Acoustic Properties: Radio, Narrative, and the New Neighborhood of the Americas discovers the prehistory of wireless culture. It examines both the coevolution of radio and the novel in Argentina, Cuba, and the United States from the early 1930s to the late 1960s, and the various populist political climates in which the emerging medium of radio became the chosen means to produce the voice of the people.
Based on original archival research in Buenos Aires, Havana, Paris, and the United States, the book develops a literary media theory that understands sound as a transmedial phenomenon and radio as a transnational medium. Analyzing the construction of new social and political relations in the wake of the United States’ 1930s Good Neighbor Policy, Acoustic Properties challenges standard narratives of hemispheric influence through new readings of Richard Wright’s cinematic work in Argentina, Severo Sarduy’s radio plays in France, and novels by John Dos Passos, Manuel Puig, Raymond Chandler, and Carson McCullers. Alongside these writers, the book also explores Che Guevara and Fidel Castro’s Radio Rebelde, FDR’s fireside chats, Félix Caignet’s invention of the radionovela in Cuba, Evita Perón’s populist melodramas in Argentina, Orson Welles’s experimental New Deal radio, Cuban and U.S. “radio wars,” and the 1960s African American activist Robert F. Williams’s proto–black power Radio Free Dixie.
From the doldrums of the Great Depression to the tumult of the Cuban Revolution, Acoustic Properties illuminates how novelists in the radio age converted writing into a practice of listening, transforming realism as they struggled to channel and shape popular power.
Between 1921 and 1924, Knud Rasmussen led a small band of colleagues in a journey of investigation across the top of North America. The full scientific report of that 20,000-mile trek by dog sled from Greenland to Siberia, known to history as the Firth Thule Expedition, fills ten volumes. This single volume, Across Arctic America, is Rasmussen’s own reworking and condensation of his two-volume popular account written in Danish, and gives the essence of his experience of the Arctic and its people.
It was the people who most captivated the Greenland-born Rasmussen, who had become a virtual adopted son to the Eskimos of the far northern district still known by the name of the trading post he established there, Thule. His first four Thule Expeditions extended the limits of the known world in Greenland solely, but Rasmussen’s Fifth Thule Expedition demonstrated the unity of the Eskimo world from the Atlantic Ocean to the Chukchi Sea, proving the people all shared the same basic language and culture. As historian Terrence Cole notes in his introductory biography, “The intellectual and spiritual life of the people themselves were his primary interest, not simply geographical discovery, and thus even when following the tracks of previous explorers, he found uncharted territory. His basic principle was to first earn the trust of the local people by showing understanding and patience: living with the people and not apart from them, sharing their work and their food….” That was how Rasmussen approached the entire Arctic: he did not live apart from it, skimming over its surface like the fame-seeking polar explorers of the time such as Peary and Cook, but immersed himself in it—so successfully that a Canadian Inuit elder once marveled that he was “the first white man [he had ever seen] who was also an Eskimo.”
Of most significance to readers today, though, is that Rasmussen was also a noted writer. He wanted to share not just the observations he made but the feelings he experienced, and so in Across Arctic America offered what fellow arctic explorer Vilhjalmur Stefansson described as “not only a work of literary charm but also one of the deepest and soundest interpretations” of Eskimo life ever put into a book.
This volume, published in commemoration of the 75th anniversary of the completion of the Fifth Thule Expedition, includes an introduction by Classic Reprint Series editor Terrance Cole and an index.
In this innovative work, Julia King moves nimbly among a variety of sources and disciplinary approaches—archaeological, historical, architectural, literary, and art-historical—to show how places take on, convey, and maintain meanings. Focusing on the beautiful Chesapeake Bay region of Maryland, King looks at the ways in which various groups, from patriots and politicians of the antebellum era to present-day archaeologists and preservationists, have transformed key landscapes into historical, indeed sacred, spaces.
The sites King examines include the region’s vanishing tobacco farms; St. Mary’s City, established as Maryland’s first capital by English settlers in the seventeenth century; and Point Lookout, the location of a prison for captured Confederate soldiers during the Civil War. As the author explores the historical narratives associated with such places, she uncovers some surprisingly durable myths as well as competing ones. St. Mary’s City, for example, early on became the center of Maryland’s “founding narrative” of religious tolerance, a view commemorated in nineteenth-century celebrations and reflected even today in local museum exhibits and preserved buildings. And at Point Lookout, one private group has established a Confederate Memorial Park dedicated to those who died at the prison, thus nurturing the Lost Cause ideology that arose in the South in the late 1800s, while nearby the custodians of a 1,000-acre state park avoid controversy by largely ignoring the area’s Civil War history, preferring instead to concentrate on recreation and tourism, an unusually popular element of which has become the recounting of ghost stories.
As King shows, the narratives that now constitute the public memory in southern Maryland tend to overlook the region’s more vexing legacies, particularly those involving slavery and race. Noting how even her own discipline of historical archaeology has been complicit in perpetuating old narratives, King calls for research—particularly archaeological research—that produces new stories and “counter-narratives” that challenge old perceptions and interpretations and thus convey a more nuanced grasp of a complicated past.
Julia A. King is an associate professor of anthropology at St. Mary’s College of Maryland, where she coordinates the Museum Studies Program and directs the SlackWater Center, a consortium devoted to exploring, documenting, and interpreting the changing landscapes of Chesapeake communities. She is also coeditor, with Dennis B. Blanton, of Indian and European Contact in Context: The Mid-Atlantic Region.
This account of the second Powell expedition is a reprint of the 1962 edition and includes all 50 illustrations and a substantial foreword by William H. Geotzmann.
"One of the seminal books on western history . . . The author was only 17 when he began the expedition, and he honestly hero-worshipped Powell all his life. Yet this bright, sharp account is so detailed and truthful that the reader can see through his enthusiasm to discover Powell's mean spirit and sometimes reckless nature. It's also a great river-running book." —Deseret News
"It was decidedly worth writing, this detailed record: a more absorbing, and at times stirring, story of adventure has not seen the light in a long time, and the author's unadorned, yet vivid, style enables the reader to share all the emotions of the explorers:" —The Nation
"In these later years (1909) when amateur travel in the west is frequent, a detailed record of this kind will be of value to seekers after adventure." —Science
The Chatter of the Visible examines the paradoxical narrative features of the photomontage aesthetics of artists associated with Dada, Constructivism, and the New Objectivity. While montage strategies have commonly been associated with the purposeful interruption of and challenge to narrative consistency and continuity, McBride offers an historicized reappraisal of 1920s and 1930s German photomontage work to show that its peculiar mimicry was less a rejection of narrative and more an extension or permutation of it—a means for thinking in narrative textures exceeding constraints imposed by “flat” print media (especially the novel and other literary genres).
McBride’s contribution to the conversation around Weimar-era montage is in her situation of the form of the work as a discursive practice in its own right, which affords humans a new way to negotiate temporality, as a particular mode of thinking that productively relates the particular to the universal, or as a culturally specific form of cognition.
Cruising with Robert Louis Stevenson: Travel, Narrative, and the Colonial Body is the first book-length study about the influence of travel on Robert Louis Stevenson’s writings, both fiction and nonfiction. Within the contexts of late-Victorian imperialism and ethnographic discourse, the book offers original close readings of individual works by Stevenson while bringing new theoretical insights to bear on the relationship between travel, authorship, and gender identity.
