Reveals the full range of Kenneth Burke's contribution to the possibility of social change
In Addressing Postmodernity, Barbara Biesecker examines the relationship between rhetoric and social change and the ways human beings transform social relations through the purposeful use of symbols. In discerning the conditions of possibility for social transformation and the role of human beings and rhetoric in it, Biesecker turns to the seminal work of Kenneth Burke.
Through a close reading of Burke's major works, A Grammar of Motives, A Rhetoric of Motives, and The Rhetoric of Religion: Studies in Logology, the author addresses the critical topic of the
fragmentation of the contemporary lifeworld revealing postmodernity will have a major impact on Burkeian scholarship and on the rhetorical critique of social relations in general.
Directly confronting the challenges posed by postmodernity to social theorists and critics alike and juxtaposing the work of Burke and Jurgen Habermas, Biesecker argues that a radicalized rereading of Burke's theory of the negative opens the way toward a resolutely rhetorical theory of social change and human agency.
The fear of falling, the awareness of lost innocence, lost illusions, lost hopes and intentions, of civilization in decline—these are the themes which link literature to theology, both concerned with the shape of human destiny. Otten discusses the continuing viability of the myth of the Fall in literature. He relates a wide variety of romantic and modern works to fundamental issues in modern Christianity.
In much the same way that photography forced painting to move in new directions, the advent of the World Wide Web, with its proliferation of easily transferable and manipulated text, forces us to think about writing, creativity, and the materiality of language in new ways. In Against Expression, editors Craig Dworkin and Kenneth Goldsmith present the most innovative works responding to the challenges posed by these developments.
Charles Bernstein has described conceptual poetry as "poetry pregnant with thought." Against Expression, the premier anthology of conceptual writing, presents work that is by turns thoughtful, funny, provocative, and disturbing. Dworkin and Goldsmith, two of the leading spokespersons and practitioners of conceptual writing, chart the trajectory of the conceptual aesthetic from early precursors including Samuel Beckett and Marcel Duchamp to the most prominent of today’s writers. Nearly all of the major avant-garde groups of the past century are represented here, including Dada, OuLiPo, L=A=N=G=U=A=G=E, and Flarf to name just a few, but all the writers are united in their imaginative appropriation of found and generated texts and their exploration of nonexpressive language. Against Expression is a timely collection and an invaluable resource for readers and writers alike.
Architecture and Modern Literatureexplores the representation and interpretation of architectural space in modern literature from the early nineteenth century to the present, with the aim of showing how literary production and architectural construction are related as cultural forms in the historical context of modernity. In addressing this subject, it also examines the larger questions of the relation between literature and architecture and the extent to which these two arts define one another in the social and philosophical contexts of modernity. Architecture and Modern Literature will serve as a foundational introduction to the emerging interdisciplinary study of architecture and literature. David Spurr addresses a broad range of material, including literary, critical, and philosophical works in English, French, and German, and proposes a new historical and theoretical overview of this area, in which modern forms of "meaning" in architecture and literature are related to the discourses of being, dwelling, and homelessness.
Featuring new critical essays by scholars from Europe, South America, and the United States, At Home and Abroad presents a wide-ranging look at how whiteness-defined in terms of race or ethnicity-forms a category toward which people strive in order to gain power and privilege. Collectively these pieces treat global spaces whose nation building and identity formation have turned on biological and genealogical exigencies to whiten themselves.
Drawing upon racialized, national practices implemented prior to and during the twentieth century, each of the essays enlists literature or performance to reflect the sociopolitical imperatives that secured whiteness in the respective locations they study. They range from examinations of whiteness in the literature of Appalachia and contemporary Argentinean poetry to an analysis of performances memorializing the colonial experience in Italy and an exploration into the white rap music of Eminem and contemporary multiracial passing.
As the contributors show, literary and performance representations have the power to chronicle histories that reflect the behaviors and lived realities of our selves. Whether whiteness, in addition to its physical manifestation, presents itself as identity, symbol, racism, culture, social formation, political imposition, legal imposition, or pathology, it has been outed into the visible, even in national spaces where the term “whiteness” has yet to be translated and entered into the official lexicon.
The ten essays collected here provide powerful insights into where and how the race for biological and genealogical whiteness persists in various geopolitical realms and the ways in which Nordic whites, as well as ethnic whites and nonwhites, resecure its ascendance.
La Vinia Delois Jennings is professor of English at the University of Tennessee, Knoxville. Her recent critical study Toni Morrison and the Idea of Africa won the 2008 Toni Morrison Society Prize for Best Single-Authored Book on the Nobel laureate and Pulitzer-Prize winning author.
The Big Question
David Lehman University of Michigan Press, 1995 Library of Congress PS3562.E428B54 1995 | Dewey Decimal 814.54
David Lehman's second book in the Poets on Poetry series confirms his stature as one of our leading literary figures. He is also a literary critic with a rare ability to elucidate thorny ideas and controversial issues in a way that is both entertaining and instructive.
The Big Question leads off with a major essay explaining and exploring the concept of postmodernism. The next sections include pieces about poetry and fiction, lives and letters, and criticism and controversy.
Other "big questions" addressed include political correctness, the genre of literary biography, academic life and deconstruction. There is a humorous piece on poetry "slams" and the whole "downtown" poetry scene, a feisty op-ed column (on the deconstruction of the Gettysburg Address), a pair of wickedly satirical poems, as well as a group of exceptional book reviews.
The subjects covered range from Philip Larkin to Philip Roth- from the greatest poetry hoax of the twentieth century (which took place in Australia during World War II) to Charles Dickens's unfinished last novel- and from nineteenthth-century American poetry to the political career of Martin Heidegger.
David Lehman is a poet and author of Signs of the Times: Deconstruction and the Fall of Paul de Man. He is series editor of the celebrated Best American Poetry anthology.
Border Writing was first published in 1991. 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.
Until recently, literary theory has been grounded in the histories of English, French, German, and Spanish literature. The terms and models for the production of literature and its function in culture and society were decided in Western Europe, and any deviations were immediately marginalized. This Eurocentric view has been widely attached by postmodern, feminist, and postcolonial political practices.
Drawing on a variety of critical and theoretical sources, D. Emily Hicks employs the concept of border writing to consider the complexities of contemporary Latin American writing. With its emphasis on the multiplicity of languages and the problems of translation, border writing connotes a perspective that is no longer determined by neat distinctions. Hicks combines Deleuze and Guattari's notion of "deterritorialization" (the geographic, linguistic, or cultural displacement from one's own country, language, or native culture) with a holographic metaphor in provocative readings of Latin America writers, including Gabriel Garcia Marquez, Luisa Valenzuela, and Julio Cortazar. The result is a volume that forces the reader to consider the development of literature in terms of strategies and tactics that contribute to the production of meaning in culturally complex and politically repressive societies.
D. Emily Hicks is associate professor of English and comparative literature and a member of the Latin American studies faculty at San Diego State University. Neil Larsen is associate professor of Spanish and Latin American literature at Northeastern University and the author of Modernism and Hegemony: A Materialist Critique of Aesthetic Agencies (Minnesota, 1990).
The creative literature that evolved from the Holocaust constitutes an unprecedented encounter between art and life. Those who wrote about the Holocaust were forced to extend the limits of their imaginations to encompass unspeakably violent extremes of human behavior. The result, as Ezrahi shows in By Words Alone, is a body of literature that transcends national and cultural boundaries and shares a spectrum of attitudes toward the concentration camps and the world beyond, toward the past and the future.
The scientific discovery that chaotic systems embody deep structures of order is one of such wide-ranging implications that it has attracted attention across a spectrum of disciplines, including the humanities. In this volume, fourteen theorists explore the significance for literary and cultural studies of the new paradigm of chaotics, forging connections between contemporary literature and the science of chaos. They examine how changing ideas of order and disorder enable new readings of scientific and literary texts, from Newton's Principia to Ruskin's autobiography, from Victorian serial fiction to Borges's short stories.
N. Katherine Hayles traces shifts in meaning that chaos has undergone within the Western tradition, suggesting that the science of chaos articulates categories that cannot be assimilated into the traditional dichotomy of order and disorder. She and her contributors take the relation between order and disorder as a theme and develop its implications for understanding texts, metaphors, metafiction, audience response, and the process of interpretation itself. Their innovative and diverse work opens the interdisciplinary field of chaotics to literary inquiry.
Cigarettes Are Sublime
Richard Klein Duke University Press, 1993 Library of Congress PN56.S58K54 1993 | Dewey Decimal 809.93355
Cigarettes are bad for you; that is why they are so good. With its origins in the author’s urgent desire to stop smoking, Cigarettes Are Sublime offers a provocative look at the literary, philosophical, and cultural history of smoking. Richard Klein focuses on the dark beauty, negative pleasures, and exacting benefits attached to tobacco use and to cigarettes in particular. His appreciation of paradox and playful use of hyperbole lead the way on this aptly ambivalent romp through the cigarette in war, movies (the "Humphrey Bogart cigarette"), literature, poetry, and the reflections of Sartre to show that cigarettes are a mixed blessing, precisely sublime.
"It is not, nor it cannot come to good. But break, my heart, for I must hold my tongue." Thus spoke Hamlet, one of the great kvetchers of literature. Every day, gripers challenge our patience and compassion. Yet Pollyannas rile us up with their grotesque contentment and unfathomable rejection of protest. Avital Ronell considers how literature and philosophy treat bellyachers, wailers, and grumps--and the complaints they lavish on the rest of us. Combining her trademark jazzy panache with a fearless range of readings, Ronell opens a dialog with readers that discusses thinkers with whom she has directly engaged. Beginning with Hamlet, and with a candid awareness of her own experiences, Ronell proceeds to show how complaining is aggravated, distracted, stifled, and transformed. She moves on to the exemplary complaints of Friedrich Nietzsche, Hannah Arendt, and Barbara Johnson and examines the complaint-riven history of deconstruction. Infused with the author's trademark wit, Complaint takes friends, colleagues, and all of us on a courageous philosophical journey.
