In response to concerns related to COVID-19, the Modern Language Association conference has decided to transition the 2021 MLA conference to a virtual format. In lieu of our booth exhibit, please enjoy this Virtual Book Exhibit and receive a 30% discount and free shipping on the books listed below using the discount code S21XMLA-FM.
The year 1888 marked the last year of Friedrich Nietzsche's intellectual career and the culmination of his philosophical development. In that final productive year, he worked on six books, all of which are now, for the first time, presented in English in a single volume. Together these new translations provide a fundamental and complete introduction to Nietzsche's mature thought and to the virtuosity and versatility of his most fully developed style. The writings included here have a bold, sometimes radical tone that can be connected to Nietzsche's rising profile and growing confidence. In The Antichrist, we are offered an extended critique of Christianity and Christian morality alongside blunt diagnoses of contemporary Europe's cultural decadence. In Dionysus Dithyrambs we are presented with his only work composed exclusively of poetry, and in Twilight of the Idols we find a succinct summary of his mature philosophical views. At times the works are also openly personal, as in The Case of Wagner, which presents Nietzsche's attempt to settle accounts with his former close friend, German composer Richard Wagner, and in his provocative autobiography, Ecce Homo, which sees Nietzsche taking stock of his past and future while also reflecting on many of his earlier texts. Scrupulously edited, this critical volume also includes commentary by esteemed Nietzsche scholar Andreas Urs Sommer. Through this new collection, students and scholars are given an essential introduction to Nietzsche's late thought.
The past is what happened. History is what we remember and write about that past, the narratives we craft to make sense out of our memories and their sources. But what does it mean to look at the past and to remember that "nothing happened"? Why might we feel as if "nothing is the way it was"? This book transforms these utterly ordinary observations and redefines "Nothing" as something we have known and can remember. "Nothing" has been a catch-all term for everything that is supposedly uninteresting or is just not there. It will take some—possibly considerable—mental adjustment before we can see Nothing as Susan A. Crane does here, with a capital "n." But Nothing has actually been happening all along. As Crane shows in her witty and provocative discussion, Nothing is nothing less than fascinating. When Nothing has changed but we think that it should have, we might call that injustice; when Nothing has happened over a long, slow period of time, we might call that boring. Justice and boredom have histories. So too does being relieved or disappointed when Nothing happens—for instance, when a forecasted end of the world does not occur, and millennial movements have to regroup. By paying attention to how we understand Nothing to be happening in the present, what it means to "know Nothing" or to "do Nothing," we can begin to ask how those experiences will be remembered. Susan A. Crane moves effortlessly between different modes of seeing Nothing, drawing on visual analysis and cultural studies to suggest a new way of thinking about history. By remembering how Nothing happened, or how Nothing is the way it was, or how Nothing has changed, we can recover histories that were there all along.
The postwar US political imagination coalesced around a quintessential midcentury American trope: happiness. In Incremental Realism, Mary Esteve offers a bold, revisionist literary and cultural history of efforts undertaken by literary realists, public intellectuals, and policy activists to advance the value of public institutions and the claims of socioeconomic justice. Esteve specifically focuses on era-defining authors of realist fiction, including Philip Roth, Gwendolyn Brooks, Patricia Highsmith, Paula Fox, Peter Taylor, and Mary McCarthy, who mobilized the trope of happiness to reinforce the crucial value of public institutions, such as the public library, and the importance of pursuing socioeconomic justice, as envisioned by the United Nations Universal Declaration of Human Rights and welfare-state liberals. In addition to embracing specific symbols of happiness, these writers also developed narrative modes—what Esteve calls "incremental realism"—that made justifiable the claims of disadvantaged Americans on the nation-state and promoted a small-canvas aesthetics of moderation. With this powerful demonstration of the way postwar literary fiction linked the era's familiar trope of happiness to political arguments about socioeconomic fairness and individual flourishing, Esteve enlarges our sense of the postwar liberal imagination and its attentiveness to better, possible worlds.
The Enlightenment remains widely associated with the rise of scientific progress and the loss of religious faith, a dual tendency that is thought to have contributed to the disenchantment of the world. In her wide-ranging and richly illustrated book, Tili Boon Cuillé questions the accuracy of this narrative by investigating the fate of the marvelous in the age of reason. Exploring the affinities between the natural sciences and the fine arts, Cuillé examines the representation of natural phenomena—whether harmonious or discordant—in natural history, painting, opera, and the novel from Buffon and Rameau to Ossian and Staël. She demonstrates that philosophical, artistic, and emotional responses to the "spectacle of nature" in eighteenth-century France included wonder, enthusiasm, melancholy, and the "sentiment of divinity." These "passions of the soul," traditionally associated with religion and considered antithetical to enlightenment, were linked to the faculties of reason, imagination, and memory that structured Diderot's Encyclopédie and to contemporary theorizations of the sublime. As Cuillé reveals, the marvelous was not eradicated but instead preserved through the establishment and reform of major French cultural institutions dedicated to science, art, religion, and folklore that were designed to inform, enchant, and persuade. This book has been made possible in part by the National Endowment for the Humanities: Exploring the human endeavor.
Wild Visionary reconsiders Maurice Sendak's life and work in the context of his experience as a Jewish gay man. Maurice (Moishe) Bernard Sendak (1928–2012) was a fierce, romantic, and shockingly funny truth seeker who intervened in modern literature and culture. Raising the stakes of children's books, Sendak painted childhood with the dark realism and wild imagination of his own sensitive "inner child," drawing on the queer and Yiddish sensibilities that shaped his singular voice. Interweaving literary biography and cultural history, Golan Y. Moskowitz follows Sendak from his parents' Brooklyn home to spaces of creative growth and artistic vision—from neighborhood movie palaces to Hell's Kitchen, Greenwich Village, Fire Island, and the Connecticut country home he shared with Eugene Glynn, his partner of more than fifty years. Further, he analyzes Sendak's investment in the figure of the endangered child in symbolic relation to collective touchstones that impacted the artist's perspective—the Great Depression, the Holocaust, and the AIDS crisis. Through a deep exploration of Sendak's picture books, interviews, and previously unstudied personal correspondence, Wild Visionary offers a sensitive portrait of the most beloved and enchanting picture-book artist of our time.
Among the Jewish writers who emigrated from Eastern Europe to France in the 1910s and 1920s, a number chose to switch from writing in their languages of origin to writing primarily in French, a language that represented both a literary center and the promises of French universalism. But under the Nazi occupation of France from 1940 to 1944, these Jewish émigré writers—among them Irène Némirovsky, Benjamin Fondane, Romain Gary, Jean Malaquais, and Elsa Triolet—continued to write in their adopted language, even as the Vichy regime and Nazi occupiers denied their French identity through xenophobic and antisemitic laws. In this book, Julia Elsky argues that these writers reexamined both their Jewishness and their place as authors in France through the language in which they wrote. The group of authors Elsky considers depicted key moments in the war from their perspective as Jewish émigrés, including the June 1940 civilian flight from Paris, life in the occupied and southern zones, the roundups and internment camps, and the Resistance in France and in London. Writing in French, they expressed multiple cultural, religious, and linguistic identities, challenging the boundaries between center and periphery, between French and foreign, even when their sense of belonging was being violently denied.