Oliver S. Buckton develops “cruising” as a critical term, linking Stevenson’s leisurely mode of travel with the striking narrative motifs of disruption and fragmentation that characterize his writings. Buckton follows Stevenson’s career from his early travel books to show how Stevenson’s major works of fiction, such as Treasure Island, Kidnapped, and The Ebb-Tide, derive from the innovative techniques and materials Stevenson acquired on his global travels.
Exploring Stevenson’s pivotal role in the revival of “romance” in the late nineteenth century, Cruising with Robert Louis Stevenson highlights Stevenson’s treatment of the human body as part of his resistance to realism, arguing that the energies and desires released by travel are often routed through resistant or comic corporeal figures. Buckton also focuses on Stevenson’s writing about the South Seas, arguing that his groundbreaking critiques of European colonialism are formed in awareness of the fragility and desirability of Polynesian bodies and landscapes.
Cruising with Robert Louis Stevenson will be indispensable to all admirers of Stevenson as well as of great interest to readers of travel writing, Victorian ethnography, gender studies, and literary criticism.
"Dying to Know is the work of a distinguished scholar, at the peak of his powers, who is intimately familiar with his materials, and whose knowledge of Victorian fiction and scientific thought is remarkable. This elegant and evocative look at the move toward objectivity first pioneered by Descartes sheds new light on some old and still perplexing problems in modern science." Bernard Lightman, York University, Canada
In Dying to Know, eminent critic George Levine makes a landmark contribution to the history and theory of scientific knowledge. This long-awaited book explores the paradoxes of our modern ideal of objectivity, in particular its emphasis on the impersonality and disinterestedness of truth. How, asks Levine, did this idea of selfless knowledge come to be established and moralized in the nineteenth century?
Levine shows that for nineteenth-century scientists, novelists, poets, and philosophers, access to the truth depended on conditions of such profound self-abnegation that pursuit of it might be taken as tantamount to the pursuit of death. The Victorians, he argues, were dying to know in the sense that they could imagine achieving pure knowledge only in a condition where the body ceases to make its claims: to achieve enlightenment, virtue, and salvation, one must die.
Dying to Know is ultimately a study of this moral ideal of epistemology. But it is also something much more: a spirited defense of the difficult pursuit of objectivity, the ethical significance of sacrifice, and the importance of finding a shareable form of knowledge.
Echo Chambers provides an illuminating discussion of the representation of “voice” in novels by Dickens, Joyce, Faulkner, Lowry, and Gaddis. Focusing on the paradoxes of “voice” as an indication of how different authors understand the contradictions of “identity,” O'Donnell charts the recent history of subjectivity as reflected in the development of modern fiction. With strong theoretical underpinning—O'Donnell skillfully utilizes the theories formulated by Bakhtin, Derrida, Bersani, De Man, Deleuze, and Guattari, among others, and the semiotics of voice put forth by Julia Kristeva—Echo Chambers shows how identity is inherently contradictory, conflicted, and multiple.
This insightful volume compellingly demonstrates that “voice” is a revealing (because contradictory and heterogeneous) site where language, the body, culture, and subjectivity meet. Echo Chambers makes an important contribution to the study of modern literature, the semiotics of identity, and cultural poetics as they are informed by the projections of voice in modern narrativ
In the past fifty years, according to Christine So, the narratives of many popular Asian American books have been dominated by economic questions-what money can buy, how money is lost, how money is circulated, and what labor or objects are worth. Focusing on books that have achieved mainstream popularity, Economic Citizens unveils the logic of economic exchange that determined Asian Americans’ transnational migrations and national belonging.
With penetrating insight, So examines literary works that have been successful in the U.S. marketplace but have been read previously by critics largely as narratives of alienation or assimilation, including Fifth Chinese Daughter, Flower Drum Song, Falling Leaves and Turning Japanese. In contrast to other studies that have focused on the marginalization of Asian Americans, Economic Citizens examines how Asian Americans have entered into the public sphere.
Never before has a collection of original essays strived to create such constructive, shared discourse between ecocritical, narrative scholars and environmental humanities scholars interested in narrative. Erin James and Eric Morel’s volume Environment and Narrative: New Directions in Econarratology explores the complexity of pairing material environments and their representations with narrative forms of understanding.
To explore the methodological possibilities within “econarratology,” the contributors evaluate the mechanics of how narratives convey environmental understanding via building blocks such as the organization of time and space, characterization, focalization, description, and narration. They also query how readers emotionally and cognitively engage with such representations and how the process of encountering different environments in narratives stands to affect real-world attitudes and behaviors. By positioning narratives as important repositories of values, political and ethical ideas, and behaviors that determine how we engage with our ecological homes, the authors in this volume suggest that to change the way that we interact with the environment requires not only new stories but also a better understanding of the ones that have long been in circulation.
"A sophisticated and persuasive late-modernist political analysis that consistently draws the reader into the narratives of the author and those of the people of violence in Northern Ireland to whom he talked. . . . Simply put, this book is a feast for the intellect"—Thomas M. Wilson, American Anthropologist
"One of the best books to have been written on Northern Ireland. . . . A highly imagination and significant book. Formations of Violence is an important addition to the literature on political violence."—David E. Schmitt, American Political Science Review
The Freedom to Remember examines contemporary literary revisions of slavery in the United States by black women writers. The narratives at the center of this book include: Octavia E. Butler’s Kindred, Sherley Anne Williams’s Dessa Rose, Toni Morrison’s Beloved, J. California Cooper’s Family, and Lorene Cary’s The Price of a Child.
Recent studies have investigated these works only from the standpoint of victimization. Angelyn Mitchell changes the conceptualization of these narratives, focusing on the theme of freedom, not slavery, defining these works as “liberatory narratives.” These works create a space to problematize the slavery/freedom dichotomy from which contemporary black women writers have the “safe” vantage point to reveal aspects of enslavement that their ancestors could not examine. The nineteenth-century female emancipatory narrative, by contrast, was written to aid the cause of abolition by revealing the unspeakable realitiesof slavery. Mitchell shows how the liberatory narrative functions to emancipate its readers from the legacies of slavery in American society: by facilitating a deeper discussion of the issues and by making them new through illumination and interrogation.
Ethnography centers on the culture of everyday life. So it is ironic that most scholars who do research on the intimate experiences of ordinary people write their books in a style that those people cannot understand. In recent years, the ethnographic method has spread from its original home in cultural anthropology to fields such as sociology, marketing, media studies, law, criminology, education, cultural studies, history, geography, and political science. Yet, while more and more students and practitioners are learning how to write ethnographies, there is little or no training on how to write ethnographies well.
From Notes to Narrative picks up where methodological training leaves off. Kristen Ghodsee, an award-winning ethnographer, addresses common issues that arise in ethnographic writing. Ghodsee works through sentence-level details, such as word choice and structure. She also tackles bigger-picture elements, such as how to incorporate theory and ethnographic details, how to effectively deploy dialogue, and how to avoid distracting elements such as long block quotations and in-text citations. She includes excerpts and examples from model ethnographies. The book concludes with a bibliography of other useful writing guides and nearly one hundred examples of eminently readable ethnographic books.