Louis Armand Northwestern University Press, 2007 Library of Congress PN1042.C5835 2007 | Dewey Decimal 809.911
Exploring the boundaries of one of the most contested fields of literary study--a field that in fact shares territory with philology, aesthetics, cultural theory, philosophy, and even cybernetics--this volume gathers a body of critical writings that, taken together, broadly delineate a possible poetics of the contemporary. In these essays, the most interesting and distinguished theorists in the field renegotiate the contours of what might constitute "contemporary poetics," ranging from the historical advent of concrete poetry to the current technopoetics of cyberspace. Concerned with a poetics that extends beyond our own time, as a mere marker of present-day literary activity, their work addresses the limits of a writing "practice"--beginning with Stéphane Mallarmé in the late nineteenth century--that engages concretely with what it means to be contemporary.
Charles Bernstein's Swiftian satire of generative poetics and the textual apparatus, together with Marjorie Perloff's critical-historical treatment of "writing after" Bernstein and other proponents of language poetry, provides an itinerary of contemporary poetics in terms of both theory and practice. The other essays consider "precursors," recognizable figures within the histories or prehistories of contemporary poetics, from Kafka and Joyce to Wallace Stevens and Kathy Acker; "conjunctions," in which more strictly theoretical and poetical texts enact a concerted engagement with rhetoric, prosody, and the vicissitudes of "intelligibility"; "cursors," which points to the open possibilities of invention, from Augusto de Campos's "concrete poetics" to the "codework" of Alan Sondheim; and "transpositions," defining the limits of poetic invention by way of technology.
Avital Ronell asks why "there is no culture without drug culture." She deals with the usual drugs and alcohol (and their celebrities: Freud's cocaine, Baudelaire's hashish, the Victorians' laudanum), and moves beyond them to addictions that are culturally accepted--an insatiable appetite for romance novels, for instance, and romance itself.
It is a commonplace of modern culture to presume that there is a subculture or counterculture deeply saturated with drugs, but such modern cultures need subcultures, and need drugs on every level. Culture defines itself, its classes, its power structures, and its economy in terms of how it allows and encourages drugs to circulate. If drugs are dangerous, that danger seems to increase their appeal for millions. If drugs are unnatural and addictive, gasoline is a drug. What is art but a kind of drug, and what is art criticism but a kind of criticism of drugs and drug-induced states?
Gustave Flaubert's Madame Bovary takes up the problems of drugs and addiction in numerous ways, which Ronnell unpacks and presents as examples of the safe and unsafe. From Emma Bovary's romantic hallucinations to her suicide by arsenic, she moves through this realistic novel constantly reaching for the unreal. For Ronell, Emma Bovary represents the first addict, embodying a yearning that calls from the bottom of her humanity, and which it seems can only be satisfied by some sort of drug.
Crimes of Art and Terror
Frank Lentricchia and Jody McAuliffe University of Chicago Press, 2003 Library of Congress PN761.L46 2003 | Dewey Decimal 809.911
Do killers, artists, and terrorists need one another? In Crimes of Art and Terror, Frank Lentricchia and Jody McAuliffe explore the disturbing adjacency of literary creativity to violence and even political terror. Lentricchia and McAuliffe begin by anchoring their penetrating discussions in the events of 9/11 and the scandal provoked by composer Karlheinz Stockhausen's reference to the destruction of the World Trade Center as a great work of art, and they go on to show how political extremism and avant-garde artistic movements have fed upon each other for at least two centuries.
Crimes of Art and Terror reveals how the desire beneath many romantic literary visions is that of a terrifying awakening that would undo the West's economic and cultural order. This is also the desire, of course, of what is called terrorism. As the authority of writers and artists recedes, it is criminals and terrorists, Lentricchia and McAuliffe suggest, who inherit this romantic, destructive tradition. Moving freely between the realms of high and popular culture, and fictional and actual criminals, the authors describe a web of impulses that catches an unnerving spirit.
Lentricchia and McAuliffe's unorthodox approach pairs Dostoevsky's Crime and Punishment with Martin Scorsese's King of Comedy and connects the real-life Unabomber to the surrealist Joseph Cornell and to the hero of Bret Easton Ellis's bestselling novel American Psycho. They evoke a desperate culture of art through thematic dialogues among authors and filmmakers as varied as Don DeLillo, Joseph Conrad, Francis Ford Coppola, Jean Genet, Frederick Douglass, Hermann Melville, and J. M. Synge, among others. And they conclude provocatively with an imagined conversation between Heinrich von Kleist and Mohamed Atta. The result is a brilliant and unflinching reckoning with the perilous proximity of the impulse to create transgressive art and the impulse to commit violence.
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).
'Culture' and 'violence' have always been regarded as antithetical terms. In The Culture of Violence, Francis Barker takes a different view.
Central to his argument is the contention that, contrary to post-Enlightenment humanist, liberal and conservative thought, 'culture' does not necessarily stand in opposition to political inequality and social injustice, but may be complicit with the oppressive exercise of power.
The book focuses on Shakespearean tragedy and on the historicism and culturalism of much present-day cultural theory. Barker's analysis moves dialectically backwards and forwards between these two moments in order to illuminate aspects of early modern culture, and to critique the ways in which the complicity between culture and violence has been occluded. Rejecting the tendency of both modernism and post-modernism to homogenise historical time, Barker argues for a genuinely new, 'diacritical' understanding of the violence of history.
Winner of the 2004 Book Award from the Society for the Study of Early Modern Women and the 2003 Roland H. Bainton Prize for Literature from the Sixteenth Century Society and Conference.
Our common definition of literacy is the ability to read and write in one language. But as Margaret Ferguson reveals in Dido's Daughters, this description is inadequate, because it fails to help us understand heated conflicts over literacy during the emergence of print culture. The fifteenth through seventeenth centuries, she shows, were a contentious era of transition from Latin and other clerical modes of literacy toward more vernacular forms of speech and writing.
Fegurson's aim in this long-awaited work is twofold: to show that what counted as more valuable among these competing literacies had much to do with notions of gender, and to demonstrate how debates about female literacy were critical to the emergence of imperial nations. Looking at writers whom she dubs the figurative daughters of the mythological figure Dido—builder of an empire that threatened to rival Rome—Ferguson traces debates about literacy and empire in the works of Marguerite de Navarre, Christine de Pizan, Elizabeth Cary, and Aphra Behn, as well as male writers such as Shakespeare, Rabelais, and Wyatt. The result is a study that sheds new light on the crucial roles that gender and women played in the modernization of England and France.
A new collection of essays from a distinguished critic of contemporary poetry.
Marjorie Perloff is one of the foremost critics of contemporary American poetry writing today. Her works are credited by many with creating and sustaining new critical interest not only in the work of major modernist poets such as Yeats, Pound, Eliot, and Williams but also in the postwar tradition of American poetic innovation that ranges from the Black Mountain poets, through the New York School and concrete poetry, to the Language Poets of the 1980s and '90s.
In Differentials, Perloff explores and defends her belief in the power of close reading, a strategy often maligned as reactionary in today's critical climate but which, when construed differentially, is vital, she believes, to any true understanding of a literary or poetic work, irrespective of how traditional or experimental it is. Perloff also examines key issues in modernism, from Eliot's conservative poetics and Pound's nominalism to translation theory (Wittgenstein, Eugene Jolas, Haroldo de Campos), and the contemporary avant garde, as represented by writers like Susan Howe, Tom Raworth, Rae Armantrout, Ron Silliman, Ronald Johnson, Caroline Bergvall, and Kenneth Goldsmith.
Ultimately, Perloff's most important offerings in Differentials are her remarkably original reflections on the aesthetic process: on how poetry works, and what it means, in and for our time.
In this book, the first edition of which was published in 1971 by Oxford University Press, Ihab Hassan takes Orphic dismemberment and regeneration as his metaphor for a radical crisis in art and language, culture and consciousness, which prefigures postmodern literature. The modern Orpheus, he writes, “sings on a lyre without strings.” Thus, his sensitive critique traces a hypothetical line from Sade through four modern authors—Hemingway, Kafka, Genet, and Beckett—to a literature still to come. But the line also breaks into two Interludes, one concerning ’Pataphysics, Dada, and Surrealism, and the other concerning Existentialism and Aliterature.
Combining literary history, brief biography, and critical analysis, Hassan surrounds these authors with a complement of avant-garde writers whose works also foreshadow the postmodern temper. These include Jarry, Apollinaire, Tzara, Breton, Sartre, Camus, Nathalie Sarraute, Robbe-Grillet, and in America, Cage, Salinger, Ginsberg, Barth, and Burroughs. Hassan takes account also of related contemporary developments in art, music, and philosophy, and of many works of literary theory and criticism.
For this new edition, Hassan has added a new preface and postface on the developing character of postmodernism, a concept which has gained currency since the first edition of this work, and which he himself has done much to theorize.
Domestications traces a genealogy of American global engagement with the Global South since World War II. Hosam Aboul-Ela reads American writers contrapuntally against intellectuals from the Global South in their common—yet ideologically divergent—concerns with hegemony, world domination, and uneven development. Using Edward Said’s Culture and Imperialism as a model, Aboul-Ela explores the nature of U.S. imperialism’s relationship to literary culture through an exploration of five key terms from the postcolonial bibliography: novel, idea, perspective, gender, and space.
Within this framework the book examines juxtapositions including that of Paul Bowles’s Morocco with North African intellectuals’ critique of Orientalism, the global treatment of Vietnamese liberation movements with the American narrative of personal trauma in the novels of Tim O’Brien and Hollywood film, and the war on terror’s philosophical idealism with Korean and post-Arab nationalist materialist archival fiction.
