Edited by Alastair Hunt and Stephanie Youngblood, with an afterword by Lee Edelman Northwestern University Press, 2016 Library of Congress PN56.L52A34 2016 | Dewey Decimal 809.9335
"At a time when the old humanist ideas have shown themselves to be far less effective than political resentment, these essays open new ways of thinking about the moment in which we live." —Radical Philosophy
Contemporary Novelists and the Aesthetics of Twenty-First Century American Life gives us a new way to view contemporary art novels, asking the key question: How do contemporary writers imagine aesthetic experience? Examining the works of some of the most popular names in contemporary fiction and art criticism, including Zadie Smith, Teju Cole, Siri Hustvedt, Ben Lerner, Rachel Kushner, and others, Alexandra Kingston-Reese finds that contemporary art novels are seeking to reconcile the negative feelings of contemporary life through a concerted critical realignment in understanding artistic sensibility, literary form, and the function of the aesthetic.
Kingston-Reese reveals how contemporary writers refract and problematize aesthetic experience, illuminating an uneasiness with failure: firstly, about the failure of aesthetic experiences to solve and save; and secondly, the literary inability to articulate the emotional dissonance caused by aesthetic experiences now.
No questions are more pressing today than the ethical dimensions of global capitalism in relation to an unevenly secularized modernity. A Tale of Two Capitalisms offers a timely response to these questions by reexamining the intellectual history of capitalist economics during the nineteenth century. Rajan’s ambitious book traces the neglected relationships between nineteenth-century political economy, anthropology, and literature in order to demonstrate how these discourses buttress a dominant narrative of self-interested capitalism that obscures a submerged narrative within political economy. This submerged narrative discloses political economy’s role in burgeoning theories of religion, as well as its underlying ethos of reciprocity, communality, and just distribution.
Drawing on an impressive range of literary, anthropological, and economic writings from the eighteenth through the twenty-first century, Rajan offers an inventive, interdisciplinary account of why this second narrative of capitalism has so long escaped our notice. The book presents an unprecedented genealogy of key anthropological and economic concepts, demonstrating how notions of sacrifice, the sacred, ritual, totemism, and magic remained conceptually intertwined with capitalist theories of value and exchange in both sociological and literary discourses.
Rajan supplies an original framework for discussing the ethical ideals that continue to inform contemporary global capitalism and its fraught relationship to the secular. Its revisionary argument brings new insight into the history of capitalist thought and modernity that will engage scholars across a variety of disciplines.