct computational implementation.
“Jewish stories,” writes Adam Biro, “resemble every people’s stories.” Yet at the same time there is no better way to understand the soul, history, millennial suffering, or, crucially, the joys of the Jewish people than through such tales—“There’s nothing,” writes Biro, “more revelatory of the Jewish being.”
With Is It Good for the Jews? Biro offers a sequel to his acclaimed collection of stories Two Jews on a Train. Through twenty-nine tales—some new, some old, but all finely wrought and rich in humor—Biro spins stories of characters coping with the vicissitudes and reverses of daily life, while simultaneously painting a poignant portrait of a world of unassimilated Jewish life that has largely been lost to the years. From rabbis competing to see who is the most humble, to the father who uses suicide threats to pressure his children into visiting, to three men berated by the Almighty himself for playing poker, Biro populates his stories with memorable characters and absurd—yet familiar—situations, all related with a dry wit and spry prose style redolent of the long tradition of Jewish storytelling.
A collection simultaneously of foibles and fables, adversity and affection, Is It Good for the Jews? reminds us that if in the beginning was the word, then we can surely be forgiven for expecting a punch line to follow one of these days.
Abe and his friend Sol are out for a walk together in a part of town they haven't been in before. Passing a Christian church, they notice a curious sign in front that says "$1,000 to anyone who will convert." "I wonder what that's about," says Abe. "I think I'll go in and have a look. I'll be back in a minute; just wait for me."
Sol sits on the sidewalk bench and waits patiently for nearly half an hour. Finally, Abe reappears.
"Well," asks Sol, "what are they up to? Who are they trying to convert? Why do they care? Did you get the $1,000?"
Indignantly Abe replies, "Money. That's all you people care about."
Ted Cohen thinks that's not a bad joke. But he also doesn't think it's an easy joke. For a listener or reader to laugh at Abe's conversion, a complicated set of conditions must be met. First, a listener has to recognize that Abe and Sol are Jewish names. Second, that listener has to be familiar with the widespread idea that Jews are more interested in money than anything else. And finally, the listener needs to know this information in advance of the joke, and without anyone telling him or her. Jokes, in short, are complicated transactions in which communities are forged, intimacy is offered, and otherwise offensive stereotypes and cliches lose their sting—at least sometimes.
Jokes is a book of jokes and a book about them. Cohen loves a good laugh, but as a philosopher, he is also interested in how jokes work, why they work, and when they don't. The delight at the end of a joke is the result of a complex set of conditions and processes, and Cohen takes us through these conditions in a philosophical exploration of humor. He considers questions of audience, selection of joke topics, the ethnic character of jokes, and their morality, all with plenty of examples that will make you either chuckle or wince. Jokes: more humorous than other philosophy books, more philosophical than other humor books.
"Befitting its subject, this study of jokes is . . . light, funny, and thought-provoking. . . . [T]he method fits the material, allowing the author to pepper the book with a diversity of jokes without flattening their humor as a steamroller theory might. Such a book is only as good as its jokes, and most of his are good. . . . [E]ntertainment and ideas in one gossamer package."—Kirkus Reviews
"One of the many triumphs of Ted Cohen's Jokes-apart from the not incidental fact that the jokes are so good that he doesn't bother to compete with them-is that it never tries to sound more profound than the jokes it tells. . . . [H]e makes you feel he is doing an unusual kind of philosophy. As though he has managed to turn J. L. Austin into one of the Marx Brothers. . . . Reading Jokes makes you feel that being genial is the most profound thing we ever do-which is something jokes also make us feel-and that doing philosophy is as natural as being amused."—Adam Phillips, London Review of Books
"[A] lucid and jargon-free study of the remarkable fact that we divert each other with stories meant to make us laugh. . . . An illuminating study, replete with killer jokes."—Kevin McCardle, The Herald (Glasgow)
"Cohen is an ardent joke-maker, keen to offer us a glimpse of how jokes are crafted and to have us dwell rather longer on their effects."—Barry C. Smith, Times Literary Supplement
"Because Ted Cohen loves jokes, we come to appreciate them more, and perhaps think further about the quality of good humor and the appropriateness of laughter in our lives."—Steve Carlson, Christian Science Monitor
What’s wrong with the contemporary American medical system? What does it mean when a state’s democratic presidential primary casts 40% of its votes for a felon incarcerated in another state? What’s so bad about teaching by PowerPoint? What is truly the dirtiest word in America?
These are just a few of the engaging and controversial issues that Michael Blumenthal, poet, novelist, essayist, and law professor, tackles in this collection of poignant essays commissioned by West Virginia Public Radio.
In these brief essays, Blumenthal provides unconventional insights into our contemporary political, educational, and social systems, challenging us to look beyond the headlines to the psychological and sociological realities that underlie our conventional thinking.