Domestications departs from other recent studies of world literature in its emphases not only on U.S. imperialism but also on intellectuals working in the Global South and writing in languages other than English and French. Although rooted in comparative literature, its readings address issues of key concern to scholars in American studies, postcolonial studies, literary theory, and Middle Eastern studies.
For at least two decades the career of Edward Said has defined what it means to be a public intellectual today. Although attacked as a terrorist and derided as a fraud for his work on behalf of his fellow Palestinians, Said’s importance extends far beyond his political activism. In this volume a distinguished group of scholars assesses nearly every aspect of Said’s work—his contributions to postcolonial theory, his work on racism and ethnicity, his aesthetics and his resistance to the aestheticization of politics, his concepts of figuration, his assessment of the role of the exile in a metropolitan culture, and his work on music and the visual arts. In two separate interviews, Said himself comments on a variety of topics, among them the response of the American Jewish community to his political efforts in the Middle East. Yet even as the Palestinian struggle finds a central place in his work, it is essential—as the contributors demonstrate—to see that this struggle rests on and gives power to his general "critique of colonizers" and is not simply the outgrowth of a local nationalism. Perhaps more than any other person in the United States, Said has changed how the U.S. media and American intellectuals must think about and represent Palestinians, Islam, and the Middle East. Most importantly, this change arises not as a result of political action but out of a potent humanism—a breadth of knowledge and insight that has nourished many fields of inquiry. Originally a special issue of boundary 2, the book includes new articles on minority culture and on orientalism in music, as well as an interview with Said by Jacqueline Rose. Supporting the claim that the last third of the twentieth century can be called the "Age of Said," this collection will enlighten and engage students in virtually any field of humanistic study.
Contributors. Jonathan Arac, Paul A. Bové, Terry Cochran, Barbara Harlow, Kojin Karatani, Rashid I. Khalidi, Sabu Kohsu, Ralph Locke, Mustapha Marrouchi, Jim Merod, W. J. T. Mitchell, Aamir R. Mufti, Jacqueline Rose, Edward W. Said, Gayatri Chakravorty Spivak, Lindsay Waters
In this fascinating book, Brian J. Frost presents the first full-scale survey of werewolf literature covering both fiction and nonfiction works. He identifies principal elements in the werewolf myth, considers various theories of the phenomenon of shapeshifting, surveys nonfiction books, and traces the myth from its origins in ancient superstitions to its modern representations in fantasy and horror fiction.
Frost’s analysis encompasses fanciful medieval beliefs, popular works by Victorian authors, scholarly treatises and medical papers, and short stories from pulp magazines of the 1930s and 1940s. Revealing the complex nature of the werewolf phenomenon and its tremendous and continuing influence, The Essential Guide to Werewolf Literature is destined to become a standard reference on the subject.
A major historical phenomenon of our century, exile has been a focal point for reflections about individual and cultural identity and problems of nationalism, racism, and war. Whether emigrés, exiles, expatriates, refugees, or nomads, these people all experience a distance from their homes and often their native languages. Exileand Creativity brings together the widely varied perspectives of nineteen distinguished European and American scholars and cultural critics to ask: Is exile a falling away from a source of creativity associated with the wholeness of home and one’s own language, or is it a spur to creativity? In essays that range chronologically from the Renaissance to the 1990s, geographically from the Danube to the Andes, and historically from the Inquisition to the Holocaust, the complexities and tensions of exile and the diversity of its experiences are examined. Recognizing exile as an interior experience as much as a physical displacement, this collection discusses such varied topics as intellectual exile and seventeenth-century French literature; different versions of home and of the novel in the writings of Bakhtin and Lukács; the displacement of James Joyce and Clarice Lispector; a young journalist’s meeting with James Baldwin in the south of France; Jean Renoir’s Hollywood years; and reflections by the descendents of European emigrés. Strikingly, many of the essays are themselves the work of exiles, bearing out once more the power of the personal voice in scholarship. With the exception of the contribution by Henry Louis Gates Jr., these essays were originally published in a special double issue of Poetics Today in 1996. Exileand Creativity will engage a range of readers from those whose specific interests include the problems of displacement and diaspora and the European Holocaust to those whose broad interests include art, literary and cultural studies, history, film, and the nature of human creativity.
Contributors. Zygmunt Bauman, Janet Bergstrom, Christine Brooke-Rose, Hélène Cixous, Tibor Dessewffy, Marianne Hirsch, Denis Hollier, Henry Louis Gates Jr., Linda Nochlin, Leo Spitzer, Susan Rubin Suleiman, Thomas Pavel, Doris Sommer, Nancy Huston, John Neubauer, Ernst van Alphen, Alicia Borinsky, Svetlana Boym, Jacqueline Chénieux-Gendron
A collection of thirteen original essays by leaders in the emerging field of ecocriticism,The Greening of Literary Scholarship is devoted to exploring new and previously neglected literatures, theories, and methods in environmental-literary scholarship.
Each essay in this impressive collection challenges the notion that the study of environmental literature is separate from traditional concerns of criticism, and each applies ecocritical scholarship to literature not commonly explored in this context. New historicism, postcolonialism, deconstructionism, and feminist and Marxist theories are all utilized to evaluate and gain new insights into environmental literature; at the same time, Percy Bysshe Shelley, Upton Sinclair, Leslie Marmon Silko, and Susan Howe are studied from an ecocritical perspective.
At its core, The Greening of Literary Scholarship offers a practical demonstration of how articulating traditional and environmental modes of literary scholarship can enrich the interpretation of literary texts and, most important, revitalize the larger fields of environmental and literary scholarship.
In Holocaust Graphic Narratives, Victoria Aarons demonstrates the range and fluidity of this richly figured genre. Employing memory as her controlling trope, Aarons analyzes the work of the graphic novelists and illustrators, making clear how they extend the traumatic narrative of the Holocaust into the present and, in doing so, give voice to survival in the wake of unrecoverable loss. In recreating moments of traumatic rupture, dislocation, and disequilibrium, these graphic narratives contribute to the evolving field of Holocaust representation and establish a new canon of visual memory. The intergenerational dialogue established by Aarons’ reading of these narratives speaks to the on-going obligation to bear witness to the Holocaust. Examined together, these intergenerational works bridge the erosions created by time and distance. As a genre of witnessing, these graphic stories, in retracing the traumatic tracks of memory, inscribe the weight of history on generations that follow.
In this original study by Cesáreo Bandera, the intimate connection between the simplicity and humility of the story and its greatness is explored. Other comparisons are also made: the story of the picaresque rogue, on the one hand, and the psychological insights of the pastoral novel, on the other.
The Idea of Spatial Form
Frank, Joseph Rutgers University Press, 1991 Library of Congress PN771.F69 1991 | Dewey Decimal 809.04
The Idea of Spatial Form contains the classic essay that introduced the concept of "spatial form" into literary discussion in 1945, and has since been accepted as one of the foundations for a theory of modern literature. It is here reprinted along with two later reconsiderations, one of which answers its major critics, while the second places the theory in relation to Russian Formalism and French Structuralism. Originally conceived to clarify the formal experiments of avant-garde literature, the idea of spatial form, when placed in this wider context, also contributes importantly to the foundations of a general poetics of the literary text. Also included are related discussions of André Malraux, Heinrich Wölfflin, Herbert Read, and E. H. Gombrich.
New material has been added to the essays in the form of footnotes and postscripts to two of them. These either illustrate the continuing relevance of the questions raised, or offer Frank's more recent opinions on the topic.
In Contempt: Nineteenth-Century Women, Law, and Literature, by Kristin Kalsem, explores the legal advocacy performed by nineteenth-century women writers in publications of nonfiction and fiction, as well as in real-life courtrooms and in the legal forum provided by the novel form.
The nineteenth century was a period of unprecedented reform in laws affecting married women’s property, child support and custody, lunacy, divorce, birth control, domestic violence, and women in the legal profession. Women’s contributions to these changes in the law, however, have been largely ignored because their work, stories, and perspectives are not recorded in authoritative legal texts; rather, evidence of their arguments and views are recorded in writings of a different kind. This book examines lesser-known works of nonfiction and fiction by legal reformers such as Annie Besant and Georgina Weldon and novelists such as Frances Trollope, Jane Hume Clapperton, George Paston, and Florence Dixie.
In Contempt brings to light new connections between Victorian law and literature, not only with its analysis of many “lost” novels but also with its new legal readings of old ones such as Emily Brontë’s Wuthering Heights (1847), George Eliot’s Adam Bede (1859), Lewis Carroll’s Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland (1865), Rider Haggard’s She (1887), and Thomas Hardy’s Jude the Obscure (1895). This study reexamines the cultural and political roles of the novel in light of “new evidence” that many nineteenth-century novels were “lawless”—showing contempt for, rather than policing, the law.
In this highly original study of the nature of performance, Spencer Golub uses the insights of Ludwig Wittgenstein into the way language works to analyze the relationship between the linguistic and the visual in the work of a broad range of dramatists, novelists, and filmmakers, among them Richard Foreman, Mac Wellman, Peter Handke, David Mamet, and Alfred Hitchcock. Like Wittgenstein, these artists are concerned with the limits of language’s representational capacity. For Golub, it is these limits that give Wittgenstein’s thought a further, very personal significance—its therapeutic quality with respect to the Obsessive Compulsive Disorder from which he suffers.
Underlying what Golub calls “performance behavior” is Wittgenstein’s notion of “pain behavior”—that which gives public expression to private experience. Golub charts new directions for exploring the relationship between theater and philosophy, and even for scholarly criticism itself.
A history of fragmentary—or interrupted—writing in avant-garde poetry and prose by a renowned literary critic.