From Plot to Narrative
Ellis, Elizabeth Parkhurst Brothers, Inc., 2012 Library of Congress PN212E55 2012 | Dewey Decimal 808.036
Each of the twelve chapters represents a rung on the ladder of dynamic narrative development. Beginning with the most basic plot outline, Ellis leads readers through exercises and discussions of elements that build a story into a memorable reading or listening experience. The chapters include many topics of interest to all writers, regardless of medium, but some will speak most potently to those writing either fiction or personal narrative. Chapters include Characterization, Point of View, Emotion, Context, Imagery, and Connection [with the reader]. Herself a leading professional storyteller, Ellis also includes a chapter especially for those who plan to craft stories for oral performance.
An international collection of ecumenical, gender-sensitive interpretations
In this volume of the Bible and Women Series, contributors examine how biblical studies intersects with feminist interpretive methods with regard to the Gospels. Authors examine the lives of women in Roman Palestine, named and unnamed women in the Gospels, and the role of gender in the reception of the Hebrew scriptures in the New Testament.
Essays by scholars from scholars from around the world
An introduction and twenty essays focused on women and gender relations
Coverage of power relations and ideologies within the texts and in current interpretations
In Grammars of Approach, Cynthia Wall offers a close look at changes in perspective in spatial design, language, and narrative across the late eighteenth and early nineteenth centuries that involve, literally and psychologically, the concept of “approach.” In architecture, the term “approach” changed in that period from a verb to a noun, coming to denote the drive from the lodge at the entrance of an estate “through the most interesting part of the grounds,” as landscape designer Humphrey Repton put it. The shift from the long straight avenue to the winding approach, Wall shows, swung the perceptual balance away from the great house onto the personal experience of the visitor. At the same time, the grammatical and typographical landscape was shifting in tandem, away from objects and Things (and capitalized common Nouns) to the spaces in between, like punctuation and the “lesser parts of speech”. The implications for narrative included new patterns of syntactical architecture and the phenomenon of free indirect discourse. Wall examines the work of landscape theorists such as Repton, John Claudius Loudon, and Thomas Whately alongside travel narratives, topographical views, printers’ manuals, dictionaries, encyclopedias, grammars, and the novels of Defoe, Richardson, Burney, Radcliffe, and Austen to reveal a new landscaping across disciplines—new grammars of approach in ways of perceiving and representing the world in both word and image.
Ask a scientist about Hollywood, and you’ll probably get eye rolls. But ask someone in Hollywood about science, and they’ll see dollar signs: moviemakers know that science can be the source of great stories, with all the drama and action that blockbusters require.
That’s a huge mistake, says Randy Olson: Hollywood has a lot to teach scientists about how to tell a story—and, ultimately, how to do science better. With Houston, We Have a Narrative, he lays out a stunningly simple method for turning the dull into the dramatic. Drawing on his unique background, which saw him leave his job as a working scientist to launch a career as a filmmaker, Olson first diagnoses the problem: When scientists tell us about their work, they pile one moment and one detail atop another moment and another detail—a stultifying procession of “and, and, and.” What we need instead is an understanding of the basic elements of story, the narrative structures that our brains are all but hardwired to look for—which Olson boils down, brilliantly, to “And, But, Therefore,” or ABT. At a stroke, the ABT approach introduces momentum (“And”), conflict (“But”), and resolution (“Therefore”)—the fundamental building blocks of story. As Olson has shown by leading countless workshops worldwide, when scientists’ eyes are opened to ABT, the effect is staggering: suddenly, they’re not just talking about their work—they’re telling stories about it. And audiences are captivated.
Written with an uncommon verve and enthusiasm, and built on principles that are applicable to fields far beyond science, Houston, We Have a Narrative has the power to transform the way science is understood and appreciated, and ultimately how it’s done.
"Both from the Right and from the Left, we are stymied in talking well with one another about race and racism, by intransigent beliefs in our own goodness as well as by our conviction that such talk is useless. . . . White antiracist epistemology needs to begin not with our beliefs, but with our individual and collective awakening to that which we do not know."
Drawing on scholarship across disciplines ranging from writing and rhetoric studies to critical race theory to philosophy, I Hope I Join the Band examines the limits and the possibilities for performative engagement in antiracist activism. Focusing particularly on the challenges posed by raced-white identity to performativity, and moving between narrative and theoretical engagement, thebook names and argues for critical shifts in the understandings and rhetorical practices that attend antiracist activism.
In this witty, accessible, and revealing book, Deirdre McCloskey demystifies economic theory and practice to show that behind the economists claim to certainty is the ancient art of storytelling. If You're So Smart will engage, enlighten, and empower anyone trying to evaluate the experts who stand ready to engineer our lives.
"Writing with delicious wit and great seriousness."—Publishers Weekly. "
"McCloskey is more interesting on an uninspired day than most of her peers can manage at their very best."—Peter Passell, NewYork Times
Illness as Narrative
Ann Jurecic University of Pittsburgh Press, 2012 Library of Congress PS228.D57J87 2012 | Dewey Decimal 810.93561
For most of literary history, personal confessions about illness were considered too intimate to share publicly. By the mid-twentieth century, however, a series of events set the stage for the emergence of the illness narrative. The increase of chronic disease, the transformation of medicine into big business, the women’s health movement, the AIDS/HIV pandemic, the advent of inexpensive paperbacks, and the rise of self-publishing all contributed to the proliferation of narratives about encounters with medicine and mortality.
While the illness narrative is now a staple of the publishing industry, the genre itself has posed a problem for literary studies. What is the role of criticism in relation to personal accounts of suffering? Can these narratives be judged on aesthetic grounds? Are they a collective expression of the lost intimacy of the patient-doctor relationship? Is their function thus instrumental—to elicit the reader’s empathy?
To answer these questions, Ann Jurecic turns to major works on pain and suffering by Susan Sontag, Elaine Scarry, and Eve Sedgwick and reads these alongside illness narratives by Jean-Dominique Bauby, Reynolds Price, and Anne Fadiman, among others. In the process, she defines the subgenres of risk and pain narratives and explores a range of critical responses guided, alternately, by narrative empathy, the hermeneutics of suspicion, and the practice of reparative reading. Illness as Narrative seeks to draw wider attention to this form of life writing and to argue for new approaches to both literary criticism and teaching narrative. Jurecic calls for a practice that’s both compassionate and critical. She asks that we consider why writers compose stories of illness, how readers receive them, and how both use these narratives to make meaning of human fragility and mortality.
Although Isak Dinesen has been widely acclaimed as a popular writer, her work has received little sustained critical attention. In this revisionist study, Susan Hardy Aiken takes up the complex relations of gender, sexuality, and representation in Dinesen's narratives. Drawing on feminist, psychoanalytic, and post-structuralist theories, Aiken shows how the form and meaning of Dinesen's texts are affected by her doubled situations as a Dane who wrote in English, a European who lived for many years in Africa, and a woman who wrote under a male pseudonym within a male-centered literary tradition.
In a series of readings that range across Dinesen's career, Aiken demonstrates that Dinesen persistently asserted the inseparability of gender and the engendering of narrative. She argues that Dinesen's texts anticipate in remarkable ways some of the most radical insights of contemporary literary theories, particularly those of French feminist criticism. Aiken also offers a major rereading of Out of Africa that both addresses its distinctiveness as a colonialist text and places it within Dinesen's larger oeuvre.
In Aiken's account, Dinesen's work emerges as a compelling inquiry into sexual difference and the ways it informs culture, subjectivity, and the language that is their medium. This important book will at last give Isak Dinesen's work the prominence it deserves in literary studies.