For a generation of contemporary Anglo-American novelists, the question "Why write?" has been answered with a renewed will to believe in the ethical value of literature. Dissatisfied with postmodernist parody and pastiche, a broad array of novelist-critics—including J.M. Coetzee, Toni Morrison, Zadie Smith, Gish Jen, Ian McEwan, and Jonathan Franzen—champion the novel as the literary genre most qualified to illuminate individual ethical action and decision-making within complex and diverse social worlds. Key to this contemporary vision of the novel's ethical power is the task of knowing and being responsible to people different from oneself, and so thoroughly have contemporary novelists devoted themselves to the ethics of otherness, that this ethics frequently sets the terms for plot, characterization, and theme. In The Novel and the New Ethics, literary critic Dorothy J. Hale investigates how the contemporary emphasis on literature's social relevance sparks a new ethical description of the novel's social value that is in fact rooted in the modernist notion of narrative form. This "new" ethics of the contemporary moment has its origin in the "new" idea of novelistic form that Henry James inaugurated and which was consolidated through the modernist narrative experiments and was developed over the course of the twentieth century. In Hale's reading, the art of the novel becomes defined with increasing explicitness as an aesthetics of alterity made visible as a formalist ethics. In fact, it is this commitment to otherness as a narrative act which has conferred on the genre an artistic intensity and richness that extends to the novel's every word.
The Subject of Human Rights is the first book to systematically address the "human" part of "human rights." Drawing on the finest thinking in political theory, cultural studies, history, law, anthropology, and literary studies, this volume examines how human rights—as discourse, law, and practice—shape how we understand humanity and human beings. It asks how the humanness that the human rights idea seeks to protect and promote is experienced. The essays in this volume consider how human rights norms and practices affect the way we relate to ourselves, to other people, and to the nonhuman world. They investigate what kinds of institutions and actors are subjected to human rights and are charged with respecting their demands and realizing their aspirations. And they explore how human rights shape and even create the very subjects they seek to protect. Through critical reflection on these issues, The Subject of Human Rights suggests ways in which we might reimagine the relationship between human rights and subjectivity with a view to benefiting human rights and subjects alike.
Poetry has long dominated the cultural landscape of modern Iraq, simultaneously representing the literary pinnacle of high culture and giving voice to the popular discourses of mass culture. As the favored genre of culture expression for religious clerics, nationalist politicians, leftist dissidents, and avant-garde intellectuals, poetry critically shaped the social, political, and cultural debates that consumed the Iraqi public sphere in the twentieth century. The popularity of poetry in modern Iraq, however, made it a dangerous practice that carried serious political consequences and grave risks to dissident poets. The Dangers of Poetry is the first book to narrate the social history of poetry in the modern Middle East. Moving beyond the analysis of poems as literary and intellectual texts, Kevin M. Jones shows how poems functioned as social acts that critically shaped the cultural politics of revolutionary Iraq. He narrates the history of three generations of Iraqi poets who navigated the fraught relationship between culture and politics in pursuit of their own ambitions and agendas. Through this historical analysis of thousands of poems published in newspapers, recited in popular demonstrations, and disseminated in secret whispers, this book reveals the overlooked contribution of these poets to the spirit of rebellion in modern Iraq.
A Violent Peace offers a radical account of the United States' transformation into a total-war state. As the Cold War turned hot in the Pacific, antifascist critique disclosed a continuity between U.S. police actions in Asia and a rising police state at home. Writers including James Baldwin, Ralph Ellison, and W.E.B. Du Bois discerned in domestic strategies to quell racial protests the same counterintelligence logic structuring America's devastating wars in Asia. Examining U.S. militarism's centrality to the Cold War cultural imagination, Christine Hong assembles a transpacific archive—placing war writings, visual renderings of the American concentration camp, Japanese accounts of the atomic bombing of Hiroshima, black radical human rights petitions, Korean War–era G.I. photographs, Filipino novels on guerrilla resistance, and Marshallese critiques of U.S. human radiation experiments alongside government documents. By making visible the way the U.S. war machine waged informal wars abroad and at home, this archive reveals how the so-called Pax Americana laid the grounds for solidarity—imagining collective futures beyond the stranglehold of U.S. militarism.
Five centuries after the forced conversion of Spanish and Portuguese Jews to Catholicism, stories of these conversos' descendants uncovering long-hidden Jewish roots have come to light and taken hold of the literary and popular imagination. This seemingly remote history has inspired a wave of contemporary writing involving hidden artifacts, familial whispers and secrets, and clandestine Jewish ritual practices pointing to a past that had been presumed dead and buried. The Converso's Return explores the cultural politics and literary impact of this reawakened interest in converso and crypto-Jewish history, ancestry, and identity, and asks what this fascination with lost-and-found heritage can tell us about how we relate to and make use of the past. Dalia Kandiyoti offers nuanced interpretations of contemporary fictional and autobiographical texts about crypto-Jews in Cuba, Mexico, New Mexico, Spain, France, the Ottoman Empire, and Turkey. These works not only imagine what might be missing from the historical archive but also suggest an alternative historical consciousness that underscores uncommon convergences of and solidarities within Sephardi, Christian, Muslim, converso, and Sabbatean histories. Steeped in diaspora, Sephardi, transamerican, Iberian, and world literature studies, The Converso's Return illuminates how the converso narrative can enrich our understanding of history, genealogy, and collective memory.
Memoirs of Jewish life in the east European shtetl often recall the hekdesh (town poorhouse) and its residents: beggars, madmen and madwomen, disabled people, and poor orphans. Stepchildren of the Shtetl tells the story of these marginalized figures from the dawn of modernity to the eve of the Holocaust. Combining archival research with analysis of literary, cultural, and religious texts, Natan M. Meir recovers the lived experience of Jewish society's outcasts and reveals the central role that they came to play in the drama of modernization. Those on the margins were often made to bear the burden of the nation as a whole, whether as scapegoats in moments of crisis or as symbols of degeneration, ripe for transformation by reformers, philanthropists, and nationalists. Shining a light into the darkest corners of Jewish society in eastern Europe—from the often squalid poorhouse of the shtetl to the slums and insane asylums of Warsaw and Odessa, from the conscription of poor orphans during the reign of Nicholas I to the cholera wedding, a magical ritual in which an epidemic was halted by marrying outcasts to each other in the town cemetery—Stepchildren of the Shtetl reconsiders the place of the lowliest members of an already stigmatized minority.