In Interruptions: The Fragmentary Aesthetic in Modern Literature, Gerald L. Bruns explores the effects of parataxis, or fragmentary writing as a device in modern literature. Bruns focuses on texts that refuse to follow the traditional logic of sequential narrative. He explores numerous examples of self-interrupting composition, starting with Friedrich Schlegel's inaugural theory and practice of the fragment as an assertion of the autonomy of words, and their freedom from rule-governed hierarchies.
Bruns opens the book with a short history of the fragment as a distinctive feature of literary modernism in works from Gertrude Stein to Paul Celan to present-day authors. The study progresses to the later work of Maurice Blanchot and Samuel Beckett, and argues, controversially, that Blanchot's writings on the fragment during the 1950s and early 1960s helped to inspire Beckett’s turn toward paratactic prose.
The study also extends to works of poetry, examining the radically paratactic arrangements of two contemporary British poets, J. H. Prynne and John Wilkinson, focusing chiefly on their most recent, and arguably most abstruse, works. Bruns also offers a close study of the poetry and poetics of Charles Bernstein.
Interruptions concludes with two chapters about James Joyce. First, Bruns tackles the language of Finnegans Wake, namely the break-up of words themselves, its reassembly into puns, neologisms, nonsense, and even random strings of letters. Second, Bruns highlights the experience of mirrors in Joyce’s fiction, particularly in Dubliners, Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man, and Ulysses, where mirrored reflections invariably serve as interruptions, discontinuities, or metaphorical displacements and proliferations of self-identity.
From Kate Chopin and Virginia Woolf to William Faulkner and Doris Lessing, modern fiction surges with libidinal currents. The most powerful of these fictions are not merely about sex; rather, they attempt to incorporate the workings of eros into their narrative forms. In doing so, Joseph Allen Boone argues, these modern fictions of sexuality create a politics and poetics of the perverse with the power to transform how we think about and read modernism.
Challenging overarching theories of the novel by carefully mapping the historical contexts that have influenced modern experimental narratives, Boone constructs a model for interpreting sexuality that reaches from Freud's theory of the libidinal instincts to Foucault's theory of sexual discourse. The most ambitious study yet written on the links between literary modernity and the psychology of sex, Boone's Libidinal Currents will be a landmark book in the study of modernist fiction, gay studies/queer theory, feminist criticism, and studies in sexuality and gender.
The Limits of Ferocity is a powerful critique of the culture of extremity represented in the works of D. H. Lawrence, Georges Bataille, Henry Miller, and Norman Mailer. Daniel Fuchs provides close readings of their literary and intellectual texts, which convey a loathing of middle-class culture or, as the case may be, society itself, in favor of a rebellion often expressed as an aggressive, even apocalyptic, sexuality. The Marquis de Sade is the precursor of this literature, which idealizes the self that violates taboos and laws in the search for erotic transcendence. Fuchs shows as well how these writers reflected and contributed to a broader cultural assault on liberal moderation and Freudian humanism. He explains Freud’s theories of culture and sexual aggression and describes how they were rejected or reworked, sometimes in favor of a liberating violence, by theorists including Wilhelm Reich, Norman O. Brown, and Gilles Deleuze and Félix Guattari. Fuchs concludes with a reflection on books by William Burroughs, Bret Easton Ellis, and the sociologist Philip Rieff. This absorbing study illuminates the utopianism and narcissism in works of intellectual and artistic “ferocity” that characterized the turn in American consciousness from the period after the Second World War to the late 1960s and 1970s.
Literature in Exile
John Glad, ed. Duke University Press, 1990 Library of Congress PN495.L45 1990 | Dewey Decimal 809.8920694
In December 1987 a group of published novelists, poets, and journalists met in Vienna to participate in the Wheatland Conference on Literature. The writers presented papers addressing their common experience—that of being exiled. Each explored different facets of the condition of exile, providing answers to questions such as: What do exiled writers have in common? What is the exile’s obligation to colleagues and readers in the country of origin? Is the effect of changing languages one of enrichment or impoverishment? How does the new society treat the emigre? Following each essay is a peer discussion of the topic addressed. The volume includes writers whose origins lie in Central Europe, South Africa, Israel, Cuba, Chile, Somalia, and Turkey. Through their testimony of the creative process in exile, we gain insight into the forces which affect the creative process as a whole.
Contributors. William Gass, Yury Miloslavsky, Jan Vladislav, Jiri Grusa, Guillermo Cabrera Infante, Horst Bienek, Edward Limonov, Nedim Gursel, Nuruddin Farah, Jaroslav Vejvoda, Anton Shammas, Joseph Brodsky, Wojciech Karpinski, Thomas Venclova, Yuri Druzhnikov
In the spirit of Lionel Trilling, Edmund Wilson, and Susan Sontag, the renowned literary critic Jeffrey Hart writes The Living Moment, a close reading of literature as it intersects with the political. Hart’s book is an even-handed guide for anyone toddling into the mists of the modernist moment, effortlessly moving between such modernist monuments as Eliot’s “The Waste Land,” Hemingway’s A Farewell to Arms, Mann’s Doctor Faustus, and Fitzgerald’s The Great Gatsby. Hart’s most stunning achievement is his brilliant inclusion of Marilynne Robinson’s Gilead as a modernist text, for the way the novel teaches us to see more, to hear more, to feel more. Hart’s dazzling study is an examination of important works of literature as they explore the experience of living in a broken world with thought and sometimes with examples of resolve that possess permanent validity. The Living Moment is for anyone who is wearied by so much of today’s trendy, narrow, and ideologically driven criticism.
Although the theme of blindness occurs frequently in literature, literary criticism has rarely engaged the experiential knowledge of people with visual impairments. The Metanarrative of Blindness counters this trend by bringing to readings of twentieth-century works in English a perspective appreciative of impairment and disability. Author David Bolt examines representations of blindness in more than forty literary works, including writing by Kipling, Joyce, Synge, Orwell, H. G. Wells, Susan Sontag, and Stephen King, shedding light on the deficiencies of these representations and sometimes revealing an uncomfortable resonance with the Anglo-American science of eugenics.
What connects these seemingly disparate works is what Bolt calls “the metanarrative of blindness,” a narrative steeped in mythology and with deep roots in Western culture. Bolt examines literary representations of blindness using the analytical tools of disability studies in both the humanities and social sciences. His readings are also broadly appreciative of personal, social, and cultural aspects of disability, with the aim of bringing literary scholars to the growing discipline of disability studies, and vice versa. This interdisciplinary monograph is relevant to people working in literary studies, disability studies, psychology, sociology, applied linguistics, life writing, and cultural studies, as well as those with a general interest in education and representations of blindness.
For the past ninety years the Times Literary Supplement has scrutinized, dissected, applauded, and occasionally disparaged the work of the twentieth century's leading writers. It has taken a major role in the making—and breaking—of literary reputations.
In The Modern Movement, John Gross has assembled an entertaining selection of 155 articles and reviews about and by the great figures of literary modernism. The focus is on twelve key modernist writers: W. B. Yeats, Ezra Pound, D. H. Lawrence, James Joyce, T. S. Eliot, Wyndham Lewis, Virginia Wolf, W. H. Auden, Marcel Proust, Thomas Mann, Rainer Maria Rilke, and Franz Kafka. Another section gathers ten reviews and articles by Eliot and Woolf on then current writers and writing. In addition, there are more general articles on literary trends and issues by such prominent writers and critics as Anthony Burgess, Wallace Stevens, Anthony Powell, and Erich Heller.
This fascinating array reveals early opinions on what have come to be the classics of modernist literature. Readers will be treated to astute and often surprising opinions of their favorite writers on the most important literature of this century.
A multifaceted exploration of memory, mothering, literature, and postcoloniality.
Blending the personal and the historical, the practical and the theoretical, Angelita Reyes draws on a wide range of texts from Africa and the African diaspora to establish mothering as a paradigm of progressive feminisms. Reyes creates a comparative dialogue among the fictions of five postcolonial women writers: Toni Morrison, Paule Marshall, Simone Schwarz-Bart, Jean Rhys, and Mariama BÃ¢.
Reyes discusses the theme of mothering as a human reality, as a paradigm for cultural crossings, and as what she refers to as autobiographical memory-telling. Not only does her work explore the fraught relationships among memory, history, and mothering, but it also questions conventional ways of approaching the often fragmented testimony and artifacts of the lives of women of African descent.
Finally, Reyes uses memory-telling to present the autobiography of her own mother, whose extended American family said she "married a Spanish Negro who don't speak good English." Her blending of authorial, critical, historical, and autobiographical voices in this work extends our understanding of the cross-cultural ideas of mothering.
Angelita Reyes is associate professor and Morse Alumni Distinguished Teaching Professor in the Department of Afro-American and African Studies and the Center for Advanced Feminist Studies at the University of Minnesota.
Nabokov's translation of Pushkin's Eugene Onegin (1964) and its accompanying Commentary, along with Ada, or Ardor (1969), his densely allusive late English language novel, have appeared nearly inscrutable to many interpreters of his work. If not outright failures, they are often considered relatively unsuccessful curiosities. In Bozovic's insightful study, these key texts reveal Nabokov's ambitions to reimagine a canon of nineteenth- and twentieth-century Western masterpieces with Russian literature as a central, rather than marginal, strain. Nabokov's scholarly work, translations, and lectures on literature bear resemblance to New Critical canon reformations; however, Nabokov's canon is pointedly translingual and transnational and serves to legitimize his own literary practice. The new angles and theoretical framework offered by Nabokov's Canon help us to understand why Nabokov's provocative monuments remain powerful source texts for several generations of diverse international writers, as well as richly productive material for visual, cinematic, musical, and other artistic adaptations.
