front cover of Hard Places
Hard Places
Reading the Landscape of America's Historic Mining Districts
Richard V. Francaviglia
University of Iowa Press, 1997

Working with the premise that there are much meaning and value in the "repelling beauty" of mining landscapes, Richard Francaviglia identifies the visual clues that indicate an area has been mined and tells us how to read them, showing the interconnections among all of America's major mining districts. With a style as bold as the landscape he reads and with photographs to match, he interprets the major forces that have shaped the architecture, design, and topography of mining areas. Covering many different types of mining and mining locations, he concludes that mining landscapes have come to symbolize the turmoil between what our society elects to view as two opposing forces: culture and nature.


front cover of Hegel's Energy
Hegel's Energy
A Reading of The Phenomenology of Spirit
Michael Marder
Northwestern University Press, 2021
Hegel’s The Phenomenology of Spirit has been one of the most important works of philosophy since the nineteenth century, while the question of energy has been crucial to life in the twenty-first century. In this book, Michael Marder integrates the two, narrating a story about the trials and tribulations of energy embedded in Hegel’s dialectics. Through an original interpretation of actuality (Wirklichkeit) as energy in the Hegelian corpus, the book provides an exciting lens for understanding the dialectical project and the energy‑starved condition of our contemporaneity. To elaborate this theory, Marder undertakes a meticulous rereading of major parts of the Phenomenology, where the energy deficit of mere consciousness gives way to the energy surplus of self‑consciousness and its self‑delimitation in the domain of reason. In so doing, he denounces the current understanding of energy as pure potentiality, linking this mindset to pollution, profit-driven economies, and environmental crises. Surprising and deeply engaged with its contemporary implications, this book doesn’t simply illuminate aspects of The Phenomenology of Spirit—it provides an entirely new understanding of Hegel’s ideas.

front cover of History of Reading
History of Reading
Steven Roger Fischer
Reaktion Books, 2003
Steven Roger Fischer’s fascinating book traces the complete story of reading from the time when symbol first became sign through to the electronic texts of the present day. Describing ancient forms of reading and the various modes that were necessary to read different writing systems and scripts, Fischer turns to Asia and the Americas and discusses the forms and developments of completely divergent dimensions of reading.

With the Middle Ages in Europe and the Middle East, innovative re-inventions of reading emerged – silent and liturgical reading; the custom of lectors; reading’s focus in general education – whereupon printing transformed society’s entire attitude to reading. Fischer charts the explosion of the book trade in this era, its increased audience and radically changed subject-matter; describes the emergence of broadsheets, newspapers and public readings; and traces the effect of new font designs on general legibility.

Fischer discusses society’s dedication to public literacy in the sweeping educational reforms of the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries, and notes the appearance of free libraries, gender differences in reading matter, public advertising and the "forbidden" lists of Church, State and the unemancipated. Finally, he assesses the future, in which it is likely that read communication will soon exceed oral communication through the use of the personal computer and the internet, and looks at "visual language" and modern theories of how reading is processed in the human brain. Asking how the New Reader can reshape reading’s future, he suggests a radical new definition of what reading could be.

front cover of A History of Reading in the West
A History of Reading in the West
Guglielmo Cavallo
University of Massachusetts Press, 2003
Books and other texts have not always been read in the way that we read them today. The modern practice of reading—privately, silently, with the eyes alone—is only one way of reading, which for many centuries existed alongside other forms. In the ancient world, in the Middle Ages, and as late as the seventeenth century, many texts were written for the voice. They were addressed to the ear as much as the eye, and they used forms that were oriented toward the demands of oral performance. This is one of the themes explored in this landmark volume. Written by a distinguished group of international contributors, it analyzes the transformations of reading methods and materials over the ages, showing that revolutions of reading have generally preceded revolutions of the book. The authors examine not only the technical innovations that changed physical aspects of books and other texts, but also the evolving forms of reading and the growth and transformation of the reading public. The volume will be invaluable to students of cultural history and to all those who want a fresh perspective on the history of books and their uses.

front cover of How to Draw a Circle
How to Draw a Circle
On Reading and Writing
Dan Beachy-Quick
University of Michigan Press, 2024
What is it to write a poem? What work do words do when placed with care and vision into the intensely charged space of poetic effort? How to Draw a Circle does not seek to answer those questions, but to encounter them as fully and honestly as one can. The thread running through the essays is an ongoing investigation into poetry as an epistemological experiment, one which binds the imagination to the worldly, and trusts that creative endeavor is a form of participation in the ongoing creation of the world. It does so in part by focusing on thinkers, poets, writers, and literary movements where such thinking for a while prevailed, from Socrates to Melville, Mythology to Romanticism. Here the poem is approached as something deeply rooted in human consciousness, done so not to make an atavistic claim about poetry's history, but to show the ways in which oldest tradition gives us ever-new eyes. The hope this book gathers around is that poetry—poetic expression, the wild wonder of working in words—turns us back toward the world in more vibrant, more open, more ethical ways. How to Draw a Circle summons lyric powers—not an argument, but a participation in the ways poetry works in us and on us. 

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