Production of Presence is a comprehensive version of the thinking of Hans Ulrich Gumbrecht, one of the most consistently original literary scholars writing today. It offers a personalized account of some of the central theoretical movements in literary studies and in the humanities over the past thirty years, together with an equally personal view of a possible future. Based on this assessment of the past and the future of literary studies and the humanities, the book develops the provocative thesis that, through their exclusive dedication to interpretation, i.e. to the reconstruction and attribution of meaning, the humanities have become incapable of addressing a dimension in all cultural phenomena that is as important as the dimension of meaning. Interpretation alone cannot do justice to the dimension of "presence," a dimension in which cultural phenomena and cultural events become tangible and have an impact on our senses and our bodies. Production of Presence is a passionate plea for a rethinking and a reshaping of the intellectual practice within the humanities.
About the author
Hans Ulrich Gumbrecht is the Albert Guérard Professor in Literature at Stanford University, with appointments in French and Comparative Literature. He is also Professeur associé au Département de littérature comparée at the Université de Montréal, and was, in 2003, Professeur attaché au Collège de France.
"...Production of Presence is focused and persuasive. [It} reflect[s] the intellectual, and physical, journey of a courageous and versatile thinker."
—Southern Humanities Review