Narrative Prosthesis: Disability and the Dependencies of Discourse develops a narrative theory of the pervasive use of disability as a device of characterization in literature and film. It argues that, while other marginalized identities have suffered cultural exclusion due to a dearth of images reflecting their experience, the marginality of disabled people has occurred in the midst of the perpetual circulation of images of disability in print and visual media. The manuscript's six chapters offer comparative readings of key texts in the history of disability representation, including the tin soldier and lame Oedipus, Montaigne's "infinities of forms" and Nietzsche's "higher men," the performance history of Shakespeare's Richard III, Melville's Captain Ahab, the small town grotesques of Sherwood Anderson's Winesburg, Ohio and Katherine Dunn's self-induced freaks in Geek Love.
David T. Mitchell is Associate Professor of Literature and Cultural Studies, Northern Michigan University. Sharon L. Snyder is Assistant Professor of Film and Literature, Northern Michigan University.
In Neatness Counts, Kevin Kopelson reflects on the poetics of the desk—rolltop or bureau-plat, cluttered or bare, the nestlike desk, the schematic desk, the dramatic desk, the dramatic lack of any such furniture. Exploring the topography of literary creation by way of the topography of work space, Kopelson, one of today’s most important critics, offers a series of meditations on how orderliness, chaos, and other physical states correspond with both the exhilaration of production and the desperation of writer's block.Focusing on the poet Elizabeth Bishop, the novelist Marcel Proust, the critic Roland Barthes, the playwright Tom Stoppard, and the travel writer Bruce Chatwin, Neatness Counts is at once critical and creative, examining how various writers' work habits relate to their published work. Kopelson also considers desks of his own—one that had belonged to an older brother, one he borrowed from a messy friend, one now shared with a partner. And by pursuing these two lines of inquiry to their unlikely but enlightening conclusions, Kopelson both fabricates a virtual library of literary insight and commemorates an era in which the term “desktop” didn’t denote one’s computer screen.Kevin Kopelson is professor of English at the University of Iowa. His books include, most recently, The Queer Afterlife of Vaslav Nijinsky.
Feminist literary critics have long recognized that the novel’s marriage plot can shape the lives of women readers; however, they have largely traced the effects of this influence through a monolithic understanding of marriage. New World Courtships is the first scholarly study to recover a geographically diverse array of eighteenth- and nineteenth-century novels that actively compare marriage practices from the Atlantic world. These texts trouble Enlightenment claims that companionate marriage leads to women’s progress by comparing alternative systems for arranging marriage and sexual relations in the Americas. Attending to representations of marital diversity in early transatlantic novels disrupts nation-based accounts of the rise of the novel and its relation to “the” marriage plot. It also illuminates how and why cultural differences in marriage mattered in the Atlantic world—and shows how these differences might help us to reimagine marital diversity today. This book will appeal to scholars of literature, women’s studies, and early American history.
In this remarkable blend of sophisticated philosophical analysis and close reading of literary texts, Richard Eldridge presents a convincing argument that literature is the most important and richest source of insights in favor of a historicized Kantian moral philosophy. He effectively demonstrates that only through the interpretation of narratives can we test our capacities as persons for acknowledging the moral laws as a formula of value and for acting according to it.
Eldridge presents an extensive new interpretation of Kantian ethics that is deeply informed by Kant's aesthetics. He defends a revised version of Kantian universalism and a Kantian conception of the content of morality. Eldridge then turns to literature armed not with any a priori theory but with an interpretive stance inspired by Hegel's phenomenology of self-understanding, more or less naturalized, and by Wittgenstein's work on self-understanding as ongoing narrative-interpretive activity, a stance that yields Kantian results about the universal demands our nature places on itself.
Eldridge goes on to present readings of novels by Conrad and Austen and poetry by Wordsworth and Coleridge. In each text protagonists are seen to be struggling with moral conflicts and for self-understanding as moral persons. The route toward partial resolution of their conflicts is seen to involve multiple and ongoing activities of reading and interpreting. The result of this kind of interpretation is that such literature—literature that portrays protagonists as themselves readers and interpreters of human capacities for morality—is a primary source for the development of morally significant self-understanding. We see in the careers of these protagonists that there can be genuine and fruitful moral deliberation and valuable action, while also seeing how situated and partial any understanding and achievement of value must remain.
On Moral Personhood at once delineates the moral nature of persons; shows various conditions of the ongoing, contextualized, partial acknowledgment of that nature and of the exercise of the capacities that define it; and enacts an important way of reading literature in relation to moral problems. Eldridge's work will be important reading for moral philosophers (especially those concerned with Kant, Hegel, and issues dividing moral particularists from moral universalists), literary theorists (especially those concerned with the value of literature and its relation to philosophy and to moral problems), and readers and critics of Conrad, Wordsworth, Coleridge, and Austen.
On War and Writing
Samuel Hynes University of Chicago Press, 2018 Library of Congress PN56.W3H96 2018 | Dewey Decimal 809.933581
“In our imaginations, war is the name we give to the extremes of violence in our lives, the dark dividing opposite of the connecting myth, which we call love. War enacts the great antagonisms of history, the agonies of nations; but it also offers metaphors for those other antagonisms, the private battles of our private lives, our conflicts with one another and with the world, and with ourselves.”
Samuel Hynes knows war personally: he served as a Marine Corps pilot in the Pacific Theater during World War II, receiving the Distinguished Flying Cross. He has spent his life balancing two careers: pilot and professor of literature. Hynes has written a number of major works of literary criticism, as well as a war-memoir, Flights of Passage, and several books about the World Wars. His writing is sharp, lucid, and has provided some of the most expert, detailed, and empathetic accounts of a disappearing generation of fighters and writers. On War and Writing offers for the first time a selection of Hynes’s essays and introductions that explore the traditions of war writing from the twentieth century to the present. Hynes takes as a given that war itself—the battlefield uproar of actual combat—is unimaginable for those who weren’t there, yet we have never been able to turn away from it. We want to know what war is really like: for a soldier on the Somme; a submariner in the Pacific; a bomber pilot over Germany; a tank commander in the Libyan desert. To learn, we turn again and again to the memories of those who were there, and to the imaginations of those who weren’t, but are poets, or filmmakers, or painters, who give us a sense of these experiences that we can’t possibly know.
The essays in this book range from the personal (Hynes’s experience working with documentary master Ken Burns, his recollections of his own days as a combat pilot) to the critical (explorations of the works of writers and artists such as Thomas Hardy, E. E. Cummings, and Cecil Day-Lewis). What we ultimately see in On War and Writing is not military history, not the plans of generals, but the feelings of war, as young men expressed them in journals and poems, and old men remembered them in later years—men like Samuel Hynes.
Marking a return of literary study from the remote reaches of abstraction to the realm of the immediate, the particular, and the real in which language and literature truly live, the essays in this volume articulate a productive, new critical approach: ordinary language criticism. With roots in the ordinary language philosophy derived especially from Wittgenstein in the early twentieth century, and in the ideas of American pragmatic philosophy propounded and extended by Stanley Cavell, this approach seeks to return criticism to its grounds in the natural language we all speak; to expose the terms of our engagement with narratives, arguments, and concepts-what Wittgenstein and Cavell call the "criteria" of our writing and reading.
Resisting master formulations and overarching theories, Ordinary Language Criticism does not so much dismiss the excitement of the last two decades of literary theorizing as it reminds us of the excitement of the shared common enterprises to which theory may still contribute. In this, the volume and the model it offers have wide implications for the academy, in which a widespread ersatz-sophistication has shorted the circuit between literary works and the real lives of those reading and teaching them.
With a definitive introduction by editors Kenneth Dauber and Walter Jost, and elaborations and practical examples by major figures such as Cavell himself, Martha Nussbaum, Marjorie Perloff, Anthony Cascardi, and Charles Altieri, among others, this volume clearly shows and explains how ordinary language criticism differs from current trends and what it exactly it can accomplish in theory and practice. These essays prove that by attending more faithfully to what we actually do when we read, we can make reading more productive--can reveal how extraordinary and rich, how really sophisticated, the ordinary actually is.
The essays in Phenomenal Reading entice readers to cross accepted barriers, and highlight the work of poets who challenge language-as-usual in academia and the culture at large.
Phenomenal Reading is comprised of essays that are central to how best to read poetry. This book examines individually and collectively poets widely recognized as formal and linguistic innovators. Why do their words appear in unconventional orders? What end do these arrangements serve? Why are they striking? Brian Reed focuses on poetic form as a persistent puzzle, using historical fact and the views of other key critics to clarify how particular literary works are constructed and how those constructions lead to specific effects.
Understanding that explication and contextualization do not always sufficiently harness the power of poetry, Reed pursues phenomenological methods that take into account each reader’s unique perception of the world. This collection of twelve essays values narrative as a tool for conveying the intricacy, contingency, and richness of poetic experience.
Throughout his philosophical career, Eric Voegelin had much to say about literature in both his published work and his private letters. Many of his most trenchant comments regarding the analysis of literature appear in his correspondence with critic Robert Heilman, and, through his familiarity with that exchange, Charles Embry has gained extraordinary insight into Voegelin’s literary views.
The Philosopher and the Storyteller is the first book-length study of the literary dimensions of Voegelin’s philosophy—and the first to use his philosophy to read specific novels. Bringing to bear a thorough familiarity with both Voegelin and great literature, Embry shows that novels—like myths, philosophy, and religious texts—participate in the human search for the truth of existence, and that reading literature within a Voegelinian framework exposes the existential and philosophical dimensions of those works.
Embry focuses on two key elements of Voegelin’s philosophy as important for reading literature: metaxy, the in-between of human consciousness, and metalepsis, human participation in the community of being. He shows how Voegelin’s philosophy in general is rooted in literary-symbolic interpretation and, therefore, provides a foundation for the interpretation of literature. And finally he explores Voegelin’s insistence that the soundness of literary criticism lies in the consciousness of the reader.