As a widely published poet and novelist, Blumenthal brings along a lawyer’s analytical ability with his literary sensibility, effortlessly facilitating a distinction between the clichés of today’s pallid political discourse and the deeper realities that lie beneath. This collection will captivate and provoke those with an interest in literature, politics, law, and the unwritten rules of our social and political engagements.
Maimonides’ Guide of the Perplexed is generally read as an attempt either to harmonize reason and revelation or to show that they are irreconcilable. Moving beyond these familiar debates, Josef Stern argues that the perplexity addressed in this famously enigmatic work is the tension between human matter and form: the body and intellect.
Meaning, Form, and Body
Mark Turner, Fey Parrill, and Vera Tobin CSLI, 2010 Library of Congress P35.M38 2009 | Dewey Decimal 306.44
Meaning, Form, and Body brings together renowned figures in the field of cognitive linguistics to discuss two related research areas in the study of linguistics: the integration of form and meaning and language and the human body. Among the numerous topics discussed are grammatical constructions, conceptual integration, and gesture.
“The longer you work, the more the mystery deepens of what appearance is, or how what is called appearance can be made in another medium."—Francis Bacon, painter
This, in a nutshell, is the central problem in the theory of art. It has fascinated philosophers from Plato to Wittgenstein. And it fascinates artists and art historians, who have always drawn extensively on philosophical ideas about language and representation, and on ideas about vision and the visible world that have deep philosophical roots.
John Hyman’s The Objective Eye is a radical treatment of this problem, deeply informed by the history of philosophy and science, but entirely fresh. The questions tackled here are fundamental ones: Is our experience of color an illusion? How does the metaphysical status of colors differ from that of shapes? What is the difference between a picture and a written text? Why are some pictures said to be more realistic than others? Is it because they are especially truthful or, on the contrary, because they deceive the eye?
The Objective Eye explores the fundamental concepts we use constantly in our most innocent thoughts and conversations about art, as well as in the most sophisticated art theory. The book progresses from pure philosophy to applied philosophy and ranges from the metaphysics of color to Renaissance perspective, from anatomy in ancient Greece to impressionism in nineteenth-century France. Philosophers, art historians, and students of the arts will find The Objective Eye challenging and absorbing.
Of Huck and Alice was first published in 1983. 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.
Huck Finn and Alice B. Toklas allow Mark Twain and Gertrude Stein to slip away from the cramped and smothery intentions of proper writing. Like Krazy Kat, who transforms the hurt of Ignatz Mouse's brick into humorous bliss, Huck and Alice brilliantly misrepresent painful authority. As exemplars of humorous skepticism, Mark Twain and Gertrude Stein are at the center of this far-ranging book that begins with an examination of Jacksonian dialect humor, ends with an account of the humorous style in post-modern American fiction, and considers along the way the sweet parlance of Krazy Kat, the meaning of Harpo Marx's silence, and the iconicity of Woody Allen's face. Schmitz's analysis of the humorous style explores the texture of its language, discusses its preferred forms, and shows how the humorist frames his or her question within the text.
While the philosophical dimension of painting has long been discussed, a clear case for painting as a form of visual thinking has yet to be made. Traditionally, vanitas still life paintings are considered to raise ontological issues while landscapes direct the mind towards introspection. Grootenboer moves beyond these considerations to focus on what remains unspoken in painting, the implicit and inexpressible that manifests in a quality she calls pensiveness. Different from self-aware or actively desiring images, pensive images are speculative, pointing beyond interpretation. An alternative pictorial category, pensive images stir us away from interpretation and toward a state of suspension where thinking through and with the image can start.
In fluid prose, Grootenboer explores various modalities of visual thinking— as the location where thought should be found, as a refuge enabling reflection, and as an encounter that provokes thought. Through these considerations, she demonstrates that art works serve as models for thought as much as they act as instruments through which thinking can take place. Starting from the premise that painting is itself a type of thinking, The Pensive Image argues that art is capable of forming thoughts and shaping concepts in visual terms.
Allometry, the study of the growth rate of an organism's parts in relation to the whole, has produced exciting results in research on animals. Now distinguished plant biologist Karl J. Niklas has written the first book to apply allometry to studies of the evolution, morphology, physiology, and reproduction of plants.
Niklas covers a broad spectrum of plant life, from unicellular algae to towering trees, including fossil as well as extant taxa. He examines the relation between organic size and variations in plant form, metabolism, reproduction, and evolution, and draws on the zoological literature to develop allometric techniques for the peculiar problems of plant height, the relation between body mass and body length, and size-correlated variations in rates of growth. For readers unfamiliar with the basics of allometry, an appendix explains basic statistical methods.
For botanists interested in an original, quantitative approach to plant evolution and function, and for zoologists who want to learn more about the value of allometric techniques for studying evolution, Plant Allometry makes a major contribution to the study of plant life.