In the first major critical reading of Italian American narrative literature in two decades, Fred L. Gardaphé presents an interpretive overview of Italian American literary history. Examining works from the turn of the twentieth century to the present, he develops a new perspective—variously historical, philosophical, and cultural—by which American writers of Italian descent can be read, increasing the discursive power of an ethnic literature that has received too little serious critical attention. Gardaphé draws on Vico’s concept of history, as well as the work of Gramsci, to establish a culture-specific approach to reading Italian American literature. He begins his historical reading with narratives informed by oral traditions, primarily autobiography and autobiographical fiction written by immigrants. From these earliest social–realist narratives, Gardaphé traces the evolution of this literature through tales of “the godfather” and the mafia; the “reinvention of ethnicity” in works by Helen Barolini, Tina DeRosa, and Carole Maso; the move beyond ethnicity in fiction by Don DeLillo and Gilbert Sorrentino; to the short fiction of Mary Caponegro, which points to a new direction in Italian American writing. The result is both an ethnography of Italian American narrative and a model for reading the signs that mark the “self-fashioning” inherent in literary and cultural production. Italian Signs, American Streets promises to become a landmark in the understanding of literature and culture produced by Italian Americans. It will be of interest not only to students, critics, and scholars of this ethnic experience, but also to those concerned with American literature in general and the place of immigrant and ethnic literatures within that wide framework.
In the first book to critically examine each of the fourteen feature films Sam Peckinpah directed during his career, Michael Bliss stresses the persistent moral and structural elements that permeate Peckinpah’s work.
By examining the films in great detail, Bliss makes clear the moral framework of temptation and redemption with which Peckinpah was concerned while revealing the director’s attention to narrative. Bliss shows that each of Peckinpah’s protagonists is involved with attempting, in the words of Ridethe High Country’s Steve Judd, "to enter my house justified."
The validity of this systematic method is clearly demonstrated in the chapter devoted to The Wild Bunch. Byenumerating the doublings and triplings of action and dialogue found in the film, Bliss underscores its symbolic and structural complexity. Beginning the chapters treating Junior Bonner and The Getaway with analyses of their important title sequences, Bliss shows how these frequently disregarded pieces present in miniature the major moral and narrative concerns of the films. In his chapter on The Osterman Weekend, Bliss makes apparent Peckinpahs awareness of and concern with the self-reflexive nature of filmmaking itself.
Bliss shows that like John Ford, Peckinpah moved from optimism to pessimism. The films of the director’s early period, from The Deadly Companions to Cable Hogue, support the romantic ideals of adventure and camaraderie and affirm a potential for goodness in America. In his second group of films, which begins with Straw Dogs and ends with Bring Me the Head of Alfredo Garcia, both heroes and hope have vanished. It is only in The Osterman Weekend that Peckinpah appears finally to have renewed his capacity for hope, allowing his career to close in a positive way.
The Homeric poems were not intended for readers, but for a listening audience. Traditional in their basic elements, the stories were learned by oral poets from earlier poets and recreated at every performance. Individual nuances, tailored to the audience, could creep into the stories of the Greek heroes on each and every occasion when a bard recited the epics.
For a particular audience at a particular moment, "tradition" is what it believes it has inherited from the past--and it may not be particularly old. The boundaries between the traditional and the innovative may become blurry and indistinct. By rethinking tradition, we can see Homer's methods and concerns in a new light. The Homeric poet is not naive. He must convince his audience that the story is true. He must therefore seem disinterested, unconcerned with promoting anyone's interests. The poet speaks as if everything he says is merely the repetition of old tales. Yet he carefully ensures that even someone who knows only a minimal amount about the ancient heroes can follow and enjoy the performance, while someone who knows many stories will not remember inappropriate ones. Pretending that every detail is already familiar, the poet heightens suspense and implies that ordinary people are the real judges of great heroes.
Listening to Homer transcends present controversies about Homeric tradition and invention by rethinking how tradition functions. Focusing on reception rather than on composition, Ruth Scodel argues that an audience would only rarely succeed in identifying narrative innovation. Homeric narrative relies on a traditionalizing, inclusive rhetoric that denies the innovation of the oral performance while providing enough information to make the epics intelligible to audiences for whom much of the material is new.
Listening to Homer will be of interest to general classicists, as well as to those specializing in Greek epic and narrative performance. Its wide breadth and scope will also appeal to those non-classicists interested in the nature of oral performance.
Ruth Scodel is Professor of Greek and Latin, University of Michigan, and former president of the American Philological Association.
"Ruth Scodel's Listening to Homer proves it is still possible to explore the workings of epic without recourse to a battery of jargon or technicalities. This is not a 'one big idea' book but a rich . . . set of reflections; it makes refreshing reading . . . ."
---Greece & Rome
"This is an important book, putting the receiving rather than the sending side of the performance of the Homeric epics center stage. The many observations on narrative technique are often new and worthwhile."
---Irene J.F. de Jong, Gnomon
In recent years, articles in major periodicals from the New York Times Magazine to the Times Literary Supplement have heralded the arrival of a new school of literary studies that promises-or threatens-to profoundly shift the current paradigm. This revolutionary approach, known as Darwinian literary studies, is based on a few simple premises: evolution has produced a universal landscape of the human mind that can be scientifically mapped; these universal tendencies are reflected in the composition, reception, and interpretation of literary works; and an understanding of the evolutionary foundations of human behavior, psychology, and culture will enable literary scholars to gain powerful new perspectives on the elements, form, and nature of storytelling.
The goal of this book is to overcome some of the widespread misunderstandings about the meaning of a Darwinian approach to the human mind generally, and literature specifically. The volume brings together scholars from the forefront of the new field of evolutionary literary analysis-both literary analysts who have made evolution their explanatory framework and evolutionist scientists who have taken a serious interest in literature-to show how the human propensity for literature and art can be properly framed as a true evolutionary problem. Their work is an important step toward the long-prophesied synthesis of the humanities and what Steven Pinker calls "the new sciences of human nature."
Memory and Narrative presents an elegant, authoritative account of how life-writing has changed over time to arrive at its present form. James Olney, one of the most distinguished scholars of autobiography, tells the story of an evolving literary form that originated in the autobiographical writings of St. Augustine, underwent profound changes in Jean-Jacques Rousseau's life-writing trilogy, and found a momentary conclusion in the work of Samuel Beckett.
"This is an elegant work of scholarship." —Jason Berry, Chicago Tribune
"Examines how the fascinating, reciprocal relationship between memory and narrative has evolved over the course of 17 centuries. . . . Olney's work is a valuable companion to his subjects' primary texts." —Booklist
Monstrous Kinds is the first book to explore textual representations of disability in the global Renaissance. Elizabeth B. Bearden contends that monstrosity, as a precursor to modern concepts of disability, has much to teach about our tendency to inscribe disability with meaning. Understanding how early modern writers approached disability not only provides more accurate genealogies of disability, but also helps nuance current aesthetic and theoretical disability formulations.
The book analyzes the cultural valences of early modern disability across a broad national and chronological span, attending to the specific bodily, spatial, and aesthetic systems that contributed to early modern literary representations of disability. The cross section of texts (including conduct books and treatises, travel writing and wonder books) is comparative, putting canonical European authors such as Castiglione into dialogue with transatlantic and Anglo-Ottoman literary exchange. Bearden questions grand narratives that convey a progression of disability from supernatural marvel to medical specimen, suggesting that, instead, these categories coexist and intersect.