The German language holds an ambivalent and controversial place in the modern history of European Jews, representing different—often conflicting—historical currents. It was the language of the German classics, of German Jewish writers and scientists, of Central European Jewish culture, and of Herzl and the Zionist movement. But it was also the language of Hitler, Goebbels, and the German guards in Nazi concentration camps. The crucial role of German in the formation of Jewish national culture and politics in the late nineteenth century has been largely overshadowed by the catastrophic events that befell Jews under Nazi rule. German as a Jewish Problem tells the Jewish history of the German language, focusing on Jewish national movements in Central and Eastern Europe and Palestine/Israel. Marc Volovici considers key writers and activists whose work reflected the multilingual nature of the Jewish national sphere and the centrality of the German language within it, and argues that it is impossible to understand the histories of modern Hebrew and Yiddish without situating them in relation to German. This book offers a new understanding of the language problem in modern Jewish history, turning to German to illuminate the questions and dilemmas that largely defined the experience of European Jews in the age of nationalism.
An innovative reassessment of the last writings and final years of Karl Marx. In the last years of his life, Karl Marx expanded his research in new directions—studying recent anthropological discoveries, analyzing communal forms of ownership in precapitalist societies, supporting the populist movement in Russia, and expressing critiques of colonial oppression in India, Ireland, Algeria, and Egypt. Between 1881 and 1883, he also traveled beyond Europe for the first and only time. Focusing on these last years of Marx's life, this book dispels two key misrepresentations of his work: that Marx ceased to write late in life, and that he was a Eurocentric and economic thinker fixated on class conflict alone. With The Last Years of Karl Marx, Marcello Musto claims a renewed relevance for the late work of Marx, highlighting unpublished or previously neglected writings, many of which remain unavailable in English. Readers are invited to reconsider Marx's critique of European colonialism, his ideas on non-Western societies, and his theories on the possibility of revolution in noncapitalist countries. From Marx's late manuscripts, notebooks, and letters emerge an author markedly different from the one represented by many of his contemporary critics and followers alike. As Marx currently experiences a significant rediscovery, this volume fills a gap in the popularly accepted biography and suggests an innovative reassessment of some of his key concepts.
A fascinating exploration of three individuals in fin-de-siècle France who pushed the boundaries of gender identity. Before the term "transgender" existed, there were those who experienced their gender in complex ways. Before Trans examines the lives and writings of Jane Dieulafoy (1850–1916), Rachilde (1860–1953), and Marc de Montifaud (1845–1912), three French writers whose gender expression did not conform to nineteenth-century notions of femininity. Dieulafoy fought alongside her husband in the Franco-Prussian War and traveled with him to the Middle East; later she wrote novels about girls becoming boys and enjoyed being photographed in her signature men's suits. Rachilde became famous in the 1880s for her controversial gender-bending novel Monsieur Vénus, published around the same time that she started using a calling card that read "Rachilde, Man of Letters." Montifaud began her career as an art critic before turning to erotic writings, for which she was repeatedly charged with "offense to public decency"; she wore tailored men's suits and a short haircut for much of her life and went by masculine pronouns among certain friends. Dieulafoy, Rachilde, and Montifaud established themselves as fixtures in the literary world of fin-de-siècle Paris at the same time as French writers, scientists, and doctors were becoming increasingly fascinated with sexuality and sexual difference. Even so, the concept of gender identity as separate from sexual identity did not yet exist. Before Trans explores these three figures' lifelong efforts to articulate a sense of selfhood that did not precisely align with the conventional gender roles of their day. Their intricate, personal stories provide vital historical context for our own efforts to understand the nature of gender identity and the ways in which it might be expressed.
The Peculiar Afterlife of Slavery explores how antiblack racism lived on through the figure of the Chinese worker in US literature after emancipation. Drawing out the connections between this liminal figure and the formal aesthetics of blackface minstrelsy in literature of the Reconstruction and post-Reconstruction eras, Caroline H. Yang reveals the ways antiblackness structured US cultural production during a crucial moment of reconstructing and re-narrating US empire after the Civil War. Examining texts by major American writers in the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries—including Harriet Beecher Stowe, Bret Harte, Mark Twain, Ambrose Bierce, Sui Sin Far, and Charles Chesnutt—Yang traces the intertwined histories of blackface minstrelsy and Chinese labor. Her bold rereading of these authors' contradictory positions on race and labor sees the figure of the Chinese worker as both hiding and making visible the legacy of slavery and antiblackness. Ultimately, The Peculiar Afterlife of Slavery shows how the Chinese worker manifests the inextricable links between US literature, slavery, and empire, as well as the indispensable role of antiblackness as a cultural form in the United States.
A fresh and more capacious reading of the Western religious tradition on nature and creation, Thinking Nature and the Nature of Thinking puts medieval Irish theologian John Scottus Eriugena (810–877) into conversation with American philosopher Ralph Waldo Emerson (1803–1882). Challenging the biblical stewardship model of nature and histories of nature and religion that pit orthodoxy against the heresy of pantheism, Willemien Otten reveals a line of thought that has long made room for nature's agency as the coworker of God. Embracing in this more elusive idea of nature in a world beset by environmental crisis, she suggests, will allow us to see nature not as a victim but as an ally in a common quest for re-attunement to the divine. Putting its protagonists into further dialogue with such classic authors as Augustine, Maximus the Confessor, Friedrich Schleiermacher, and William James, her study deconstructs the idea of pantheism and paves the way for a new natural theology.
Crossing distinct literatures, histories, and politics, Giving Form to an Asian and Latinx America reveals the intertwined story of contemporary Asian Americans and Latinxs through a shared literary aesthetic. Their transfictional literature creates expansive imagined worlds in which distinct stories coexist, offering artistic shape to their linked political and economic struggles. Long Le-Khac explores the work of writers such as Sandra Cisneros, Karen Tei Yamashita, Junot Díaz, and Aimee Phan. He shows how their fictions capture the uneven economic opportunities of the post–civil rights era, the Cold War as it exploded across Asia and Latin America, and the Asian and Latin American labor flows powering global capitalism today. Read together, Asian American and Latinx literatures convey astonishing diversity and untapped possibilities for coalition within the United States' fastest-growing immigrant and minority communities; to understand the changing shape of these communities we must see how they have formed in relation to each other. As the U.S. population approaches a minority-majority threshold, we urgently need methods that can look across the divisions and unequal positions of the racial system. Giving Form to an Asian and Latinx America leads the way with a vision for the future built on panethnic and cross-racial solidarity.
Two Studies of Friedrich Hölderlin shows how the poet enacts a radical theory of meaning that culminates in a unique and still groundbreaking concept of revolution, one that begins with a revolutionary understanding of language. The product of an intense engagement with both Walter Benjamin and Jacques Derrida, the book presents Werner Hamacher's major attempts at developing a critical practice commensurate with the immensity of Hölderlin's late writings. These essays offer an incisive and innovative combination of critical theory and deconstruction while also identifying where influential critics like Heidegger fail to do justice to the poet's astonishing radicality. Readers will not only come away with a new appreciation of Hölderlin's poetic and political-theoretical achievements but will also discover the motivating force behind Hamacher's own achievements as a literary scholar and political theorist. An introduction by Julia Ng and an afterword by Peter Fenves provide further information about these studies and the academic and theoretical context in which they were composed.