Embry then offers Voegelinian readings that vividly illustrate the principles of this approach. First he considers Graham Swift’s Waterland as an example of the human search for meaning in the modern world, then he explores the deformation and recovery of reality in Heimito von Doderer’s long and complex novel The Demons, and finally he examines how Flannery O’Connor’s The Violent Bear It Away mythically expresses the flux of divine presence in what Voegelin calls the Time of the Tale.
The Philosopher and the Storyteller unites fiction and philosophy in the common quest to understand our nature, our world, and our cosmos. A groundbreaking exploration of the connection between Voegelin and twentieth-century literature, this book opens a new window on the philosopher’s thought and will motivate readers to study other novels in light of this approach.
Perhaps no one would be more shocked at the steady rise of his literary reputation—on a truly global scale—Than Edgar Allan Poe himself. Poe's literary reputation has climbed steadily since his death in 1849.
In Poe Abroad, Lois Vines has brought together a collection of essays that document the American writer's influence on the diverse literatures—and writers—of the world. Over twenty scholars demonstrate how and why Poe has significantly influenced many of the major literary figures of the last 150 years.
Part One includes studies of Poe's popularity among general readers, his influence on literary movements, and his reputation as a poet, fiction writer, and literary critic. Part Two presents analyses of the role Poe played in the literary development of specific writers representing many different cultures.
Poe Abroad commemorates the 150th anniversary of Poe's death and celebrates his worldwide impact, beginning with the first literal translation of Poe into a foreign language, “The Gold-Bug”into French in 1845. Charles Baudelaire translated another Poe tale in 1848 and four years later wrote an essay that would make Poe a well-known author in Europe even before he achieved recognition in America.
Poe died knowing only that some of his stories had been translated into French. He probably never would have imagined that his work would be admired and imitated as far away as Japan, China, and India or would have a lasting influence on writers such as Baudelaire, August Strindberg, Franz Kafka, Jorge Luis Borges, Julio Cortázar, and Tanizaki Junichiro.
As we approach the sesquicentennial of his death, Poe Abroad brings together a timely one-volume assessment of Poe's influence throughout the world.
Since the late 1960s, when he introduced Theodor Adorno’s work on literature and cultural critique to an English-speaking public, Samuel Weber has stimulated the discovery of new and unexpected links within a broad spectrum of humanistic disciplines, including critical theory and psychoanalysis, media studies and literary analysis, continental philosophy and theater studies. The international group of scholars who contribute to Points of Departure demonstrate the persistent fecundity of Weber’s work. Centered around his essay on the Ghost of Hamlet, as reflected in the writings of Walter Benjamin and Carl Schmitt, the volume is broadly divided into explorations of the nature of spectrality, on the one hand, and the dynamics of reading, on the other. Each of the twelve essays thus takes its point of departure from “Weber’s singular path between languages, cultures, and traditions”—to quote Jacques Derrida, whose fictive “interview with a passing journalist” is published here for the first time.
The Practical Past
Hayden White Northwestern University Press, 2014 Library of Congress PN50.W486 2014 | Dewey Decimal 809.93358
Hayden White borrows the title for The Practical Past from philosopher Michael Oakeshott, who used the term to describe the accessible material and literary-artistic artifacts that individuals and institutions draw on for guidance in quotidian affairs. The Practical Past, then, forms both a summa of White’s work to be drawn upon and a new direction in his thinking about the writing of history.
White’s monumental Metahistory: The Historical Imagination in Nineteenth-Century Europe (1973) challenged many of the commonplaces of professional historical writing and wider assumptions about the ontology of history itself. It formed the basis of his argument that we can never recover “what actually happened”in the past and cannot really access even material culture in context. Forty years on, White sees “professional history" as falling prey to narrow specialization, and he calls upon historians to take seriously the practical past of explicitly “artistic” works, such as novels and dramas, and literary theorists likewise to engage historians.
With global debt, labor, and environmental crises on the rise, the precarious position of people in the Global South has become a significant force moving people across countries, continents, and around the world. Through a comparative study of contemporary trans-Atlantic immigrant narratives in French, Spanish, and English, Alexandra Perisic offers an account of a multilingual Atlantic under neoliberalism. More specifically, Precarious Crossings: Immigration, Neoliberalism, and the Atlantic examines how contemporary authors from the Caribbean, Sub-Saharan Africa, and Latin America—including Roberto Bolaño, Giannina Braschi, Maryse Condé, Fatou Diome, Marie Ndiaye, and Caryl Phillips, among others—have reconceptualized the Atlantic from a triangular space into a multipolar one, introducing new destinations for contemporary immigrants and establishing new Atlantic connections.
Perisic argues that in traveling beyond the postcolonial route that connects former colonizer and former colonized, these authors also shift their focus from cultural difference and national belonging to precarity—a condition characterized by a lack of economic and social stability and protection—as a shared characteristic under global neoliberalization. She demonstrates how contemporary Atlantic narratives reveal the contradictions inherent in neoliberalism as an ideology—thereby showing how they further participate in Atlantic literary and cultural dialogues and push against literary conventions of various genre as they explore the complexities of a globalized Atlantic.
Tony C. Brown examines “the inescapable yet infinitely troubling figure of the not-quite-nothing” in Enlightenment attempts to think about the aesthetic and the savage. The various texts Brown considers—including the writings of Addison, Rousseau, Kant, and Defoe—turn to exotic figures in order to delimit the aesthetic, and to aesthetics in order to comprehend the savage.
In his intriguing exploration Brown discovers that the primitive introduces into the aesthetic and the savage an element that proves necessary yet difficult to conceive. At its most profound, Brown explains, this element engenders a loss of confidence in one’s ability to understand the human’s relation to itself and to the world. That loss of confidence—what Brown refers to as a breach in anthropological security—traces to an inability to maintain a sense of self in the face of the New World. Demonstrating the impact of the primitive on the aesthetic and the savage, he shows how the eighteenth-century writers he focuses on struggle to define the human’s place in the world. As Brown explains, these authors go back again and again to “exotic” examples from the New World—such as Indian burial mounds and Maori tattooing practice—making them so ubiquitous that they come to underwrite, even produce, philosophy and aesthetics.
The Promise of Memory
Lorna Martens Harvard University Press, 2011 Library of Congress PN56.M44M37 2011 | Dewey Decimal 809.93353
We once believed in the power of Proust’s madeleine and Wordsworth’s boyhood memories—before literary culture began to defer to Freud’s questioning of adult memories of childhood. In this first sustained look at childhood memories as depicted in literature, Lorna Martens reveals how much we may have lost by turning our attention the other way.
Pushkin on Literature
Tatiana Wolff Northwestern University Press, 1998 Library of Congress PG3347.A2W6 1998 | Dewey Decimal 809.03
Pushkin on Literature approaches Pushkin's literary accomplishment from a unique perspective: it focuses on Pushkin the critic, and on his passionate enthusiasm, volatile judgments, joy, frustration, and fascination with the literary world that surrounded him. This is the only English-language edition of the complete set of Pushkin's critical writing, both on his own work and on the wide range of European literature--Byron, Shakespeare, Voltaire, Milton--which he read and studied, and which so profoundly influenced his own writing.
Contemporary theory is replete with metaphors of travel—displacement, diaspora, borders, exile, migration, nomadism, homelessness, and tourism to name a few. In Questions of Travel, Caren Kaplan explores the various metaphoric uses of travel and displacement in literary and feminist theory, traces the political implications of this “traveling theory,” and shows how various discourses of displacement link, rather than separate, modernism and postmodernism. Addressing a wide range of writers, including Paul Fussell, Edward Said, James Clifford, Gilles Deleuze, Jean Baudrillard, Gayatri Spivak, Edward Soja, Doreen Massey, Chandra Mohanty, and Adrienne Rich, Kaplan demonstrates that symbols and metaphors of travel are used in ways that obscure key differences of power between nationalities, classes, races, and genders. Neither rejecting nor dismissing the powerful testimony of individual experiences of modern exile or displacement, Kaplan asks how mystified metaphors of travel might be avoided. With a focus on theory’s colonial discourses, she reveals how these metaphors continue to operate in the seemingly liberatory critical zones of poststructuralism and feminist theory. The book concludes with a critique of the politics of location as a form of essentialist identity politics and calls for new feminist geographies of place and displacement.
The Road of Excess
Marcus BOON Harvard University Press, 2002 Library of Congress PN56.N18B66 2002 | Dewey Decimal 809.93356
From the antiquity of Homer to yesterday's Naked Lunch, writers have found inspiration, and readers have lost themselves, in a world of the imagination tinged and oftentimes transformed by drugs. The age-old association of literature and drugs receives its first comprehensive treatment in this far-reaching work. Drawing on history, science, biography, literary analysis, and ethnography, Marcus Boon shows that the concept of drugs is fundamentally interdisciplinary, and reveals how different sets of connections between disciplines configure each drug's unique history.
In chapters on opiates, anesthetics, cannabis, stimulants, and psychedelics, Boon traces the history of the relationship between writers and specific drugs, and between these drugs and literary and philosophical traditions. With reference to the usual suspects from De Quincey to Freud to Irvine Welsh and with revelations about others such as Milton, Voltaire, Thoreau, and Sartre, The Road of Excess provides a novel and persuasive characterization of the "effects" of each class of drug--linking narcotic addiction to Gnostic spirituality, stimulant use to writing machines, anesthesia to transcendental philosophy, and psychedelics to the problem of the imaginary itself. Creating a vast network of texts, personalities, and chemicals, the book reveals the ways in which minute shifts among these elements have resulted in "drugs" and "literature" as we conceive of them today.