This book brings back into print, for the first time since the 1830s, a text that was central to the transatlantic campaign to fully abolish slavery in Britain’s colonies. James Williams, an eighteen-year-old Jamaican “apprentice” (former slave), came to Britain in 1837 at the instigation of the abolitionist Joseph Sturge. The Narrative he produced there, one of very few autobiographical texts by Caribbean slaves or former slaves, became one of the most powerful abolitionist tools for effecting the immediate end to the system of apprenticeship that had replaced slavery. Describing the hard working conditions on plantations and the harsh treatment of apprentices unjustly incarcerated, Williams argues that apprenticeship actually worsened the conditions of Jamaican ex-slaves: former owners, no longer legally permitted to directly punish their workers, used the Jamaican legal system as a punitive lever against them. Williams’s story documents the collaboration of local magistrates in this practice, wherein apprentices were routinely jailed and beaten for both real and imaginary infractions of the apprenticeship regulations. In addition to the complete text of Williams’s original Narrative, this fully annotated edition includes nineteenth-century responses to the controversy from the British and Jamaican press, as well as extensive testimony from the Commission of Enquiry that heard evidence regarding the Narrative’s claims. These fascinating and revealing documents constitute the largest extant body of direct testimony by Caribbean slaves or apprentices.
Published in 1855, a rare autobiography of a woman who was persecuted for living in a traditional masculine role
Lucy Ann Lobdell (1829–1912) was an ordinary woman whose extraordinary life was shaped by personal strife and the hardship of life in early nineteenth-century upstate New York. Struggling with an abusive husband, a young child, ailing parents, and financial strain, Lucy did what was necessary to support her family. In a rural world defined by farming and lumbering, she dressed, labored, and lived in a traditional masculine role. Her prowess as a rifle shot and fiddle player were known locally, but because of her unconventional, androgynous lifestyle, she became a target of public gossip and ridicule. Educated and eloquent, Lucy penned and published, Lucy Ann Lobdell, the Female Hunter of Delaware and Sullivan Counties, N.Y., in 1855. The narrative provides a unique look at the persecution of a woman whose only “offense” was disregard for contemporary societal norms. After her husband was killed during the Civil War, she received a widow’s pension. Ostracized and eventually hospitalized in 1880, she underwent torturous treatment until she confessed to a doctor that she was “a man in all that the name implies,” a self-serving report the doctor used to promote his career.
Whether Lucy was a lesbian, cross dresser, or transgender, we don’t know from the historical record, but as Lisa Macchia Ohliger demonstrates in The Narrative of Lucy Ann Lobdell: A Woman’s Case for Equality, Lucy embodied the nascent women’s rights movement. At the same time, and not far from where Lucy lived and went to school, Amelia Bloomer was advocating the right for women to wear pants and was publishing the feminist newspaper, The Lily, while Susan B. Anthony was pushing for land rights and equal pay for women. All of these issues are found in Lucy’s account. Lucy’s life is an illustration of the historical significance and destructive power of gender in society, and her narrative bears painful witness to the clash between taboo and survival.
This is a critical edition, based on the Agnes Beaumont manuscripts in the British Library: Beaumont's homely account of the persecutions she endured from her father and suitor because of riding horseback behind the great preacher to a meeting is here presented in its original form. She rejects the traditional doctrine of women's subordination.
Narrative, Race, and Ethnicity in the United States, edited by James J. Donahue, Jennifer Ho, and Shaun Morgan, is the first book-length volume of essays devoted to studying the intersection of race/ethnicity and narrative theories. Each chapter offers a sustained engagement with narrative theory and critical race theory as applied to ethnic American literature, exploring the interpretive possibilities of this critical intersection. Taken as a whole, these chapters demonstrate some of the many ways that the formal study of narrative can help us better understand the racial/ethnic tensions of narrative fictions. Similarly, the essays advance the tools of narrative theory by redeploying or redesigning those tools to better account for and articulate the ways that race and ethnicity are formal components of narrative as well as thematic issues.
Recognizing that racial/ethnic issues and tensions are often contextualized geographically, this volume focuses on narratives associated with various racial and ethnic communities in the United States. By engaging with new developments in narrative theory and critical race studies, this volume demonstrates the vitality of using the tools of narratology and critical race theory together to understand how race influences narrative and how narratology illuminates a reading of race in ethnic American literature.
"Bob Cover was and remains the dominant voice of his generation among legal scholars. These essays, each one magnificent in itself, are, when taken together, even more important. The wisdom they impart is forever." --Guido Calabresi, Dean and Sterling Professor of Law, Yale University
"Robert Cover drew his sources for the authority of law--for its violence, but also for its paideic potential--from the structuring stories that spark our communal imaginations. Literally until the day of his untimely death, his irreplaceably restless spirit was binding itself with the pages of the Midrash, of The Brothers Karamazov, of Billy Budd, Sailor. It is for us now to work also with these--Bob Cover's stories."--Richard Weisberg, Benjamin N. Cardozo Law School, Yeshiva University
"The writings of Robert Cover were usually provocative, sometimes exasperating, but always relevant. In his last years, he concentrated on Jewish sources as well as mystical and Messianic thought. This collection of his articles is a thesaurus of some of his finest writings."--Robert F. Drinan, S.J., Georgetown University Law Center
The late Robert Cover was Professor of Law, Yale Law School. Martha Minow is Professor of Law, Harvard Law School. Michael Ryan is Professor of English, Northeastern University. Austin Sarat is William Nelson Cromwell Professor of Jurisprudence and Political Science and Chair of the Program in Law, Jurisprudence, and Social Thought, Amherst College.
In National Past-Times, Ann Anagnost explores the fashioning and refashioning of modern Chinese subjectivity as it relates to the literal and figurative body of the nation. In essays revealing the particular temporality of the modern Chinese nation-state, Anagnost examines the disparate eras of its recent past and its propensity for continually looking backward in order to face the future. Using interviews and participant observation as well as close readings of official documents, propaganda materials, and popular media, Anagnost notes the discontinuities in the nation’s narrative—moments where this narrative has been radically reorganized at critical junctures in China’s modern history. Covering a broad range of issues relating to representation and power—issues that have presented themselves with particular clarity in the years since the violent crackdown on the student movement of 1989—National Past-Times critiques the ambiguous possibilities produced by the market, as well as new opportunities for "unfreedom" in the discipline of labor and the commodification of women. Anagnost begins with a retrospective reflection on the practice of "speaking bitterness" in socialist revolutionary practice. Subsequent essays discuss the culture debates of the 1980s, the discourse of social disorder, the issue of population control, the film The Story of Qiu Ju, and anomalies at the theme park "Splendid China."
Melville's second book, Omoo, begins where his first book, Typee, left off. As the author said, "It embraces adventures in the South Seas (of a totally different character from 'Typee') and includes an eventful cruise in an English Colonial Whaleman (a Sydney Ship) and a comical residence on the island of Tahiti." The popular success of his first novel encouraged Melville to write a sequel, hoping it would be "a fitting successor." Typee describes Polynesian life in its "primitive" state, while Omoo represents it as affected by non-native influences.
Whitman praised its "good-natured style." But many reviewers doubted Melville's veracity, and some objected to his "raciness" and "indecencies." Some also denounced his criticism of missionary endeavors, for his attacks on missionaries were more polemical than those undertaken in the earlier book. Omoo, however, influenced later visitors to Tahiti such as Pierre Loti, Henry Adams, John La Farge, and Jack London; it was the book that sent Robert Louis Stevenson to the South Seas.