The Romantic poet's intense yearning to share thoughts and feelings often finds expression in a style that thwarts a connection with readers. Yohei Igarashi addresses this paradox by reimagining Romantic poetry as a response to the beginnings of the information age. Data collection, rampant connectivity, and efficient communication became powerful social norms during this period. The Connected Condition argues that poets responded to these developments by probing the underlying fantasy: the perfect transfer of thoughts, feelings, and information, along with media that might make such communication possible. This book radically reframes major poets and canonical poems. Igarashi considers Samuel Taylor Coleridge as a stenographer, William Wordsworth as a bureaucrat, Percy Shelley amid social networks, and John Keats in relation to telegraphy, revealing a shared attraction and skepticism toward the dream of communication. Bringing to bear a singular combination of media studies, the history of communication, sociology, rhetoric, and literary history, The Connected Condition proposes new accounts of literary difficulty and Romanticism. Above all, this book shows that the Romantic poets have much to teach us about living with the connected condition and the fortunes of literature in it.
The field of text technologies is a capacious analytical framework that focuses on all textual records throughout human history, from the earliest periods of traceable communication—perhaps as early as 60,000 BCE—to the present day. At its core, it examines the material history of communication: what constitutes a text, the purposes for which it is intended, how it functions, and the social ends that it serves. This coursebook can be used to support any pedagogical or research activities in text technologies, the history of the book, the history of information, and textually based work in the digital humanities. Through careful explanations of the field, examinations of terminology and themes, and illustrated case studies of diverse texts—from the Cyrus cylinder to the Eagles' "Hotel California"—Elaine Treharne and Claude Willan offer a clear yet nuanced overview of how humans convey meaning. Text Technologies will enable students and teachers to generate multiple lines of inquiry into how communication—its production, form and materiality, and reception—is crucial to any interpretation of culture, history, and society.
American and Israeli Jews have historically clashed over the contours of Jewish identity, and their experience of modern Jewish life has been radically different. As Philip Roth put it, they are the "heirs jointly of a drastically bifurcated legacy." But what happens when the encounter between American and Israeli Jewishness takes place in literary form—when Jewish American novels make aliyah, or when Israeli novels are imported for consumption by the diaspora? Reading Israel, Reading America explores the politics of translation as it shapes the understandings and misunderstandings of Israeli literature in the United States and American Jewish literature in Israel. Engaging in close readings of translations of iconic novels by the likes of Philip Roth, Saul Bellow, Bernard Malamud, Amos Oz, A. B. Yehoshua, and Yoram Kaniuk—in particular, the ideologically motivated omissions and additions in the translations, and the works' reception by reviewers and public intellectuals—Asscher decodes the literary encounter between Israeli and American Jews. These discrepancies demarcate an ongoing cultural dialogue around representations of violence, ethics, Zionism, diaspora, and the boundaries between Jews and non-Jews. Navigating the disputes between these "rival siblings" of the Jewish world, Asscher provocatively untangles the cultural relations between Israeli and American Jews.
Black Quotidian explores everyday lives of African Americans in the twentieth century. Drawing on an archive of digitized African-American newspapers, Matthew F. Delmont guides readers through a wealth of primary resources that reveal how the Black press popularized African-American history and valued the lives of both famous and ordinary Black people. Claiming the right of Black people to experience and enjoy the mundane aspects of daily life has taken on a renewed resonance in the era of Black Lives Matter, an era marked by quotidian violence, fear, and mourning. Framed by introductory chapters on the history of Black newspapers, a trove of short posts on individual newspaper stories brings the rich archive of African-American newspapers to life, giving readers access to a variety of media objects, including videos, photographs, and music. By presenting this layer as a blog with 365 daily entries, the author offers a critique of Black History Month as a limiting initiative and emphasizes the need to explore beyond the iconic figures and moments that have come to stand in for the complexity of African-American history. Themes highlighted include, among others, civil rights, arts, sports, politics, and women's lives. As a work of digital history, Black Quotidian models an innovative approach to research exploration and scholarly communication. As a teaching resource, it fosters self-driven exploration of primary resources within and beyond the curriculum.
Thinking is much broader than what our science-obsessed, utilitarian culture often takes it to be. More than mere problem solving or the methodical comprehension of our personal and natural circumstances, thinking may take the form of a poem, a painting, a sculpture, a museum exhibition, or a documentary film. Exploring a variety of works by contemporary artists and writers who exemplify poetic thinking, this book draws our attention to one of the crucial affordances of this form of creative human insight and wisdom: its capacity to help protect and cultivate human freedom. All the contemporary works of art and literature that Poetic Thinking Today examines touch on our recent experiences with tyranny in culture and politics. They express the uninhibited thoughts and ideas of their creators even as they foster poetic thinking in us. In an era characterized by the global reemergence of authoritarian tendencies, Amir Eshel writes with the future of the humanities in mind. He urges the acknowledgment and cultivation of poetic thinking as a crucial component of our intellectual pursuits in general and of our educational systems more specifically.
In a world that promotes assertion, agency, and empowerment, this book challenges us to revalue a range of actions and attitudes that have come to be disregarded or dismissed as merely passive. Mercy, resignation, politeness, restraint, gratitude, abstinence, losing well, apologizing, taking care: today, such behaviors are associated with negativity or lack. But the capacity to give way is better understood as positive action, at once intricate and demanding. Moving from intra-human common courtesies, to human-animal relations, to the global civility of human-inhuman ecological awareness, the book's argument unfolds on progressively larger scales. In reminding us of the existential threat our drives pose to our own survival, Steven Connor does not merely champion a family of behaviors; he shows that we are more adept practitioners of them than we realize. At a time when it is on the wane, Giving Way offers a powerful defense of civility, the versatile human capacity to deflect aggression into sociability and to exercise power over power itself.
This volume of The Complete Works provides the first English translation of all Nietzsche's unpublished notes from April 1885 to the summer of 1886, the period in which he wrote his breakthrough philosophical books Beyond Good and Evil and On the Genealogy of Morality. Keen to reinvent himself after Thus Spoke Zarathustra, the philosopher used these unpublished notes to chart his search for a new philosophical voice. The notebooks contain copious drafts of book titles; critical retrospection on his earlier projects; a critique of the feminine; prophetic commentary on Germany; and forays into metaphysics, epistemology, ethics, aesthetics, and language. They also reveal his deep concern for Europe and its future and a burgeoning presence of the Dionysian. We learn what Nietzsche was reading and from whom he borrowed, and we find a considerable portion of notes and fragments from the non-book "Will to Power," though here they are unembellished and unmediated. Richly annotated and accompanied by a detailed translator's afterword, this landmark volume sheds light on the controversy surrounding the Nachlass of the 1880s.