In this first comprehensive treatment of plant biomechanics, Karl J. Niklas analyzes plant form and provides a far deeper understanding of how form is a response to basic physical laws. He examines the ways in which these laws constrain the organic expression of form, size, and growth in a variety of plant structures, and in plants as whole organisms, and he draws on the fossil record as well as on studies of extant species to present a genuinely evolutionary view of the response of plants to abiotic as well as biotic constraints. Well aware that some readers will need an introduction to basic biomechanics or to basic botany, Niklas provides both, as well as an extensive glossary, and he has included a number of original drawings and photographs to illustrate major structures and concepts.
This volume emphasizes not only methods of biomechanical analysis but also the ways in which it allows one to ask, and answer, a host of interesting questions. As Niklas points out in the first chapter, "From the archaic algae to the most derived multicellular terrestrial plants, from the spectral properties of light-harvesting pigments in chloroplasts to the stacking of leaves in the canopies of trees, the behavior of plants is in large part responsive to and intimately connected with the physical environment. In addition, plants tend to be exquisitely preserved in the fossil record, thereby giving us access to the past." Its biomechanical analyses of various types of plant cells, organs, and whole organisms, and its use of the earliest fossil records of plant life as well as sophisticated current studies of extant species, make this volume a unique and highly integrative contribution to studies of plant form, evolution, ecology, and systematics.
"Play Redux excels in tying together intellectual traditions that are rooted in literary studies, cognitive science, play studies and several other fields, thereby creating a logical whole. Through this, the book makes service to several academic communities by pointing out their points of contact. This is clearly an important contribution to a growing academic field, and will no doubt become important in many future discussions about digital games and play."
---Frans Mäyrä, University of Tampere, Finland
"David Myers has researched video games longer than anyone else. Play Redux shows him continually relevant, never afraid of courting controversy."
---Jesper Juul, IT University of Copenhagen, Denmark
Play Redux is an ambitious description and critical analysis of the aesthetic pleasures of video game play, drawing on early twentieth-century formalist theory and models of literature. Employing a concept of biological naturalism grounded in cognitive theory, Myers argues for a clear delineation between the aesthetics of play and the aesthetics of texts. In the course of this study, Myers asks a number of interesting questions: What are the mechanics of human play as exhibited in computer games? Can these mechanisms be modeled? What is the evolutionary function of cognitive play, and is it, on the whole, a good thing? Intended as a provocative corrective to the currently ascendant, if not dominant, cultural and ethnographic approach to game studies and play, Play Redux will generate interest among scholars of communications, new media, and film.
David Myers is Reverend Aloysius B. Goodspeed Distinguished Professor at the School of Mass Communication, Loyola University New Orleans.
“ A self-proclaimed ‘ postmodern poetess,’ Annie Finch lives up to the moniker, presenting a simultaneously thorough and mercurial array of musings on poetics focusing on form and meter, remaining three beats ahead of the rank-and-file herd of traditional prosodists.”
— Art New England
For beginning or advanced students of poetry focused on the art of structuring a poem, A Poet’ s Ear serves as a handbook to writing in numerous fixed forms. Here, Annie Finch’ s remarkably in-depth introduction to poetic form in English opens a new and exciting world to contemporary poets. From the basic meters and traditional European forms of the ballad and the sonnet to poetic forms brought to English from worldwide cultures and postmodern forms and techniques, A Poet’ s Ear serves as both a survey and a guide to the exploration of poetic form. More diverse and comprehensive than any other form handbook, A Poet’ s Ear will be essential to the serious student of poetry.
Purporting to be the proceedings of a forum on Pooh convened at the Modern Language Association's annual convention, this sequel of sorts to the classic send-up of literary criticism, The Pooh Perplex, brilliantly parodies the academic fads and figures that held sway at the millennium. Deconstruction, poststructuralist Marxism, new historicism, radical feminism, cultural studies, recovered-memory theory, and postcolonialism, among other methods, take their shots at the poor stuffed bear and Frederick Crews takes his well-considered, wildly funny shots at them. His aim, as ever, is true.
Questions of Form was first published in 1989. 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 Questions on Form, Joelle Proust traces the concept of the analytic proposition from Kant's development of the notion down to its place in the work of Rudolf Carnap, a founder of logical empiricism and a key figure in contemporary analytic philosophy. Using a method known in France as topique comparative,she provides a rigorous exposition of analyticity, situating it within four major philosophical systems—those of Kant, Bolzano, Frege, and Carnap—and clearly delineating its development from one system to the next.
Proust takes as her point of departure Kant's distinction between analytic and synthetic judgments. Though she makes clear that Kant drew on Locke, Hume, and Leibniz, she argues that his notion of analyticity was innovative, not simply an elaboration of something already found in their work. She shows that the analytic proposition unexpectedly (given its modest status in Kant) came to play an important part in efforts to convert problems considered "transcendental" into questions of belonging to formal logic.
Ultimately, her comparison of their systems reveals that the concept of the analytic, however specific its rile in each, remains linked to a foundationalist strategy—in effect, to the transcendentalist questions Kant used when he reinterpreted the findings of his empiricist predecessors. Hence, this book's provocative claim: today's so-called logical empiricism owes much more to Kant's notion of science than to Hume's.