Melville's second book, Omoo, begins where his first book, Typee, left off. As the author said, "It embraces adventures in the South Seas (of a totally different character from 'Typee') and includes an eventful cruise in an English Colonial Whaleman (a Sydney Ship) and a comical residence on the island of Tahiti." The popular success of his first novel encouraged Melville to write a sequel, hoping it would be "a fitting successor." Typee describes Polynesian life in its "primitive" state, while Omoo represents it as affected by non-native influences.
This scholarly edition aims to present a text as close to the author's intention as surviving evidence permits. Based on collations of all editions publishing during Melville's lifetime, it incorporates author corrections and many emendations made by the present editors. This edition of Omoo is an Approved Text of the Center for Editions of American Authors (Modern Language Association of America).
Passionate Fictions was first published in 1994. 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.
"Clarice Lispector is the premiere Latin American woman prose writer of this century," Suzanne Ruta noted in the New York Times Book Review, "but because she is a woman and a Brazilian, she has remained virtually unknown in the United States." Passionate Fictions provides American readers with a critical introduction to this remarkable writer and offers those who already know Lispector's fiction a deeper understanding of its complex workings.
Looking at more than two hundred Italian medieval and Renaissance mural cycles, Lavin examines—with the aid of computer technology—the "rearranged" chronologies of familiar religious stories found therein.
"Like many masterpieces, Lavin's book builds upon a simple idea . . . it is possible to do a computer analysis of . . . visual narratives. . . . This is the first computer-based study of the visual arts of which I am aware that illustrates how those technologies can utterly transform the study of old master art. An extremely important book, one likely to become the most influential recent study of art of this period, The Place of Narrative is also a beautiful artifact."—David Carrier, Leonardo
"Covering over a millennium and dealing with the whole of Italy, Lavin makes pioneering use of new methodology employing a computer database . . . [and] novel terminology to describe the disposition of scenes of church and chapel walls. . . . We should recognize this as a book of high seriousness which reaches out into new areas and which will fruitfully stimulate much thought on a neglected subject of very considerable significance."—Julian Gardner, Burlington Magazine
Fact and fiction meet at the boundaries, the betwixt and between where transformations occur. This is the area of ambiguity where fiction and fact become endowed with meaning, and this is the area—where ambiguity, irony, and metaphor join forces—that Harold Scheub exposes in all its nuanced and evocative complexity in The Poem in the Story.
In a career devoted to exploring the art of the African storyteller, Scheub has conducted some of the most interesting and provocative investigations into nonverbal aspects of storytelling, the complex relationship between artist and audience, and, most dramatically, the role played by poetry in storytelling. This book is his most daring effort yet, an unconventional work that searches out what makes a story artistically engaging and emotionally evocative, the metaphorical center that Scheub calls "the poem in the story." Drawing on extensive fieldwork in southern Africa and decades of experience as a researcher and teacher, Scheub develops an original approach—a blend of field notes, diary entries, photographs, and texts of stories and poems—that guides readers into a new way of viewing, even experiencing, meaning in a story. Though this work is largely focused on African storytelling, its universal applications emerge when Scheub brings the work of storytellers as different as Shakespeare and Faulkner into the discussion.
Liberal individualism, a foundational concept of American politics, assumes an essentially homogeneous population of independent citizens. When confronted with physical disability and the contradiction of seemingly unruly bodies, however, the public searches for a story that can make sense of the difference. The narrative that ensues makes "abnormality" an important part of the dialogue about what a genuine citizen is, though its role is concealed as an exception to the rule of individuality rather than a defining difference. Reading Embodied Citizenship brings disability to the forefront, illuminating its role in constituting what counts as U.S. citizenship.
Drawing from major figures in American literature, including Mark Twain, Flannery O'Connor, Carson McCullers, and David Foster Wallace, as well as introducing texts from the emerging canon of disability studies, Emily Russell demonstrates the place of disability at the core of American ideals. The narratives prompted by the encounter between physical difference and the body politic require a new understanding of embodiment as a necessary conjunction of physical, textual, and social bodies. Russell examines literature to explore and unsettle long-held assumptions about American citizenship.
The influential and widely respected narrative theorist, H. Porter Abbott, breaks new ground in Real Mysteries:Narrative and the Unknowable. In it, he revisits the ancient theme of what we cannot know about ourselves and others. But in a sharp departure, he shifts the focus from the representation of this theme to the ways narrative can be manipulated to immerse “the willing reader” in the actual experience of unknowing.
As he shows, this difficult and risky art, which was practiced so inventively by Samuel Beckett, was also practiced by other modern writers. Abbott demonstrates their surprising diversity in texts by Beckett, Gabriel García Márquez, Herman Melville, Toni Morrison, Alice Munro, J. M. Coetzee, Tim O’Brien, Kathryn Harrison, and Jeanette Winterson, together with supporting roles by J. G. Ballard, Gertrude Stein, Michael Haneke, and Pseudo-Dionysius the Areopagite.
The demands of this art bear directly on key issues of narrative inquiry, including the nature and limits of reader-resistant texts, the function of permanent narrative gaps, the relation between experiencing a text and its interpretation, the fraught issue of aligning grammatical and narrative syntax, the mixed blessing of our mind-reading capability, and the ethics of reading. Despite its challenges, this book has also been written with an eye to the general reader. In accessible language, Abbott shows how narrative fiction may create spaces in which our ignorance, when it is by its nature absolute, can be not only acknowledged but felt, and why this is important.
John Muthyala's Reworlding America moves beyond the U.S.-centered approach of traditional American literary criticism. In this groundbreaking book, Muthyala argues for a transgeographical perspective from which to study the literary and cultural histories of the Americas.
By emphasizing transnational migration, border crossing, and colonial modernity, Reworlding America exposes how national, ethnic, linguistic, religious, and cultural boundaries have been continually created and transgressed—with profound consequences for the peoples of the Americas.
Drawing from cultural studies, anthropology, literature, and history, Muthyala examines the literatures of the Americas in terms of their intimate relationship to questions of cultural survival, identity formation, and social power. He goes beyond nationalist, ethnocentric, and religious frameworks used to conceptualize American literary history and examines the connection between modernity and colonialism.
Reworlding America's significance extends into the realm of education, history, ethnography, and literary and cultural studies and contributes to the larger project of refashioning the role of English and American studies in a transborder, postnational global culture.
In The Shape of Inca History, Susan Niles considers the ways in which the Inca concept of history informed their narratives, rituals, and architecture. Using sixteenth-century chronicles of Inca culture, legal documents from the first generation of conquest, and field investigation of architectural remains, she strategically explores the interplay of oral and written histories with the architectural record and provides a new and exciting understanding of the lives of the royal families on the eve of conquest.
Niles focuses on the life of Huayna Capac, the Inca king who ruled at the time of the first European incursions on the Andean coast. Because he died just a few years before the Spaniards overturned the Inca world, eyewitness accounts of his deeds as recorded by the invaders can be used to separate fact from propaganda. The rich documentary sources telling of his life include extraordinarily detailed legal records that inventory lands on his estate in the Yucay Valley. These sources provide a basis—unique in the Andes—for reconstructing the social and physical plan of the estate and for dating its construction exactly.
Huayna Capac's country palace shows a design different from that devised by his ancestors. Niles argues that the radical stylistic and technical innovations documented in the buildings themselves can be understood by referring to the turbulent political atmosphere prevalent at the time of his accession. Illustrated with numerous photographs and reconstruction drawings, The Shape of Inca History breaks new ground by proposing that Inca royal style was dynamic and that the design of an Inca building can best be interpreted by its historical context. In this way it is possible to recreate the development of Inca architectural style over time.