Trumpism has not only ushered in a new political regime, but also a new regime of language—one that cries out for intelligent and informed analysis. When Words Trump Politics takes insights from linguistic anthropology and related fields to decode, understand, and ultimately provide non-expert readers with easily digestible tools to resist the politics of division and hate. Adam Hodges's short essays address Trump's Twitter insults, racism and white nationalism, "truthiness" and "alternative facts," #FakeNews and conspiracy theories, Supreme Court politics and #MeToo, Islamophobia, political theater, and many other timely and controversial discussions. Hodges breaks down the specific linguistic techniques and processes that make Trump's rhetoric successful in our contemporary political landscape. He identifies the language ideologies, word choices, and recurring metaphors that underlie Trumpian rhetoric. Trumpian discourse works in tandem with media discourse—Hodges shows how Trump often induces journalists and social media agents to recycle and strengthen his spectacular and misleading claims. Those who study democracy have long emphasized the need for an informed electorate. But being informed on political issues also demands a keen understanding of the way language is used to convey, discuss, debate, and contest those issues. When Words Trump Politics analyzes the political rhetoric of today. The actionable insights in this book give journalists, politicians, and all Americans the successful tools they need to respond to the politics of hate. When Words Trump Politics is an essential resource for political resistance, for anyone who cares about freeing democracy from the spell of demagoguery.
A case study of one of the most important global institutions of cultural policy formation, UNESCO and the Fate of the Literary demonstrates the relationship between such policymaking and transformations in the economy. Focusing on UNESCO's use of books, Sarah Brouillette identifies three phases in the agency's history and explores the literary and cultural programming of each. In the immediate postwar period, healthy economies made possible the funding of an infrastructure in support of a liberal cosmopolitanism and the spread of capitalist democracy. In the decolonizing 1960s and '70s, illiteracy and lack of access to literature were lamented as a "book hunger" in the developing world, and reading was touted as a universal humanizing value to argue for a more balanced communications industry and copyright regime. Most recently, literature has become instrumental in city and nation branding that drive tourism and the heritage industry. Today, the agency largely treats high literature as a commercially self-sustaining product for wealthy aging publics, and fundamental policy reform to address the uneven relations that characterize global intellectual property creation is off the table. UNESCO's literary programming is in this way highly suggestive. A trajectory that might appear to be one of triumphant success—literary tourism and festival programming can be quite lucrative for some people—is also, under a different light, a story of decline.
Thomas Wyatt didn't publish "They Flee from Me." It was written in a notebook, maybe abroad, maybe even in prison. Today it is in every poetry anthology. How did it survive? That is the story Peter Murphy tells—in vivid and compelling detail—of the accidents of fate that kept a great poem alive across 500 turbulent years. Wyatt's poem becomes an occasion to ask and answer numerous questions about literature, culture, and history. Itself about the passage of time, it allows us to consider why anyone would write such a thing in the first place, and why anyone would care to read or remember the person who wrote it. From the deadly, fascinating circles of Henry VIII's court to the contemporary classroom, The Long Public Life of a Short Private Poem also introduces us to a series of worlds. We meet antiquaries, editors, publishers, anthologizers, and critics whose own life stories beckon. And we learn how the poem came to be considered, after many centuries of neglect, a model of the "best" English has to offer and an ideal object of literary study. The result is an exploration of literature in the fine grain of the everyday and its needs: in the classroom, in society, and in the life of nations.
In recent years, the American fiction writer David Foster Wallace has been treated as a symbol, as an icon, and even a film character. Ordinary Unhappiness returns us to the reason we all know about him in the first place: his fiction. By closely examining Infinite Jest, Brief Interviews with Hideous Men, and The Pale King, Jon Baskin points readers to the work at the center of Wallace's oeuvre and places that writing in conversation with a philosophical tradition that includes Wittgenstein, Kierkegaard, and Cavell, among others. What emerges is a Wallace who not only speaks to our postmodern addictions in the age of mass entertainment and McDonald's but who seeks to address a quiet desperation at the heart of our modern lives. Freud said that the job of the therapeutic process was to turn "hysterical misery into ordinary unhappiness." This book makes a case for how Wallace achieved this in his fiction.
When it comes to historical violence and contemporary inequality, none of us are completely innocent. We may not be direct agents of harm, but we may still contribute to, inhabit, or benefit from regimes of domination that we neither set up nor control. Arguing that the familiar categories of victim, perpetrator, and bystander do not adequately account for our connection to injustices past and present, Michael Rothberg offers a new theory of political responsibility through the figure of the implicated subject. The Implicated Subject builds on the comparative, transnational framework of Rothberg's influential work on memory to engage in reflection and analysis of cultural texts, archives, and activist movements from such contested zones as transitional South Africa, contemporary Israel/Palestine, post-Holocaust Europe, and a transatlantic realm marked by the afterlives of slavery. As these diverse sites of inquiry indicate, the processes and histories illuminated by implicated subjectivity are legion in our interconnected world. An array of globally prominent artists, writers, and thinkers—from William Kentridge, Hito Steyerl, and Jamaica Kincaid, to Hannah Arendt, Primo Levi, Judith Butler, and the Combahee River Collective—speak to this interconnection and show how confronting our own implication in difficult histories can lead to new forms of internationalism and long-distance solidarity.
Until the 1940s, when awareness of Russian Formalism began to spread, literary theory remained almost exclusively a Russian and Eastern European invention. The Birth and Death of Literary Theory tells the story of literary theory by focusing on its formative interwar decades in Russia. Nowhere else did literary theory emerge and peak so early, even as it shared space with other modes of reflection on literature. A comprehensive account of every important Russian trend between the world wars, the book traces their wider impact in the West during the 20th and 21st centuries. Ranging from Formalism and Bakhtin to the legacy of classic literary theory in our post-deconstruction, world literature era, Galin Tihanov provides answers to two fundamental questions: What does it mean to think about literature theoretically, and what happens to literary theory when this option is no longer available? Asserting radical historicity, he offers a time-limited way of reflecting upon literature—not in order to write theory's obituary but to examine its continuous presence across successive regimes of relevance. Engaging and insightful, this is a book for anyone interested in theory's origins and in what has happened since its demise.
With this latest book in the series, Stanford continues its English-language publication of the famed Colli-Montinari edition of Nietzsche's complete works, which include the philosopher's notebooks and early unpublished writings. Scrupulously edited so as to establish a new standard for the field, each volume includes an Afterword that presents and contextualizes the material therein. This volume provides the first English translation of Nietzsche's unpublished notebooks from 1882–1884, the period in which he was composing the book that he considered his best and most important work, Thus Spoke Zarathustra. Crucial transitional documents in Nietzsche's intellectual development, the notebooks mark a shift into what is widely regarded as the philosopher's mature period. They reveal his long-term design of a fictional tetralogy charting the philosophical, pedagogical, and psychological journeys of his alter-ego, Zarathustra. Here, in nuce, appear Zarathustra's teaching about the death of God; his discovery that the secret of life is the will to power; and his most profound and most frightening thought—that his own life, human history, and the entire cosmos will eternally return. During this same period, Nietzsche was also composing preparatory notes for his next book, Beyond Good and Evil, and the notebooks are especially significant for the insight they provide into his evolving theory of drives, his critical ideas about the nature and history of morality, and his initial thoughts on one of his best-known concepts, the superhuman (Übermensch).