What do American poets mean when they talk about freedom? How can form help us understand questions about what shapes we want to give our poetic lives, and how much power we have to choose those shapes? For that matter, what do we even mean by we? In this collection of essays, Peter Campion gathers his thoughts on these questions and more to form an evolutionary history of the past century of American poetry.
Through close readings of the great modernists, midcentury objectivists, late twentieth-century poets, his contemporaries, and more, Campion unearths an American poetic landscape that is subtler and more varied than most critics have allowed. He discovers commonalities among poets considered opposites, dramatizes how form and history are mutually entailing, and explores how the conventions of poetry, its inheritance, and its inventions sprang from the tensions of ordinary life. At its core, this is a book about poetic making, one that reveals how the best poets not only receive but understand and adapt what comes before them, reinterpreting the history of their art to create work that is, indeed, radical as reality.
In this revisionary study, Barbara Foley challenges prevalent myths about left-wing culture in the Depression-era U.S. Focusing on a broad range of proletarian novels and little-known archival material, the author recaptures an important literature and rewrites a segment of American cultural history long obscured and distorted by the anti-Communist bias of contemporaries and critics. Josephine Herbst, William Attaway, Jack Conroy, Thomas Bell and Tillie Olsen, are among the radical writers whose work Foley reexamines. Her fresh approach to the U.S. radicals' debates over experimentalism, the relation of art to propaganda, and the nature of proletarian literature recasts the relation of writers to the organized left. Her grasp of the left's positions on the "Negro question" and the "woman question" enables a nuanced analysis of the relation of class to race and gender in the proletarian novel. Moreover, examining the articulation of political doctrine in different novelistic modes, Foley develops a model for discussing the interplay between politics and literary conventions and genres. Radical Representations recovers a literature of theoretical and artistic value meriting renewed attention form those interested in American literature, American studies, the U. S. left, and cultural studies generally.
Ten original essays by advanced scholars and well-published poets address the middle generation of American poets, including the familiar---Robert Lowell, Elizabeth Bishop, Randall Jarrell, and John Berryman---and various important contemporaries: Delmore Schwartz, Theodore Roethke, Robert Hayden, and Lorine Niedecker. This was a famously troubled cohort of writers, for reasons both personal and cultural, and collectively their poems give us powerful, moving insights into American social life in the transforming decades of the 1940s through the 1960s.In addition to having worked during the broad middle of the last century, these poets constitute the center of twentieth-century American poetry in the larger sense, refuting invidious connotations of “middle” as coming after the great moderns and being superseded by a proliferating postmodern experimentation. This middle generation mediates the so-called American century and its prodigious body of poetry, even as it complicates historical and aesthetic categorizations.Taking diverse formal and thematic angles on these poets---biographical-historical, deconstructionist, and more formalist accounts---this book re-examines their between-ness and ambivalence: their various positionings and repositionings in aesthetic, political, and personal matters. The essays study the interplay between these writers and such shifting formations as religious discourse, consumerism, militarism and war, the ideology of America as “nature's nation,” and U.S. race relations and ethnic conflicts. Reading the Middle Generation Anew also shows the legacy of the middle generation, the ways in which their lives and writings continue to be a shaping force in American poetry. This fresh and invigorating collection will be of great interest to literary scholars and poets.
A critique of prominent architects’ approach to digitally driven design and labor practices over the past two decades
With the advent of revolutionary digital design and production technologies, contemporary architects and their clients developed a taste for dramatic, unconventional forms. Seeking to amaze their audiences and promote their global brands, “starchitects” like Herzog & de Meuron and Frank Gehry have reaped substantial rewards through the pursuit of spectacle enabled by these new technologies. This process reached a climax in projects like Gehry’s Guggenheim Bilbao and the “Bilbao effect,” in which spectacular architectural designs became increasingly sought by municipal and institutional clients for their perceived capacity to enhance property values, which author Pedro Fiori Arantes calls the “rent of form.”
Analyzing many major international architectural projects of the past twenty years, Arantes provides an in-depth account of how this “architecture of exception” has come to dominate today’s industry. Articulating an original, compelling critique of the capital and labor practices that enable many contemporary projects, Arantes explains how circulation (via image culture), consumption (particularly through tourism), the division of labor, and the distribution of wealth came to fix a certain notion of starchitecture at the center of the industry.
Significantly, Arantes’s viewpoint is not that of Euro-American capitalism. Writing from the Global South, this Brazilian theorist offers a fresh perspective that advances ideas less commonly circulated in dominant, English-language academic and popular discourse. Asking key questions about the prevailing logics of finance capital, and revealing inconvenient truths about the changing labor of design and the treatment of construction workers around the world, The Rent of Form delivers a much-needed reevaluation of the astonishing buildings that have increasingly come to define world cities.
A highly developed study of the relationships between rhetoric and public culture.