Table of Contents:
1. Addicted to Nothingness: Narcotics and Literature 2. The Voice of the Blood: Transcendentalism and Anesthetic Revelation 3. The Time of the Assassins: Cannabis and Literature 4. Induced Life: Stimulants and Literature 5. The Imaginal Realms: Psychedelics and Literature
Bibliography Notes Acknowledgments Illustration Credits Index
Reviews of this book: Lucid, startling survey of significant writers and their cozy, quasi-scientific relationships with drugs...A well-executed, deliberative study that effectively reclaims and demystifies key written representations of drug experience. --Kirkus Reviews
Reviews of this book: Instead of providing a chronological history of drugs in literature, Boon offers a sprawling, extensively researched work that explores the "more subtle, micropolitical histories of everyday interactions between human beings and particular psychoactive substances." Each of the book's five chapters focuses on writers'and works associated with a particular class of drugs...This is a solid work of scholarship. --William D. Walsh, Library Journal
Reviews of this book: Writers have been taking drugs as long as there have been drugs to be had, and--as we learn from Marcus Boon's fascinating and meticulous The Road of Excess--the line is blurred, in fact invisible, between those writers who take drugs to inflame or exalt their demons and those who simply need, in Aldous Huxley's phrase, "a chemical vacation from intolerable selfhood"...The Road of Excess does the field of drug studies a great service by providing a clear narrative of literature's long romance with drugs, and by relating each substance to a specific creative enterprise. --James Parker, Boston Globe
Reviews of this book: The Road of Excess...focuses on the external conditions that prompted some of the world's most famous storytellers to smoke, snort and swallow their way to notoriety...By providing social, economic, ethnographic, scientific, and religious perspective as the foundation of his observations, Boon realizes his mandate by offering fascinating context and insight to a timeline that dates back to Homer's Odyssey. --Nick Krewen, Toronto Star
Reviews of this book: Boon's observations speak as much to our scientific understanding of the brain as to our literary appreciation of writers like Henri Michaux and Charles Baudelaire, William Burroughs and Will Self, and they deserve close criticism. This alone makes Boon's ironic and perceptive book very welcome: It is that rare creature, a work of literary criticism that the scientific community can enjoy, contend with, and from which it can draw inspiration. --Simon Ings, New Scientist
Reviews of this book: Marcus Boon...tilled the well-seeded territory of druggy writers...and now brings it to fruition in The Road of Excess...His feat suggests that even in a literature department, a lively empirical topic can survive years of deconstructive indoctrination and cultural-studies overkill...Boon's enterprising research soon takes the reader to intoxicating places...He proceeds incisively, his double-helix narrative intertwining a fine strand of scholarly detail with an ongoing argument for transcendental subjectivity's importance to literature--so powerful an influence it almost behooves writers to experiment with drugs...The most arresting strain of Boon's book is thus its vast historical sweep. Like the pal in the park believed to have "tried everything," Boon appears to have read everything concerned with writers and drugs. --Carlin Romano, Chronicle of Higher Education
Reviews of this book: For the British romantics--Keats, Byron, Coleridge, Shelley, de Quincey--it was opium. For Proust, Guy de Maupassant and William James, it was anesthetics--either and nitrous oxide. Balzac, Coleridge, Rimbaud, Yeats and the Beats all smoked, ate and drank cannabis. Balzac's speedy writing was fueled by vast quantities of caffeine; Kerouac chewed Benzedrine to hurry his typing. Then there are such famous names as Leary, de Kooning, Bowles, Thompson and, of course, the king of literary druggies, William S. Burroughs, those day trippers who happily wrote while consuming all manner of psychedelics--peyote, mescaline, acid. All this social, literary and pharmaceutical history is considered in a thoughtful but engaging style by Marcus Boon. --Dan Smith, Toronto Star
Reviews of this book: Boon has written the most useful and engaging history of psychoactive lit yet. His prose is generous, unhurried, and far too tasteful to gob up the page with theory. At the same time, he casts his net deep and wide, drawing in folks as disparate as Chaucer, Kant, and Iceberg Slim. Boon is not content to merely record the encounter between modern writers and drugs; he deepens the story as well, and, amazingly, he does it without exploiting the rhetoric of personal experience or subversive hip. --Erik Davis, Bookforum
Reviews of this book: The first thing to say about Marcus Boon's Road of Excess is that he has certainly done the research...This [is a] valuable, philosophically provocative and sometimes quite moving work of literary criticism...Boon has read everything from Homer's Odyssey, with its description of the lotus plant, to the underground comics of Robert Crumb. And he can step outside literature to show a knowledge of a far wider cultural world. --Steven Rosen, Denver Post and Rocky Mountain News
Reviews of this book: This meticulous exploration of the influence of narcotics on literature is like a late-night literary overdose...[Boon's] academic background shines through without bogging down this intriguing subject...The Road of Excess is broken down into five sections based on a specific realm of drug: opiates, anaesthetics, cannabis, stimulants (coffee, cocaine and amphetamines) and psychedelics. There is a historical logic to the structure that reflects both the social norms and the scientific discoveries of the time. It is this that makes Excess a riveting read as Boon describes the high-fashion accessory of hand-crafted syringes to inject morphine in public or the introduction of opium via Chinese workers in Europe. Boon has explored the cultures around his literary figures with methodical devotion, creating a colorful, if at times, frightening sense of time and place...[Boon's] writing is largely a clear, calm and extraordinarily researched discussion of strange visions, odd lives and often marvelous writing. --Ashley Crawford, The Age
Reviews of this book: In an impressive display of scholarship, Boon meticulously chronicles the connection between writers and drugs. From Samuel Taylor Coleridge to Jack Kerouac, writers' personal odysseys into the dizzying world of drugs are depicted with a novelist's eye for detail. Boon...creates order of this heretofore largely uncharted history in five well-rounded essays examining how literature has been influenced by narcotics, anesthetics, cannabis, stimulants, and psychedelics. Through liberal use of anecdotes, Boon helps transform what could have been a dry recitation of cultural and literary artifacts into a feast of historical surprises...Though it is a scholarly endeavor, Boon's new work reads more like a wide-eyed, joyous romp through a literary statesman's funhouse, where each room contains a masterfully told tale of opium or morphine, peyote or LSD, coffee or cocaine. We see a gallery of our most prized literary lions, many of them stripped bare of their pristine reputations. It is a mind-teasing exercise that is well worth the trip. --Rebecca Shannonhouse, Boston Globe
Reviews of this book: A scrupulously researched and splendidly written tome that is a joy to read and a challenge to digest. --Gordon Phinn, Books in Canada
The book's foundational strength is its scholarship. He uses citations not only for traditional scholarly support, but to delight, astonish, and engage the reader. It's too bad that bibliographies are out of fashion these days, since Boon's is a gem. He's done his homework several times over. He is a man after my own heart with his methodological bricolage, applying political, psychological, medical, anthropological and theological tactics according to the needs of the situation. The book is written in a buoyant tone, full of energy and excitement whether disclosing a juicy fact or working through a knotty argument. Although it is clearly an academic book, in the sense that it has footnotes and high scholarly standards, it could be enjoyed by any reader with an interest in literature - or drugs. When it finds unknown ground it is exciting, and when it recrosses more familiar zones it always finds a way to renew interest in them. --David Lenson, author of On Drugs and Professor of Comparative Literature at the University of Massachusetts
The Road of Excess is a superbly researched and lucidly written compendium of fascinating information. It brings to light a history that has heretofore been largely repressed and details the enormous impact of drugs and altered consciousness on European and American literary cultures. --Nicholas Bromell, Professor of English, University of Massachusetts
Walter Benjamin's Arcades Project suggests that space can become a storyteller: if so, plenty of fleeting stories can be read in the space of modernity, where repetition and the unexpected cross-pollinate. In Space as Storyteller, Laura Chiesa explores several stories across a wide range of time that narrate spatial jumps, from Benjamin's tangential take on the cityscape, the experimentalism of Futurist theatricality, the multiple and potential atlases narrated by Italo Calvino and Georges Perec, and the posturban thought and practice of Bernard Tschumi and Rem Koolhaas/OMA. Space as Storyteller diverts attention from isolated disciplines and historical or geographical contexts toward transdisciplinary encounters that mobilize the potential to invent new spaces of comparison, a potential the author describes as "architecturability."
Avital Ronell University of Illinois Press, 2001 Library of Congress PN56.S737R66 2002 | Dewey Decimal 809.93353
In Stupidity Avital Ronell explores the fading empire of cognition, modulating stupidity into idiocy, puerility, and the figure of the ridiculous philosopher instituted by Kant. Drawing on a range of writers including Dostoevsky, Schlegel, Musil, and Wordsworth, Stupidity investigates ignorance, dumbfounded-ness, and the limits of reason.
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.
There are thousands of books that represent the Holocaust, but can, and should, the act of reading these works convey the events of genocide to those who did not experience it? In Textual Silence, literary scholar Jessica Lang asserts that language itself is a barrier between the author and the reader in Holocaust texts—and that this barrier is not a lack of substance, but a defining characteristic of the genre.
Holocaust texts, which encompass works as diverse as memoirs, novels, poems, and diaries, are traditionally characterized by silences the authors place throughout the text, both deliberately and unconsciously. While a reader may have the desire and will to comprehend the Holocaust, the presence of “textual silence” is a force that removes the experience of genocide from the reader’s analysis and imaginative recourse. Lang defines silences as omissions that take many forms, including the use of italics and quotation marks, ellipses and blank pages in poetry, and the presence of unreliable narrators in fiction. While this limits the reader’s ability to read in any conventional sense, these silences are not flaws. They are instead a critical presence that forces readers to acknowledge how words and meaning can diverge in the face of events as unimaginable as those of the Holocaust.
Victoria Aarons and Alan L. Berger show that Holocaust literary representation has continued to flourish well into the twenty-first century—gaining increased momentum even as its perspective shifts, as a third generation adds its voice to the chorus of post-Holocaust writers. In negotiating the complex thematic imperatives and narrative conceits of the literature of third-generation writers, this bold new work examines those structures, tropes, patterns, ironies, disjunctions, and overall tensions that produce a literature that laments unrecoverable loss for a generation removed spatially and temporally from the extended trauma of the Holocaust. Aarons and Berger address evolving notions of “postmemory”; the intergenerational and ongoing transmission of trauma; issues of Jewish cultural identity; inherited memory; the psychological tensions of post-Holocaust Jewish identity; the characteristic tropes of memory and the personalized narrative voice; issues of generational dislocation and anxiety; the recurrent antagonisms of assimilation and historical alienation; the imaginative re-creation and reconstruction of the past; and the future of Holocaust memory and representation.
