Roland Barthes Northwestern University Press, 1972 Library of Congress PN710.B2713 | Dewey Decimal 809
The essays in this volume were written during the years that its author's first four books were published in France. They chart the course of Barthe's criticism from the vocabularies of existentialism and Marxism (reflections on the social situation of literature and writer's responsibility before History) to a psychoanalysis of substances (after Bachelard) and a psychoanalytical anthropology (which evidently brought Barthes to his present terms of understanding with Levi-Strauss and Lacan).
Alain Robbe-Grillet, one of the leaders of the new French literary movement of the sixties, has long been regarded as the outstanding writer of the nouveau roman, as well as its major spokesman. For a New Novel reevaluates the techniques, ethos, and limits of contemporary fiction. This is a work of immense importance for any discussions of the history of the novel and for contemporary thinking about the future of fiction.
History and Utopia
E. M. Cioran University of Chicago Press, 1998 Library of Congress HX806.C5613 1998 | Dewey Decimal 335.02
In this book, Cioran writes of politics, of history, and of the utopian dream.
"A small masterwork . . . a stringent examination of some persistent and murky notions in human history. . . . It is best to read Cioran while sitting. The impact upon the intellect can be temporarily stunning, and motor systems may give way under the assault."—Joseph Patrick Kennedy, Houston Chronicle
"Cioran has a claim to be regarded as among the handful of original minds . . . writing today."—New York Times
"A sort of final philosopher of the Western world. [Cioran's] statements have the compression of poetry and the audacity of cosmic clowning."—Washington Post
E. M. Cioran (1911-1995) was born and educated in Romania and lived in Paris from 1937 until his death. He is the author of numerous works, including On the Heights of Despair, also available from the University of Chicago Press.
"Not only one of the frankest of autobiographies, but also a brilliantly written book, Leiris' Manhood mingles memories, philosophic reflections, sexual revelation, meditations on bullfighting, and the life-long progress of self-discovery."—Washington Post Book World
"Leiris writes to appall, and thereby to receive from his readers the gift of a strong emotion—the emotion needed to defend himself against the indignation and disgust he expects to arouse in his readers."—Susan Sontag, New York Review of Books
New Critical Essays
Roland Barthes Northwestern University Press, 2009 Library of Congress PQ139.B3213 2009 | Dewey Decimal 840.9
New Critical gathers Roland Barthes's essays on classic texts of French literature, works by La Rochefoucauld, Chateaubriand, Proust, Flaubert, Fromentin, and Lori. Like an artist sketching, Barthes in these essays is working out the more fascinating details of his larger theories.
In the innocuously names "Proust and Names" and "Flaubert and Sentences," Barthes explores the relation of the author to writing that begins his transition to his later thought. In his studies of La Rochefoucauld's maxims and the illustrative plates of the Encyclopedia, Barthes reveals new vistas on common cultural artifacts, while "Where to Begin?" offers a glimpse into his own analytical processes. The concluding essays on Fromentin and Loti show the breadth of Barthes's inquiry. As a whole, the essays demonstrate both the acuity and freshness of Barthes's critical mind and the gracefulness of his own use of language.
The New Gods
E. M. Cioran University of Chicago Press, 2013 Library of Congress BL226.C5613 2013 | Dewey Decimal 210
Dubbed “Nietzsche without his hammer” by literary critic James Wood, the Romanian philosopher E. M. Cioran is known as much for his profound pessimism and fatalistic approach as for the lyrical, raging prose with which he communicates them. Unlike many of his other works, such as On the Heights of Despair and Tears and Saints, The New Gods eschews his usual aphoristic approach in favor of more extensive and analytic essays.
Returning to many of Cioran’s favorite themes, The New Gods explores humanity’s attachment to gods, death, fear, and infirmity, in essays that vary widely in form and approach. In “Paleontology” Cioran describes a visit to a museum, finding the relatively pedestrian destination rife with decay, death, and human weakness. In another chapter, Cioran explores suicide in shorter, impressionistic bursts, while “The Demiurge” is a shambolic exploration of man’s relationship with good, evil, and God. All the while, The New Gods reaffirms Cioran’s belief in “lucid despair,” and his own signature mixture of pessimism and skepticism in language that never fails to be a pleasure. Perhaps his prose itself is an argument against Cioran’s near-nihilism: there is beauty in his books.