What would it mean to be avant-garde today? Arguing against the notion that the avant-garde is dead or confined to historically "failed" movements, this book offers a more dynamic and inclusive theory of avant-gardes that accounts for how they work in our present. Innovative in approach, Provisional Avant-Gardes focuses on the medium of the little magazine—from early Dada experiments to feminist, queer, and digital publishing networks—to understand avant-gardes as provisional and heterogeneous communities. Paying particular attention to neglected women writers, artists, and editors alongside more canonical figures, it shows how the study of little magazines can change our views of literary and art history while shedding new light on individual careers. By focusing on the avant-garde's publishing history and group dynamics, Sophie Seita also demonstrates a new methodology for writing about avant-garde practice across time, one that is applicable to other artistic and non-artistic communities and that speaks to contemporary practitioners as much as scholars. In the process, she addresses fundamental questions about the intersections of aesthetic form and politics and about what we consider to be literature and art.
The first sustained study of the relations between literary celebrity and queer sexuality, Categorically Famous looks at the careers of three celebrity writers—James Baldwin, Susan Sontag, and Gore Vidal—in relation to the gay and lesbian liberation movement of the 1960s. While none of these writers "came out" in our current sense, all contributed, through their public images and their writing, to a greater openness toward homosexuality that was an important precondition of liberation. Their fame was crucial, for instance, to the growing conception of homosexuals as an oppressed minority rather than as individuals with a psychological problem. Challenging scholarly orthodoxies, Guy Davidson urges us to rethink the usual opposition to liberation and to gay and lesbian visibility within queer studies as well as standard definitions of celebrity. The conventional ban on openly discussing the homosexuality of public figures meant that media reporting at the time did not focus on his protagonists' private lives. At the same time, the careers of these "semi-visible" gay celebrities should be understood as a crucial halfway point between the era of the open secret and the present-day post-liberation era in which queer people, celebrities very much included, are enjoined to come out.
Phonopoetics tells the neglected story of early "talking records" and their significance for literature, from the 1877 invention of the phonograph to some of the first recorded performances of modernist works. The book challenges assumptions of much contemporary criticism by taking the recorded, oral performance as its primary object of analysis and by exploring the historically specific convergences between audio recording technologies, media formats, generic forms, and the institutions and practices surrounding the literary. Opening with an argument that the earliest spoken recordings were a mediated extension of Victorian reading and elocutionary culture, Jason Camlot explains the literary significance of these pre-tape era voice artifacts by analyzing early promotional fantasies about the phonograph as a new kind of speaker and detailing initiatives to deploy it as a pedagogical tool to heighten literary experience. Through historically-grounded interpretations of Dickens impersonators to recitations of Tennyson to T.S. Eliot's experimental readings of "The Waste Land" and of a great variety of voices and media in between, this first critical history of the earliest literary sound recordings offers an unusual perspective on the transition from the Victorian to modern periods and sheds new light on our own digitally mediated relationship to the past.
Most contemporary digital studies are interested in distant-reading paradigms for large-scale literary history. This book asks what happens when such telescopic techniques function as a microscope instead. The first monograph to bring a range of computational methods to bear on a single novel in a sustained fashion, it focuses on the award-winning and genre-bending Cloud Atlas (2004). Published in two very different versions worldwide without anyone taking much notice, David Mitchell's novel is ideal fodder for a textual-genetic publishing history, reflections on micro-tectonic shifts in language by authors who move between genres, and explorations of how we imagine people wrote in bygone eras. Though Close Reading with Computers focuses on but one novel, it has a crucial exemplary function: author Martin Paul Eve demonstrates a set of methods and provides open-source software tools that others can use in their own literary-critical practices. In this way, the project serves as a bridge between users of digital methods and those engaged in more traditional literary-critical endeavors.
Creation and the giving of orders are closely entwined in Western culture, where God commands the world into existence and later issues the injunctions known as the Ten Commandments. The arche, or origin, is always also a command, and a beginning is always the first principle that governs and decrees. This is as true for theology, where God not only creates the world but governs and continues to govern through continuous creation, as it is for the philosophical and political tradition according to which beginning and creation, command and will, together form a strategic apparatus without which our society would fall apart. The five essays collected here aim to deactivate this apparatus through a patient archaeological inquiry into the concepts of work, creation, and command. Giorgio Agamben explores every nuance of the arche in search of an an-archic exit strategy. By the book's final chapter, anarchy appears as the secret center of power, brought to light so as to make possible a philosophical thought that might overthrow both the principle and its command.
When sacred objects were rejected during the Reformation, they were not always burned and broken but were sometimes given to children as toys. Play is typically seen as free and open, while iconoclasm, even to those who deem it necessary, is violent and disenchanting. What does it say about wider attitudes toward religious violence and children at play that these two seemingly different activities were sometimes one and the same? Drawing on a range of sixteenth-century artifacts, artworks, and texts, as well as on ancient and modern theories of iconoclasm and of play, Iconoclasm As Child's Play argues that the desire to shape and interpret the playing of children is an important cultural force. Formerly holy objects may have been handed over with an intent to debase them, but play has a tendency to create new meanings and stories that take on a life of their own. Joe Moshenska shows that this form of iconoclasm is not only a fascinating phenomenon in its own right; it has the potential to alter our understandings of the threshold between the religious and the secular, the forms and functions of play, and the nature of historical transformation and continuity.
In the past decade alone, more than ten million corpses have been exhumed and reburied across the Chinese landscape. The campaign has transformed China's graveyards into sites of acute personal, social, political, and economic contestation. In this digital volume, three historians of China, Jeffrey Snyder-Reinke, Christian Henriot, and Thomas S. Mullaney, chart out the history of China's rapidly shifting deathscape. Each essay grapples with a different dimension of grave relocation and burial reform in China over the past three centuries: from the phenomenon of "baby towers" in the Lower Yangzi region of late imperial China, to the histories of death in the city of Shanghai, and finally to the history of grave relocation during the contemporary period, examined by Mullaney, when both its scale and tempo increased dramatically. Rounding off these historical analyses, a colophon by platform developers David McClure and Glen Worthey speaks to new reading methodologies emerging from a format in which text and map move in concert to advance historical argumentation.