In Somebody Telling Somebody Else, James Phelan proposes a paradigm shift for narrative theory, a turn from viewing narrative as a structure to viewing it as a rhetorical action in which a teller selectively deploys the resources of storytelling in order to accomplish particular purposes in relation to particular audiences. Phelan explores the consequences of this shift for an understanding of various elements of narrative, including reliable and unreliable narration, character-character dialogue, and occasions of narration.
In doing so, he offers new readings of a wide range of narratives from Jane Austen’s Pride and Prejudice to Joan Didion’s The Year of Magical Thinking, from Joseph Conrad’s Lord Jim to George V. Higgins’s The Friends of Eddie Coyle, from Franz Kafka’s “Das Urteil” to Toni Morrison’s “Recitatif,” from David Small’s Stitches to Jhumpa Lahiri’s “Third and Final Continent,” from John O’Hara’s “Appearances” to Ian McEwan’s Enduring Love. Phelan contends that the standard view of narrative as a synthesis of story and discourse is inadequate to handle the complexities of narrative communication, and he demonstrates the greater explanatory power of his rhetorical view. Furthermore, Phelan gives new prominence to the presence and activity of the “somebody else,” as he shows that an audience’s unfolding responses to a narrative often influence its very construction.
Suture and Narrative: Deep Intersubjectivity in Fiction and Film by George Butte offers a new phenomenological understanding of how fiction and film narratives use particular techniques to create and represent the experience of community. Butte turns to the concept of suture from Lacanian film theory and to the work of Merleau-Ponty to contribute a deeper and broader approach to intersubjectivity for the field of narrative theory.
Butte’s approach allows for narratives that represent insight as well as blindness, love, and loss, locating these connections and disconnections in narratological techniques that capture the crisscrossing of perspectives, such as those in fiction’s free indirect discourse and in the oblique angle of film’s shot/reverse shot convention. Butte studies the implications of this chiasmus in the novels and film adaptations of later Henry James works, Barrie’s Peter Pan tales and film adaptations, and the films Silence of the Lambsand Nothing But a Man. Suture’s story in the twentieth century, according to Butte, is a story of the loss of immediacy and community. Yet in concluding this, Butte finds optimism in the Coen brothers’ Raising Arizona as well as in Why Be Happy When You Could Be Normal? by Jeanette Winterson and Marc Webb’s film (500) Days of Summer.
How are our memories, our narratives, and our intelligence interrelated? What can artificial intelligence and narratology say to each other? In this pathbreaking study by an expert on learning and computers, Roger C. Schank argues that artificial intelligence must be based on real human intelligence, which consists largely of applying old situations, and our narratives of them, to new situations in less than obvious ways.
Narratives are fundamental to our lives: we dream, plan, complain, endorse, entertain, teach, learn, and reminisce through telling stories. They provide hopes, enhance or mitigate disappointments, challenge or support moral order and test out theories of the world at both personal and communal levels. It is because of this deep embedding of narrative in everyday life that its study has become a wide research field including disciplines as diverse as linguistics, literary theory, folklore, clinical psychology, cognitive and developmental psychology, anthropology, sociology, and history.
In Telling Stories leading scholars illustrate how narratives build bridges among language, identity, interaction, society, and culture; and they investigate various settings such as therapeutic and medical encounters, educational environments, politics, media, marketing, and public relations. They analyze a variety of topics from the narrative construction of self and identity to the telling of stories in different media and the roles that small and big life stories play in everyday social interactions and institutions. These new reflections on the theory and analysis of narrative offer the latest tools to researchers in the fields of discourse analysis and sociolinguistics.
In Theorizing Myth, Bruce Lincoln traces the way scholars and others have used the category of "myth" to fetishize or deride certain kinds of stories, usually those told by others.
He begins by showing that mythos yielded to logos not as part of a (mythic) "Greek miracle," but as part of struggles over political, linguistic, and epistemological authority occasioned by expanded use of writing and the practice of Athenian democracy. Lincoln then turns his attention to the period when myth was recuperated as a privileged type of narrative, a process he locates in the political and cultural ferment of the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries. Here, he connects renewed enthusiasm for myth to the nexus of Romanticism, nationalism, and Aryan triumphalism, particularly the quest for a language and set of stories on which nation-states could be founded.
In the final section of this wide-ranging book, Lincoln advocates a fresh approach to the study of myth, providing varied case studies to support his view of myth—and scholarship on myth—as ideology in narrative form.
Time and Narrative builds on Paul Ricoeur's earlier analysis, in The Rule of Metaphor, of semantic innovation at the level of the sentence. Ricoeur here examines the creation of meaning at the textual level, with narrative rather than metaphor as the ruling concern.
Ricoeur finds a "healthy circle" between time and narrative: time is humanized to the extent that it portrays temporal experience. Ricoeur proposes a theoretical model of this circle using Augustine's theory of time and Aristotle's theory of plot and, further, develops an original thesis of the mimetic function of narrative. He concludes with a comprehensive survey and critique of modern discussions of historical knowledge, understanding, and writing from Aron and Mandelbaum in the late 1930s to the work of the Annales school and that of Anglophone philosophers of history of the 1960s and 1970s.
"This work, in my view, puts the whole problem of narrative, not to mention philosophy of history, on a new and higher plane of discussion."—Hayden White, History and Theory
"Superb. . . . A fine point of entrance into the work of one of the eminent thinkers of the present intellectual age."—Joseph R. Gusfield, Contemporary Sociology
In volume 1 of this three-volume work, Paul Ricoeur examined the relations between time and narrative in historical writing. Now, in volume 2, he examines these relations in fiction and theories of literature.
Ricoeur treats the question of just how far the Aristotelian concept of "plot" in narrative fiction can be expanded and whether there is a point at which narrative fiction as a literary form not only blurs at the edges but ceases to exist at all. Though some semiotic theorists have proposed all fiction can be reduced to an atemporal structure, Ricoeur argues that fiction depends on the reader's understanding of narrative traditions, which do evolve but necessarily include a temporal dimension. He looks at how time is actually expressed in narrative fiction, particularly through use of tenses, point of view, and voice. He applies this approach to three books that are, in a sense, tales about time: Virgina Woolf's Mrs. Dalloway; Thomas Mann's Magic Mountain; and Marcel Proust's Remembrance of Things Past.
"Ricoeur writes the best kind of philosophy—critical, economical, and clear."—Eugen Weber, New York Times Book Review
"A major work of literary theory and criticism under the aegis of philosophical hermenutics. I believe that . . . it will come to have an impact greater than that of Gadamer's Truth and Method—a work it both supplements and transcends in its contribution to our understanding of the meaning of texts and their relationship to the world."—Robert Detweiler, Religion and Literature
"One cannot fail to be impressed by Ricoeur's encyclopedic knowledge of the subject under consideration. . . . To students of rhetoric, the importance of Time and Narrative . . . is all too evident to require extensive elaboration."—Dilip Parameshwar Gaonkar, Quarterly Journal of Speech
In the first two volumes of this work, Paul Ricoeur examined the relations between time and narrative in historical writing, fiction, and theories of literature. This final volume, a comprehensive reexamination and synthesis of the ideas developed in volumes 1 and 2, stands as Ricoeur's most complete and satisfying presentation of his own philosophy.