One of the most widely used ideas in scholarship of the humanities and social sciences is that of homology: a formal pattern structuring different kinds of texts, ideas, and experiences. Rhetorical Homologies explores the central meaning of this form in a variety of discourses and also examines the kind of homologies that shape audience responses to personal, public, and political issues. Barry Brummett is most interested in homologies among very different orders of experience and texts: experiences on the battlefield that are homologous to those at a dining room table, for instance. What the common patterns that underlie such cases mean, why they are interesting, and why homology is rhetorical are the subjects of this study.
Brummett focuses on a wide range of topics, from the homologies between rhetoric and weapons throughout history to the homology of ritual injuries as manifested in representations of Christian martyrs, Laurel and Hardy films, the African-American practice of playing the dozens, and televised professional wrestling. Brummett also explores the homology of the Wise Woman, using rhetorical representations of Sojourner Truth and Oprah Winfrey. In a concluding chapter, Brummett argues that the idea of homology is important in understanding how social life is organized in general and that the centrality of discourse in organizing experience makes rhetorical homologies an important perspective for general knowledge beyond the boundaries of this study.
More than the persistent beat of a song or the structural frame of poetry, rhythm is a deeply imbedded force that drives our world and is also a central component of the condition of human existence. It’s the pulse of the body, a power that orders matter, a strange and natural force that flows through us. Virginia Woolf describes it as a “wave in the mind” that carries us, something we can no more escape than we could stop our hearts from beating.
Vincent Barletta explores rhythm through three historical moments, each addressing it as a phenomenon that transcends poetry, aesthetics, and even temporality. He reveals rhythm to be a power that holds us in place, dispossesses us, and shapes the foundations of our world. In these moments, Barletta encounters rhythm as a primordial and physical binding force that establishes order and form in the ancient world, as the anatomy of lived experience in early modern Europe, and as a subject of aesthetic and ethical questioning in the twentieth century.
A wide-ranging book covering a period spanning two millennia and texts from over ten languages, Rhythm will expand the conversation around this complex and powerful phenomenon.
Raised on a small dairy farm in the Driftless Area in the mid-twentieth century, Gary Jones gets real about his rural roots. In this collection of interrelated stories, Jones writes with plainspoken warmth and irreverence about farm, family, and folks on the ridge. Readers will meet Gramp Jones, whose oversized overalls saved him from losing a chunk of flesh to an irate sow; the young one-room-school teacher who helped the kids make sled jumps at recess; Charlotte, the lawn-mowing sheep who once ended up in the living room; Victor the pig-cutter, who learned his trade from folk tradition rather than vet school; and other colorful characters of the ridge. Often humorous and occasionally touching, Jones’s essays paint a vivid picture that will entertain city and country folk alike.
New York Times bestselling author, humorist, and newspaper columnist Michael Perry returns with a new collection of bite-sized essays from his Sunday Wisconsin State Journal column, “Roughneck Grace.” Perry’s perspectives on everything from cleaning the chicken coop to sharing a New York City elevator with supermodels will have you snorting with laughter on one page, blinking back tears on the next, and--no matter your zip code--nodding in recognition throughout.
"The eye that gathers impressions is no longer the eye that sees a depiction on a surface; it becomes a hand, the ray of light becomes a finger, and the imagination becomes a form of immediate touching."—Johann Gottfried Herder
Long recognized as one of the most important eighteenth-century works on aesthetics and the visual arts, Johann Gottfried Herder's Plastik (Sculpture, 1778) has never before appeared in a complete English translation. In this landmark essay, Herder combines rationalist and empiricist thought with a wide range of sources—from the classics to Norse legend, Shakespeare to the Bible—to illuminate the ways we experience sculpture.
Standing on the fault line between classicism and romanticism, Herder draws most of his examples from classical sculpture, while nevertheless insisting on the historicity of art and of the senses themselves. Through a detailed analysis of the differences between painting and sculpture, he develops a powerful critique of the dominance of vision both in the appreciation of art and in our everyday apprehension of the world around us. One of the key articulations of the aesthetics of Sturm und Drang, Sculpture is also important as an anticipation of subsequent developments in art theory.
Jason Gaiger's translation of Sculpture includes an extensive introduction to Herder's thought, explanatory notes, and illustrations of all the sculptures discussed in the text.
An all-star team of eighteen conservative writers offers a hilarious, insightful, sanctimony-free remix of William Bennett’s The Book of Virtues—without parental controls. The Seven Deadly Virtues sits down next to readers at the bar, buys them a drink, and an hour or three later, ushers them into the revival tent without them even realizing it.
The book’s contributors include Sonny Bunch, Christopher Buckley, David “Iowahawk” Burge, Christopher Caldwell, Andrew Ferguson, Jonah Goldberg, Michael Graham, Mollie Hemingway, Rita Koganzon, Matt Labash, James Lileks, Rob Long, Larry Miller, P. J. O’Rourke, Joe Queenan, Christine Rosen, and Andrew Stiles. Jonathan V. Last, senior writer at the Weekly Standard, editor of the collection, is also a contributor. All eighteen essays in this book are appearing for the first time anywhere.