In December of 1997, the International Monetary Fund announced the largest bailout package in its history, aimed at stabilizing the South Korean economy in response to a credit and currency crisis of the same year. Vicious Circuits examines what it terms "Korea's IMF Cinema," the decade of cinema following that crisis, in order to think through the transformations of global political economy at the end of the American century. It argues that one of the most dominant traits of the cinema that emerged after the worst economic crisis in the history of South Korea was its preoccupation with economic phenomena. As the quintessentially corporate art form—made as much in the boardroom as in the studio—film in this context became an ideal site for thinking through the global political economy in the transitional moment of American decline and Chinese ascension. With an explicit focus of state economic policy, IMF cinema did not just depict the economy; it also was this economy's material embodiment. That is, it both represented economic developments and was itself an important sector in which the same pressures and changes affecting the economy at large were at work. Joseph Jonghyun Jeon's window on Korea provides a peripheral but crucial perspective on the operations of late US hegemony and the contradictions that ultimately corrode it.
You can't copyright facts, but is news a category unto itself? Without legal protection for the "ownership" of news, what incentive does a news organization have to invest in producing quality journalism that serves the public good? This book explores the intertwined histories of journalism and copyright law in the United States and Great Britain, revealing how shifts in technology, government policy, and publishing strategy have shaped the media landscape. Publishers have long sought to treat news as exclusive to protect their investments against copying or "free riding." But over the centuries, arguments about the vital role of newspapers and the need for information to circulate have made it difficult to defend property rights in news. Beginning with the earliest printed news publications and ending with the Internet, Will Slauter traces these countervailing trends, offering a fresh perspective on debates about copyright and efforts to control the flow of news.
Philosophy, Socrates declared, is the art of dying. This book underscores that it is also the art of learning to live and share the earth with those who have come before us. Burial, with its surrounding rituals, is the most ancient documented cultural-symbolic practice: all humans have developed techniques of caring for and communicating with the dead. The premise of Being with the Dead is that we can explore our lives with the dead as a cross-cultural existential a priori out of which the basic forms of historical consciousness emerge. Care for the dead is not just about the symbolic handling of mortal remains; it also points to a necropolitics, the social bond between the dead and living that holds societies together—a shared space or polis where the dead are maintained among the living. Moving from mortuary rituals to literary representations, from the problem of ancestrality to technologies of survival and intergenerational communication, Hans Ruin explores the epistemological, ethical, and ontological dimensions of what it means to be with the dead. His phenomenological approach to key sources in a range of fields gives us a new perspective on the human sciences as a whole.
Los Angeles is a city of borders and lines, from the freeways that transect its neighborhoods to streets like Pico Boulevard that slash across the city from the ocean to the heart of downtown, creating both ethnic enclaves and pathways for interracial connection. Examining neighborhoods in east, south central, and west L.A.—and their imaginative representation by Chicana, African American, and Jewish American writers—this book investigates the moral and political implications of negotiating space. The Border and the Line takes up the central conceit of "the neighbor" to consider how the geography of racial identification and interracial encounters are represented and even made possible by literary language. Dean J. Franco probes how race is formed and transformed in literature and in everyday life, in the works of Helena María Viramontes, Paul Beatty, James Baldwin, and the writers of the Watts Writers Workshop. Exploring metaphor and metonymy, as well as economic and political circumstance, Franco identifies the potential for reconciliation in the figure of the neighbor, an identity that is grounded by geographical boundaries and which invites their crossing.
In 1869, Hayyim Habshush, a Yemeni Jew, accompanied the European orientalist Joseph Halévy on his archaeological tour of Yemen. Twenty years later, Habshush wrote A Vision of Yemen, a memoir of their travels, that provides a vivid account of daily life, religion, and politics. More than a simple travelogue, it is a work of trickster-tales, thick anthropological descriptions, and reflections on Jewish–Muslim relations. At its heart lies the fractious and intimate relationship between the Yemeni coppersmith and the "enlightened" European scholar and the collision between the cultures each represents. The book thus offers a powerful indigenous response to European Orientalism. This edition is the first English translation of Habshush's writings from the original Judeo-Arabic and Hebrew and includes an accessible historical introduction to the work. The translation maintains Habshush's gripping style and rich portrayal of the diverse communities and cultures of Yemen, offering a potent mixture of artful storytelling and cultural criticism, suffused with humor and empathy. Habshush writes about the daily lives of men and women, rich and poor, Jewish and Muslim, during a turbulent period of war and both Ottoman and European imperialist encroachment. With this translation, Alan Verskin recovers the lost voice of a man passionately committed to his land and people.
At once an ecological phenomenon and a cultural construction, the desert has varied associations within Zionist and Israeli culture. In the Judaic textual tradition, it evokes exile and punishment, yet is also a site for origin myths, the divine presence, and sanctity. Secular Zionism developed its own spin on the duality of the desert as the romantic site of Jews' biblical roots that inspired the Hebrew culture, and as the barren land outside the Jewish settlements in Palestine, featuring them as an oasis of order and technological progress within a symbolic desert. Yael Zerubavel tells the story of the desert from the early twentieth century to the present, shedding light on romantic-mythical associations, settlement and security concerns, environmental sympathies, and the commodifying tourist gaze. Drawing on literary narratives, educational texts, newspaper articles, tourist materials, films, popular songs, posters, photographs, and cartoons, Zerubavel reveals the complexities and contradictions that mark Israeli society's semiotics of space in relation to the Middle East, and the central role of the "besieged island" trope in Israeli culture and politics.
At the turn of the twentieth century, tuberculosis was a leading cause of death across America, Europe, and the Russian Empire. The incurable disease gave rise to a culture of convalescence, creating new opportunities for travel and literary reflection. Tubercular Capital tells the story of Yiddish and Hebrew writers whose lives and work were transformed by a tubercular diagnosis. Moving from eastern Europe to the Italian Peninsula, and from Mandate Palestine to the Rocky Mountains, Sunny S. Yudkoff follows writers including Sholem Aleichem, Raḥel Bluvshtein, David Vogel, and others as they sought "the cure" and drew on their experiences of illness to hone their literary craft. Combining archival research with literary analysis, Yudkoff uncovers how tuberculosis came to function as an agent of modern Jewish literature. The illness would provide the means for these suffering writers to grow their reputations and find financial backing. It served a central role in the public fashioning of their literary personas and ushered Jewish writers into a variety of intersecting English, German, and Russian literary traditions. Tracing the paths of these writers, Tubercular Capital reconsiders the foundational relationship between disease, biography, and literature.
This book recovers the curious history of the "insensible" in the Age of Sensibility. Tracking this figure through the English novel's uneven and messy past, Wendy Anne Lee draws on Enlightenment theories of the passions to place philosophy back into conversation with narrative. Contemporary critical theory often simplifies or disregards earlier accounts of emotions, while eighteenth-century studies has focused on cultural histories of sympathy. In launching a more philosophical inquiry about what emotions are, Failures of Feeling corrects for both of these oversights. Proposing a fresh take on emotions in the history of the novel, its chapters open up literary history's most provocative cases of unfeeling, from the iconic scrivener who would prefer not to and the reviled stock figure of the prude, to the heroic rape survivor, the burnt-out man-of-feeling, and the hard-hearted Jane Austen herself. These pivotal cases of insensibility illustrate a new theory of mind and of the novel predicated on an essential paradox: the very phenomenon that would appear to halt feeling and plot actually compels them. Contrary to the assumption that fictional investment relies on a richness of interior life, Lee shows instead that nothing incites the passions like dispassion.