Ricoeur's aim here is to explicate as fully as possible the hypothesis that has governed his inquiry, namely, that the effort of thinking at work in every narrative configuration is completed in a refiguration of temporal experience. To this end, he sets himself the central task of determing how far a poetics of narrative can be said to resolve the "aporias"—the doubtful or problematic elements—of time. Chief among these aporias are the conflicts between the phenomenological sense of time (that experienced or lived by the individual) and the cosmological sense (that described by history and physics) on the one hand and the oneness or unitary nature of time on the other. In conclusion, Ricoeur reflects upon the inscrutability of time itself and attempts to discern the limits of his own examination of narrative discourse.
"As in his previous works, Ricoeur labors as an imcomparable mediator of often estranged philosophical approaches, always in a manner that compromises neither rigor nor creativity."—Mark Kline Taylor, Christian Century
"In the midst of two opposing contemporary options—either to flee into ever more precious readings . . . or to retreat into ever more safe readings . . . —Ricoeur's work offers an alternative option that is critical, wide-ranging, and conducive to new applications."—Mary Gerhart, Journal of Religion
Presenting an innovative new reading of Sophocles' plays, Tragic Rites analyzes the poetic and narrative function of ritual in the seven extant plays of Sophocles. Adriana Brook closely examines four of them—Ajax, Electra, Philoctetes, and Oedipus at Colonus—in the context of her wide-ranging consideration of the entire Sophoclean corpus. Exploring the playwright's dramatic technique, she shows how he used elements of ritual to guide the perceptions and expectations of his fifth-century audience about plot and character.
Employing both modern ritual theory and Aristotle's Poetics, Brook exposes the deep structural analogies between ritual and narrative, the parallels between mistakes in ritual and deviations from the expected in the plot, and the relationship between ritual content and dramatic closure.
From the rise of Nazism to the conflict in Kashmir in 2008, nationalism has been one of the most potent forces in modern history. Yet the motivational power of nationalism is still not well understood. In Understanding Nationalism:On Narrative, Cognitive Science, and Identity, Patrick Colm Hogan begins with empirical research on the cognitive psychology of group relations to isolate varieties of identification, arguing that other treatments of nationalism confuse distinct types of identity formation. Synthesizing different strands of this research, Hogan articulates a motivational groundwork for nationalist thought and action.
Understanding Nationalism goes on to elaborate a cognitive poetics of national imagination, most importantly, narrative structure. Hogan focuses particularly on three complex narrative prototypes that are prominent in human thought and action cross-culturally and trans-historically. He argues that our ideas and feelings about what nations are and what they should be are fundamentally organized and oriented by these prototypes. He develops this hypothesis through detailed analyses of national writings from Whitman to George W. Bush, from Hitler to Gandhi.
Hogan’s book alters and expands our comprehension of nationalism generally—its cognitive structures, its emotional operations. It deepens our understanding of the particular, important works he analyzes. Finally, it extends our conception of the cognitive scope and political consequence of narrative.
“In the spring of 1995, the condition I seem to have been waiting for all my life finally struck me.” So begins Jane Lazarre’s account of her transforming battle with breast cancer. Following in the tradition of her critically acclaimed literary memoirs The Mother Knot and Beyond the Whiteness of Whiteness: Memoir of a White Mother of Black Sons, Lazarre brilliantly interweaves her experience of life-threatening illness with other stories of recent and past losses—most notably, that of her mother to breast cancer when Jane was a small child. From these memories and experiences, Lazarre crafts a story that is at once intensely intimate and universally healing.
As she contends with the pain and many indignities of her treatment for cancer, Lazarre realizes that successful medical treatment will only be part of her healing process. Her own illness becomes the vehicle for coming to terms with key moments of loss and grief—the death of a beloved therapist from breast cancer, her brother-in-law’s death from AIDS, a traumatic disappointment in her work life, and the unresolved pain of being a motherless child. The gift of Lazarre’s writing is her ability to transform her narratives of grief and loss into a story whose power to heal lies in its ability to penetrate the unconscious and give voice to the elusive truths hidden there. Through her writing, Lazarre is able to embrace grief—even her own inarticulate grief as a child—and find her way through the story to a restored sense of wholeness.
In Wet Earth and Dreams Jane Lazarre once again proves herself to be both companion and guide through some of the most difficult challenges life has to offer. As always, she draws strength not only from sustaining friendship and love, but also from her own faith in the power of storytelling to make bearable the seemingly unbearable. Lazarre’s bravely and beautifully written account of grief, illness, and death is at the last a celebration of the redemptive possibilities of the creative spirit.
The poetry of the Late Roman Republican poet Gaius Valerius Catullus, a rich document of the human heart, is the earliest-known reasonably complete body of erotic verse in the West.
Though approximately 116 poems survive, uncertainties about the condition of the fragmented manuscript and the narrative order of the poems make the Catullan text unusually problematic for the modern critic. Indeed, the poems can be arranged in a number of ways, making a multitude of different plots possible and frustrating the reader’s desire for narrative closure.
Micaela Janan contends that since unsatisfied desire structures both the experience of reading Catullus and its subject matter, critical interpretation of the text demands a "poetics of desire." Furthermore, postmodern critical theory, narratology, and psychoanalysis suggest a flexible concept of the "subject" as a site through which a multitude of social, cultural, and unconscious forces move. Human consciousness, Janan contends, is inherently incomplete and in a continuous process of transformation. She therefore proposes an original and provocative feminist reading of Catullus, a reading informed by theories of consciousness and desire as ancient as Plato and as contemporary as Freud and Lacan.
The Late Roman Republic in which Catullus lived, Janan reminds us, was a time of profound social upheaval when political and cultural institutions that had persisted for centuries were rapidly breaking down—a time not unlike our own. Catullus’ poetry provides an unusually honest look at his culture and its contradictory representations of class, gender, and power. By bringing to the study of this major work of classical literature the themes of consciousness and desire dealt with in postmodern scholarship, Janan’s book invites a new conversation among literary disciplines.
African Americans have experienced life under the rule of law in quite different contexts from those of whites, and they have written about those differences in poems, songs, stories, autobiographies, novels, and memoirs. This book examines the tradition of American law as it appears in African American literary life, from pre-Revolutionary murder trials to gangsta rap. The experience, and the critique it produces, changes our pictures of both American law and African American literature.
This study reads the already canonical works of nineteenth- and twentieth-century black literature in the context of their responses to and critiques of American legal history. At the same time, it examines little known texts of African American life, from the urban humor of James D. Corrothers, through the early political essays of Chester Himes, to the adventures of black comic book heroes like Steel, Wise Son, and Xero. These are contextualized within specific legislation and case law, from the slave laws of early Virginia to the Civil Rights Act of 1964, from the case of Phillis and Mark in 1755 to the Simpson trials of the mid 1990s.
Finally, the legal texts presented are themselves critiqued by the fictions and legal analyses of the African Americans who lived out their implications in their daily lives. Through a positing of the legal and cultural concepts of privacy, property, identity, desire and citizenship, and the romantic ideals of authenticity, irony, and innocence, Suggs is able to show how our understanding of American law should be influenced by African American conceptions of it as depicted through literature.
This book will appeal to students and scholars of literary and cultural studies, law and literature, American history, as well as to scholars of African American literature and culture.
Jon-Christian Suggs is Professor of English, John Jay College, City University of New York.