In the book’s opening essay, P. J. O’Rourke observes: “Virtue has by no means disappeared. It’s as much in public view as ever. But it’s been strung up by the heels. Virtue is upside down. Virtue is uncomfortable. Virtue looks ridiculous. All the change and the house keys are falling out of Virtue’s pants pockets.”
Here are the virtues everyone (including the book’s contributors) was taught in Sunday school but have totally forgotten about until this very moment. In this sanctimony-free zone:
• Joe Queenan observes: “In essence, thrift is a virtue that resembles being very good at Mahjong. You’ve heard about people who can do it, but you’ve never actually met any of them.”
• P. J. O’Rourke notes: “Fortitude is quaint. We praise the greatest generation for having it, but they had aluminum siding, church on Sunday, and jobs that required them to wear neckties or nylons (but never at the same time). We don’t want those either.”
• Christine Rosen writes: “A fellowship grounded in sociality means enjoying the company of those with whom you actually share physical space rather than those with whom you regularly and enthusiastically exchange cat videos.”
• Rob Long offers his version of modern day justice: if you sleep late on the weekend, you are forced to wait thirty minutes in line at Costco.
• Jonah Goldberg offers: “There was a time when this desire-to-do-good-in-all-things was considered the only kind of integrity: ‘Angels are better than mortals. They’re always certain about what is right because, by definition, they’re doing God’s will.’ Gabriel knew when it was okay to remove a mattress tag and Sandalphon always tipped the correct amount.”
• Sonny Bunch dissects forbearance, observing that the fictional Two Minutes Hate of George Orwell’s 1984 is now actually a reality directed at living, breathing people. Thanks, in part, to the Internet, “Its targets are designated by a spontaneously created mob—one that, due to its hive-mind nature—is virtually impossible to call off.”
By the time readers have completed The Seven Deadly Virtues, they won’t even realize that they’ve just been catechized into an entirely different—and better—moral universe.
This ambitious, wide-ranging study of sexuality, aesthetics, and epistemology covers everything from the aesthetics of war to the works of Caravaggio, Michaelangelo, Christopher Marlowe, and Francis Bacon, synthesizing queer theory and psychoanalysis and demonstrating the role of the body and the flesh as both a problem and a promise within the narrative arts.
What we have here is another mighty slim volume from Michael Feldman, best known (when known at all) for his public radio show "Whad'ya Know" (sic). Feldman, who spouts off about things he knows "not much" about weekly, here writes them down:
· how to get your own radio show and what you can do with it once you do
· marriage (or as Feldman likes to refer to it, "a long-term bad relationship")
· child-rearing (although it sounds like it's the author who is being reared)
· a number of short pieces on places he and his crew have visited for their "remote possibilities"
· more references to "gentiles" than absolutely necessary (seems to be an issue for Feldman, although he is tickled with the
notion that, to a Mormon, he is one)
· some attempts to misrepresent scientific or social research for humorous purposes
· many personal revelations that prove the examined life is not necessarily worth living either
· and pages and pages of fluff.
Mr. Feldman has not been compared, to our knowledge, to S. J. Perlman.
But here is some of what Michael Feldman says in Something I Said:
"The paranoid no longer is: paranoia has outlived its usefulness when everybody is out to get us."
"Take the phrase 'no problem': I can use it, although it is the very opposite of my two-word world view ('Nothing works')."
"Whatever latitude beauty may have in the eye of the beholder, funny is not readily apparent to all, and, who knows, they may be right. More importantly, they may be bigger."
Includes a music CD by Michael Feldman and John Sieger.
Why are poems important? What do people mean when they use the word prosody? How does a poem read and sound? How does a poem's shape--its form--help to create its meaning? Sound and Form in Modern Poetry provides useful answers to these questions for readers of poetry. Through careful attention to the poems of modern masters, the book offers an accessible guide to the way today's poems really work, and to the way they are linked in style to poems of earlier times.
Poet, critic, and editor Robert McDowell has updated this classic text in the light of the poetic and critical developments of the last three decades. Segments on Dickinson, Robinson, Frost, Jeffers, and Lowell, among other poets, have been greatly expanded, and Ashbery, Creeley, Ginsberg, Hall, Kees, Kumin, Levertov, Levine, O'Hara, Plath, Rich, Simpson, and Wilbur added, among others. The epilogue discusses a new generation of poets whose works will likely be read well into the next century-- among others, Thomas M. Disch, Rita Dove, Dana Gioia, Emily Grosholz, Mark Jarman, Molly Peacock, Gjertrud Schnackenberg, Timothy Steele, Mary Swander, and Marilyn Nelson Waniek.