In Translating Modernism Ronald Berman continues his career-long study of the ways that intellectual and philosophical ideas informed and transformed the work of America’s major modernist writers.
Here Berman shows how Fitzgerald and Hemingway wrestled with very specific intellectual, artistic, and psychological influences, influences particular to each writer, particular to the time in which they wrote, and which left distinctive marks on their entire oeuvres. Specifically, Berman addresses the idea of "translating" or "translation"—for Fitzgerald the translation of ideas from Freud, Dewey, and James, among others; and for Hemingway the translation of visual modernism and composition, via Cézanne.
Though each writer had distinct interests and different intellectual problems to wrestle with, as Berman demonstrates, both had to wrestle with transmuting some outside influence and making it their own.
It may be said that every trauma is two traumas or ten thousand-depending on the number of people involved. How one experiences and reacts to an event is unique and depends largely on one's direct or indirect positioning, personal psychic history, and individual memories. But equally important to the experience of trauma are the broader political and cultural contexts within which a catastrophe takes place and how it is "managed" by institutional forces, including the media.
In Trauma Culture, E. Ann Kaplan explores the relationship between the impact of trauma on individuals and on entire cultures and nations. Arguing that humans possess a compelling need to draw meaning from personal experience and to communicate what happens to others, she examines the artistic, literary, and cinematic forms that are often used to bridge the individual and collective experience. A number of case studies, including Sigmund Freud's Moses and Monotheism, Marguerite Duras' La Douleur, Sarah Kofman's Rue Ordener, Rue Labat, Alfred Hitchcock's Spellbound, and Tracey Moffatt's Night Cries, reveal how empathy can be fostered without the sensationalistic element that typifies the media.
From World War II to 9/11, this passionate study eloquently navigates the contentious debates surrounding trauma theory and persuasively advocates the responsible sharing and translating of catastrophe.
In the early 1600s, in a haunting tale titled New Atlantis, Sir Francis Bacon imagined the discovery of an uncharted island. This island was home to the descendants of the lost realm of Atlantis, who had organized themselves to seek “the knowledge of Causes, and secret motions of things; and the enlarging of the bounds of Human Empire, to the effecting of all things possible.” Bacon’s make-believe island was not an empire in the usual sense, marked by territorial control; instead, it was the center of a vast general expansion of human knowledge and power.
Rosalind Williams uses Bacon’s island as a jumping-off point to explore the overarching historical event of our time: the rise and triumph of human empire, the apotheosis of the modern ambition to increase knowledge and power in order to achieve world domination. Confronting an intensely humanized world was a singular event of consciousness, which Williams explores through the lives and works of three writers of the late nineteenth century: Jules Verne, William Morris, and Robert Louis Stevenson. As the century drew to a close, these writers were unhappy with the direction in which their world seemed to be headed and worried that organized humanity would use knowledge and power for unworthy ends. In response, Williams shows, each engaged in a lifelong quest to make a home in the midst of human empire, to transcend it, and most of all to understand it. They accomplished this first by taking to the water: in life and in art, the transition from land to water offered them release from the condition of human domination. At the same time, each writer transformed his world by exploring the literary boundary between realism and romance. Williams shows how Verne, Morris, and Stevenson experimented with romance and fantasy and how these traditions allowed them to express their growing awareness of the need for a new relationship between humans and Earth.
The Triumph of Human Empire shows that for these writers and their readers romance was an exceptionally powerful way of grappling with the political, technical, and environmental situations of modernity. As environmental consciousness rises in our time, along with evidence that our seeming control over nature is pathological and unpredictable, Williams’s history is one that speaks very much to the present.
"Avital Ronell has put together what must be one of the most remarkable critical oeuvres of our era… Zeugmatically yoking the slang of pop culture with philosophical analysis, forcing the confrontation of high literature and technology or drug culture, Avital Ronell produces sentences that startle, irritate, illuminate. At once hilarious and refractory, her books are like no others.”--Jonathan Culler, Diacritics
For twenty years Avital Ronell has stood at the forefront of the confrontation between literary study and European philosophy. She has tirelessly investigated the impact of technology on thinking and writing, with groundbreaking work on Heidegger, dependency and drug rhetoric, intelligence and artificial intelligence, and the obsession with testing. Admired for her insights and breadth of field, she has attracted a wide readership by writing with guts, candor, and wit.
Coyly alluding to Nietzsche’s “gay science,” The ÜberReader presents a solid introduction to Avital Ronell’s later oeuvre. It includes at least one selection from each of her books, two classic selections from a collection of her early essays (Finitude’s Score), previously uncollected interviews and essays, and some of her most powerful published and unpublished talks. An introduction by Diane Davis surveys Ronell’s career and the critical response to it thus far.
With its combination of brevity and power, this Ronell “primer” will be immensely useful to scholars, students, and teachers throughout the humanities, but particularly to graduate and undergraduate courses in contemporary theory.
In What Is a World? Pheng Cheah, a leading theorist of cosmopolitanism, offers the first critical consideration of world literature’s cosmopolitan vocation. Addressing the failure of recent theories of world literature to inquire about the meaning of world, Cheah articulates a normative theory of literature’s world-making power by creatively synthesizing four philosophical accounts of the world as a temporal process: idealism, Marxist materialism, phenomenology, and deconstruction. Literature opens worlds, he provocatively suggests, because it is a force of receptivity. Cheah compellingly argues for postcolonial literature’s exemplarity as world literature through readings of narrative fiction by Michelle Cliff, Amitav Ghosh, Nuruddin Farah, Ninotchka Rosca, and Timothy Mo that show how these texts open up new possibilities for remaking the world by negotiating with the inhuman force that gives time and deploying alternative temporalities to resist capitalist globalization.
Exploring how the figure of the “wild child” in contemporary fiction grapples with contemporary cultural anxieties about reproductive ethics and the future of humanity
In the eighteenth century, Western philosophy positioned the figure of “the child” at the border between untamed nature and rational adulthood. Contemporary cultural anxieties about the ethics and politics of reproductive choice and the crisis of parental responsibility have freighted this liminal figure with new meaning in twenty-first-century narratives.
In Wild Child, Naomi Morgenstern explores depictions of children and their adult caregivers in extreme situations—ranging from the violence of slavery and sexual captivity to accidental death, mass murder, torture, and global apocalypse—in such works as Toni Morrison’s A Mercy, Cormac McCarthy’s The Road, Lionel Shriver’s We Need to Talk about Kevin, Emma Donoghue’s Room, and Denis Villeneuve’s film Prisoners. Morgenstern shows how, in such narratives, “wild” children function as symptoms of new ethical crises and existential fears raised by transformations in the technology and politics of reproduction and by increased ethical questions about the very decision to reproduce. In the face of an uncertain future that no longer confirms the confidence of patriarchal humanism, such narratives displace or project present-day apprehensions about maternal sacrifice and paternal protection onto the wildness of children in a series of hyperbolically violent scenes.
Urgent and engaging, Wild Child offers the only extended consideration of how twenty-first-century fiction has begun to imagine the decision to reproduce and the ethical challenges of posthumanist parenting.
Word Toys: Poetry and Technics is an engaging and thought provoking volume that speculates on a range of textual works—poetic, novelistic, and programmed—as technical objects.
With the ascent of digital culture, new forms of literature and literary production are thriving that include multimedia, networked, conceptual, and other as-yet-unnamed genres while traditional genres and media—the lyric, the novel, the book—have been transformed. Word Toys: Poetry and Technics is an engaging and thought-provoking volume that speculates on a range of poetic, novelistic, and programmed works that lie beyond the language of the literary and which views them instead as technical objects.
Brian Kim Stefans considers the problems that arise when discussing these progressive texts in relation to more traditional print-based poetic texts. He questions the influence of game theory and digital humanities rhetoric on poetic production, and how non-digital works, such as contemporary works of lyric poetry, are influenced by the recent ubiquity of social media, the power of search engines, and the public perceptions of language in a time of nearly universal surveillance.
Word Toys offers new readings of canonical avant-garde writers such as Ezra Pound and Charles Olson, major successors such as Charles Bernstein, Alice Notley, and Wanda Coleman, mixed-genre artists including Caroline Bergvall, Tan Lin, and William Poundstone, and lyric poets such as Harryette Mullen and Ben Lerner. Writers that trouble the poetry/science divide such as Christian Bök, and novelists who have embraced digital technology such as Mark Z. Danielewski and the elusive Toadex Hobogrammathon, anchor reflections on the nature of creativity in a world where authors collaborate, even if unwittingly, with machines and networks. In addition, Stefans names provocative new genres—among them the nearly formless “undigest” and the transpacific “miscegenated script”—arguing by example that interdisciplinary discourse is crucial to the development of scholarship about experimental work.
Though the practice of self-translation long predates modernity, it has found new forms of expression in the global literary market of the late twentieth and early twenty-first century. The international renown of self-translating authors Samuel Beckett, Joseph Brodsky, and Vladimir Nabokov has offered motivation to a new generation of writers who actively translate themselves.
Intervening in recent debates in world literature and translation studies, Writing It Twice establishes the prominence and vitality of self-translation in contemporary French literature. Because of its intrinsic connection to multiple literary communities, self-translation prompts a reexamination of the aesthetics and politics of reading across national lines. Kippur argues that self-translated works should be understood as the paradigmatic example of world literature and, as such, crucial for interpreting the dynamics of literary circulation into and out of French.