Poetry today holds mainstream attention as never before. From community workshops to reading groups, from coffee house poetry slams to small press lit mags, from universities to web 'zines, the world of poetry has become part of our everyday lives. Demonstrating the range and vitality of the new generation of American writers, The New Young American Poets features the work of forty poets born since 1960.
From Walt Whitman forward, a century and a half of radical experimentation and bold speech by gay and lesbian poets has deeply influenced the American poetic voice. In Our Deep Gossip, Christopher Hennessy interviews eight gay men who are celebrated American poets and writers: Edward Field, John Ashbery, Richard Howard, Aaron Shurin, Dennis Cooper, Cyrus Cassells, Wayne Koestenbaum, and Kazim Ali. The interviews showcase the complex ways art and life intertwine, as the poets speak about their early lives, the friends and communities that shaped their work, the histories of gay writers before them, how sex and desire connect with artistic production, what coming out means to a writer, and much more.
While the conversations here cover almost every conceivable topic of interest to readers of poetry and poets themselves, the book is an especially important, poignant, far-reaching, and enduring document of what it means to be a gay artist in twentieth- and early twenty-first-century America.
One of the most original and memorable photographers of the twentieth century, Brassaï was also a journalist, sculptor, and writer. He took great pride in his writing, and he loved literature and language-French most of all. When he arrived in Paris in 1924, Brassaï began teaching himself French by reading Proust. Captured by the sensuality and visual strategies of Proust's writing, Brassaï soon became convinced that he had discovered a kindred spirit. Brassaï wrote: "In his battle against Time, that enemy of our precarious existence, ever on the offensive though never openly so, it was in photography, also born of an age-old longing to halt the moment, to wrest it from the flux of duration in order to 'fix' it forever in a semblance of eternity, that Proust found his best ally." He quoted Proust in his own writing, and from the annotated books in his library, we know that he spent a lifetime studying and dissecting Proust's prose, often line by line.
Drawing on his own experience as a photographer and author, Brassaï discovers a neglected aspect of Proust's interests, offering us a fascinating study of the role of photography both in Proust's oeuvre and in early-twentieth-century culture. Brassaï shows us how Proust was excessively interested in possessing portraits of his acquaintances and how the process by which he remembered and wrote was quite similar to the ways in which photographs register and reveal life's images. This book-beautifully translated by Richard Howard-features previously obscure photographs from Brassaï's High Society series and offers a rare glimpse into two of France's most fascinating artistic minds.
Edgar Morin University of Minnesota Press, 2005 Library of Congress PN1998.2.M668 2005 | Dewey Decimal 791.430280922
Worshipped as heroes, treated as gods, movie stars are more than objects of admiration. A star's influence touches on every aspect of ordinary life, dictating taste in fashion, lifestyle, and desire. Edgar Morin's remarkable investigation into the cultural and social significance of the star system traces its evolution from the earliest days of the cinema - when stars like Chaplin, Garbo, and Valentino lived at a distance from their fans, far beyond all mortals, to the postwar era in which stars like Humphrey Bogart and Marilyn Monroe became familiar and familial, less unapproachable but more moving, and concludes with an analysis of the furious religious adulation surrounding the life and death of James Dean. Ultimately, Morin finds, stars are more than just creations of the movie studios; they serve as intermediaries between the real and the imaginary. Today, with the cult of fame more pervasive and influential than ever, The Stars remains a vibrant, vital, and surprising work.
The Temptation to Exist
E. M. Cioran University of Chicago Press, 1998 Library of Congress AC25.C513 1998 | Dewey Decimal 084.1
This collection of eleven essays originally appeared in France thirty years ago and created a literary whirlwind on the Left Bank. Cioran writes incisively about Western civilizations, the writer, the novel, mystics, apostles, and philosophers.
"A sort of final philosopher of the Western world. His statements have the compression of poetry and the audacity of cosmic clowning."—Washington Post
"An intellectual bombshell that blasts away at all kinds of cant, sham and conventionality. . . . [Cioran's] language is so erotic, his handling of words so seductive, that the act of reading becomes an encounter in the erogenous zone."—Jonah Raskin, L.A. Weekly