Over the last ten years, the most inspiring topic of conversation and argument among poets and their readers has been the resurgence of narrative and traditional forms. The new Sound and Form in Modern Poetry is a seminal text in this discussion, examining not only this movement but all of the important developments (Dadaism, Surrealism, Imagism, Language Poetry, and the Confessional School) that have defined our poetry in the twentieth century and have set the stage for poetry's continued life in the twenty-first. The original Sound and Form in Modern Poetry enjoyed extensive classroom use as a text; the revised version promises to be even more accessible, and more essential, for years to come.
The late Harvey Gross was Professor of Comparative Literature, State University of New York at Stony Brook.
Robert McDowell is publisher and editor of Story Line Press, and is also poet, critic, translator, fiction writer, and essayist.
Covering the spectrum of grammatical structures, The Structure of English teaches why grammatical structures are important and how to use them through literary illustrations and clear explanations of grammar's effective use and communicative function. It is directed at future English teachers, as well as the new ESL/EFL teacher.
With an emphasis on discourse function throughout, students are never expected to rely on lists of unrelated, constructed example sentences. Rather, when major points of grammar are presented, the structures are illustrated with rich, "real world" contexts excerpted from literature (mostly American), including novels, short stories, poems, essays, and drama. Exercises in the companion workbook are likewise based on naturally occurring stretches of discourse.
Though informed by modern linguistic theory, explanations are framed in more traditional terminology and are designed to help build students' confidence in using English grammar by deepening their understanding of its forms and functions..
For advanced ESL students and graduate TESOL and certificate programs.
In this hermeneutic analysis of seven literary texts, Stephanie Barbé Hammer studies the roles of criminal protagonists in the dramas of George Lillo (The London Merchant) and Friedrich Schiller (The Robbers) and in the narratives of Abbé de Prévost (Manon Lescaut), Henry Fielding (Jonathan Wild), Marquis de Sade (Justine), William Godwin (Caleb Williams), and Heinrich von Kleist (Michael Kohlhaas).
Hammer reflects the current interest in cultural critique by utilizing the social theories of Michel Foucault and the feminist approaches of Hélène Cixous and Eve Sedgwick to redefine the Enlightenment as a movement of thought rather than as a strictly defined period synonymous with the eighteenth century. In addition, through the examination of the works of three post–World War II authors (Jean Genet, Anthony Burgess, and Peter Handke), Hammer suggests that the Enlightenment’s artistic representations of criminality are unparalleled by subsequent modern literature.
Hammer explains that the seven works she focuses on have been dismissed as failures by readers who have misunderstood the texts’ aesthetic elements. While claiming that the form of these works breaks down under the pressure of their criminal protagonists, she asserts that this formal failure actually contributes to the success of the works as art. The works "fail" because, like the criminal characters themselves, they break laws. The criminal protagonist effectively sabotages the official story that the text seeks to tell by deflecting the plot, style, and formal requirements in question, subverting its message—be it moral, sentimental, or libertine— through a kind of structural undermining, forcing the text beyond its own formal boundaries. For example, Hammer maintains that the presence of the criminal figure, Millwood, in Lillo’s bourgeois tragedy actually makes the play covertly antibourgeois.
Hammer insists that the criminal’s subversive presence in these seven works inaugurates new insight, and her analysis thereby challenges late twentieth-century readers to continue the investigation that the works themselves have begun.
This book will prove indispensable to scholars of comparative literature, especially eighteenth-century specialists, as well as to all individuals interested in cultural critique.
Be as in love with your jeans, sweatpants, or flannels as you want, it’s hard to refute the sumptuous feel of a finely tailored suit—as well as the statement of power that comes with it. For over a century the suit has dominated wardrobes, its simple form making it the go-to attire for boardrooms, churches, or cocktail bars—anywhere one wants to make an impression. But this ubiquity has allowed us to take the suit’s history for granted, and its complex construction, symbolic power, and many shifting meanings have been lost to all but the most devout sartorialists.
In The Suit, Christopher Breward unstitches the story of our most familiar garment. He shows how its emergence at the end of the seventeenth century reflects important political rivalries and the rise of modern democratic society. He follows the development of technologies in the textile industry and shows how they converge on the suit as an ideal template of modern fashion, which he follows across the globe—to South and East Asia especially—where the suit became an icon of Western civilization. The quintessential emblem of conformity and the status quo, the suit ironically became, as Breward unveils, the perfect vehicle for artists, musicians, and social revolutionaries to symbolically undermine hegemonic culture, twisting and tearing the suit into political statements. Looking at the suit’s adoption by women, Breward goes on to discuss the ways it signals and engages gender. He closes by looking at the suit’s apparent decline—woe the tyranny of business casual!—and questioning its survival in the twenty-first century.
Beautifully illustrated and written with the authority a Zegna or Armani itself commands, The Suit offers new perspectives on this familiar—yet special—garment.
Published by Viking in 1991 and issued as a paperback through Penguin Books in 1992, Snow White became an instant classic for both academic and general audiences interested in how women use humor and what others (men) think about funny women. Barreca, who draws on the work of scholars, writers, and comedians to illuminate a sharp critique of the gender-specific aspects of humor, provides laughs and provokes arguments as she shows how humor helps women break rules and occupy center stage. Barreca’s new introduction provides a funny and fierce, up-to-the-minute account of the fate of women’s humor over the past twenty years, mapping what has changed in our culture—and questioning what hasn’t.
"Two Jews were traveling on a train. . . . " Many Eastern European jokes—and several of the charming and often hilarious conversations in this book—begin this way. From all regions of the world and from all walks of life, the characters are young and full of life and old and ugly; they are rabbis, matchmakers, students, and immigrants. They gossip and speak about everything from the banalities of the world to the unspeakable evils of existence all for a single purpose: to laugh and to celebrate the good luck of being alive.
As Biro recounts these tales, we hear not only his voice and the voice of his father, but those of generations of storytellers who have used humor to teach about the truly important issues in life—the delicacy of love, the fragility of friendship, the pitfalls of self-righteousness, the costs of narrow-mindedness, and the unpredictability of life itself. Biro artfully spins each story, lingering on the details, guiding the reader to the inevitable—yet always unexpected—punchline.
Taken individually, these stories will make you laugh out loud; taken as a whole, they form an invaluable record of the sensibilities of an entire people. Biro writes: "These Jewish stories of which not a single one happened to me, and of which I did not invent a single one, do describe me, do characterize me, do explain me. They are always my own story. And yours."
Until quite recently, Asian American literary criticism had little to do with form. Instead, the tendency was to bind the literary tradition to identity formation. For Elda Tsou, however, the distinctions of ethnic writing extend beyond such facile referential practices to incorporate form and aesthetics.
In Unquiet Tropes, Tsou reconceptualizes the literature as a set of highly particular classical rhetorical tropes including antanaclasis, rhetorical question, apophasis, catachresis, and allegory. Looking at five canonical works—Aiiieeeee!, No-No Boy, China Men, Blu’s Hanging, and Native Speaker—Tsou shows how these texts use figurative means to confront the problem of race. She also explores how traces of Asian American history live on through these figures.
Each case study in Unquiet Tropes considers a different scenario—defiance, coercion, necessity, error, and deceit—to show how literary representation from the 1950s through 1997 has responded to a specific political condition.
In the late 1800s, Americans flocked to cities, immigration, slums, and unemployment burgeoned, and America's role in foreign affairs grew. This period also spawned a number of fictional glimpses into the future. After the publication of Edward Bellamy's Looking Backward in 1888, there was an outpouring of utopian fantasy, many of which promoted socialism, while others presented refined versions of capitalism. Jean Pfaelzer's study traces the impact of the utopian novel and the narrative structures of these sentimental romances. She discusses progressive, pastoral, feminist, and apocalyptic utopias, as well as the genre's parodic counterpart, the dystopia.
Before the era of fake news and anti-fascists, William S. Burroughs wrote about preparing for revolution and confronting institutionalized power. In this work, Burroughs’ parody becomes a set of rationales and instructions for destabilizing the state and overthrowing an oppressive and corrupt government. As with much of Burroughs’ work, it is hard to say if it is serious or purely satire. The work is funny, horrifying, and eerily prescient, especially concerning the use of language and social media to undermine institutions.
The Revised Boy Scout Manual was a work Burroughs revisited many times, but which has never before been published in its complete form. Based primarily on recordings of a performance of the complete piece found in the archives at the OSU libraries, as well as various incomplete versions of the typescript found at Arizona State University and the New York Public Library archives, this lost masterpiece of satiric subversion is finally available in its entirety.
The Worker: Dominion and Form
Ernst Jünger, Edited by Laurence Paul Hemming, Translated from the German by Bogdan Costea and Laurence Paul Hemming Northwestern University Press, 2017 Library of Congress HD4901.J8613 2017 | Dewey Decimal 331.8
Written in 1932, just before the fall of the Weimar Republic and on the eve of the Nazi accession to power, Ernst Jünger’s The Worker: Dominion and Form articulates a trenchant critique of bourgeois liberalism and seeks to identify the form characteristic of the modern age. Jünger’s analyses, written in critical dialogue with Marx, are inspired by a profound intuition of the movement of history and an insightful interpretation of Nietzsche’s philosophy.
Martin Heidegger considered Jünger “the only genuine follower of Nietzsche,” singularly providing “an interpretation which took shape in the domain of that metaphysics which already determines our epoch, even against our knowledge; this metaphysics is Nietzsche's doctrine of the ‘will to power.’” In The Worker, Jünger examines some of the defining questions of that epoch: the nature of individuality, society, and the state; morality, justice, and law; and the relationships between freedom and power and between technology and nature.
This work, appearing in its entirety in English translation for the first time, is an important contribution to debates on work, technology, and politics by one of the most controversial German intellectuals of the twentieth century. Not merely of historical interest, The Worker carries a vital message for contemporary debates about world economy, political stability, and equality in our own age, one marked by unsettling parallels to the 1930s.