For all that we love and admire Shakespeare, he is not that easy to grasp. He may have written in Elizabethan English, but when we read him, we can't help but understand his words, metaphors, and syntax in relation to our own. Until now, explaining the powers and pleasures of the Bard's language has always meant returning it to its original linguistic and rhetorical contexts. Countless excellent studies situate his unusual gift for words in relation to the resources of the English of his day. They may mention the presumptions of modern readers, but their goal is to correct and invalidate any false impressions. Shakesplish is the first book devoted to our experience as modern readers of Early Modern English. Drawing on translation theory and linguistics, Paula Blank argues that for us, Shakespeare's language is a hybrid English composed of errors in comprehension—and that such errors enable, rather than hinder, some of the pleasures we take in his language. Investigating how and why it strikes us, by turns, as beautiful, funny, sexy, or smart, she shows how, far from being the fossilized remains of an older idiom, Shakespeare's English is also our own.
Can anyone say anything that has not already been said about the most scrutinized text in human history? In one of the most radical rereadings of the opening chapters of Genesis since The Zohar, David Kishik manages to do just that. The Book of Shem, a philosophical meditation on the beginning of the Bible and the end of the world, offers an inspiring interpretation of this navel of world literature. The six parts of the primeval story—God's creation, the Garden of Eden, Cain and Abel, Noah's Ark, the first covenant, and the Tower of Babel—come together to address a single concern: How does one become the human being that one is? By closely analyzing the founding text of the Abrahamic religions, this short treatise rethinks some of their deepest convictions. With a mixture of reverence and violence, Kishik's creative commentary demonstrates the post-secular implications of a pre-Abrahamic position. A translation of the Hebrew source, included as an appendix, helps to peel away the endless layers of presuppositions about its meaning.
Eighty years ago, Ettore Majorana, a brilliant student of Enrico Fermi, disappeared under mysterious circumstances while going by ship from Palermo to Naples. How is it possible that the most talented physicist of his generation vanished without leaving a trace? It has long been speculated that Majorana decided to abandon physics, disappearing because he had precociously realized that nuclear fission would inevitably lead to the atomic bomb. This book advances a different hypothesis. Through a careful analysis of Majorana's article "The Value of Statistical Laws in Physics and Social Sciences," which shows how in quantum physics reality is dissolved into probability, and in dialogue with Simone Weil's considerations on the topic, Giorgio Agamben suggests that, by disappearing into thin air, Majorana turned his very person into an exemplary cipher of the status of the real in our probabilistic universe. In so doing, the physicist posed a question to science that is still awaiting an answer: What is Real?
Filming Revolution investigates documentary and independent filmmaking in Egypt since the Egyptian Revolution began in 2011. It brings together the collective wisdom and creative strategies of thirty filmmakers, artists, activists, and archivists who share their thoughts and experiences of filmmaking in those heady times. Rather than merely building an archive of video interviews, Alisa Lebow constructs a collaborative project, joining her interviewees in conversation to investigate questions about the evolving forms of political filmmaking. The interviews can be explored via their connections to each other, across parameters such as themes, projects, or people. Each constellation of material allows users to engage in a curated conversation that creates a dialogue between filmmakers operating in the same space but who may not necessarily know of each other's work or ideas. Topics highlighted range from the role of activism in filming to the limits of representation or the impact of practical considerations of production and distribution. The innovative constellatory design of Filming Revolution makes an aesthetic commentary about the experience of the revolution, its fragmented development, and its shifting meanings, thereby advancing arguments about political documentary via both content and form, simultaneously re-imagining formats of political documentary and scholarly communication.
The environmental crisis, one of the great challenges of our time, tends to disenfranchise those who come after us. Arguing that as temporary inhabitants of the earth, we cannot be indifferent to future generations, this book draws on the resources of phenomenology and poststructuralism to help us conceive of moral relations in connection with human temporality. Demonstrating that moral and political normativity emerge with generational time, the time of birth and death, this book proposes two related models of intergenerational and environmental justice. The first entails a form of indirect reciprocity, in which we owe future people both because of their needs and interests and because we ourselves have been the beneficiaries of peoples past; the second posits a generational taking of turns that Matthias Fritsch applies to both our institutions and our natural environment, in other words, to the earth as a whole. Offering new readings of key philosophers, and emphasizing the work of Emmanuel Levinas and Jacques Derrida in particular, Taking Turns with the Earth disrupts human-centered notions of terrestrial appropriation and sharing to give us a new continental philosophical account of future-oriented justice.
In Mandarin Brazil, Ana Paulina Lee explores the centrality of Chinese exclusion to the Brazilian nation-building project, tracing the role of cultural representation in producing racialized national categories. Lee considers depictions of Chineseness in Brazilian popular music, literature, and visual culture, as well as archival documents and Brazilian and Qing dynasty diplomatic correspondence about opening trade and immigration routes between Brazil and China. In so doing, she reveals how Asian racialization helped to shape Brazil's image as a racial democracy. Mandarin Brazil begins during the second half of the nineteenth century, during the transitional period when enslaved labor became unfree labor—an era when black slavery shifted to "yellow labor" and racial anxieties surged. Lee asks how colonial paradigms of racial labor became a part of Brazil's nation-building project, which prioritized "whitening," a fundamentally white supremacist ideology that intertwined the colonial racial caste system with new immigration labor schemes. By considering why Chinese laborers were excluded from Brazilian nation-building efforts while Japanese migrants were welcomed, Lee interrogates how Chinese and Japanese imperial ambitions and Asian ethnic supremacy reinforced Brazil's whitening project. Mandarin Brazil contributes to a new conversation in Latin American and Asian American cultural studies, one that considers Asian diasporic histories and racial formation across the Americas.
The 1923 Greek-Turkish population exchange forcibly relocated one and a half million people: Muslims in Greece were resettled in Turkey, and Greek Orthodox Christians in Turkey were moved to Greece. This landmark event set a legal precedent for population management on the basis of religious or ethnic difference. Similar segregative policies—such as creating walls, partitions, and apartheids—have followed in its wake. Strikingly, the exchange was purportedly enacted as a means to achieve peace. Humanism in Ruins maps the links between liberal discourses on peace and the legacies of this forced migration. Aslı Iğsız weaves together past and present, making visible the effects in Turkey across the ensuing century, of the 1923 exchange. Liberal humanism has responded to segregative policies by calling for coexistence and the acceptance of cultural diversity. Yet, as Iğsız makes clear, liberal humanism itself, with its ahistorical emphasis on a shared humanity, fails to confront an underlying racialized logic. This far-reaching and multilayered cultural history investigates what it means to be human—historically, socially, and politically. It delivers an urgent message about the politics of difference at a time when the reincarnation of fascism in different parts of the world invites citizens to participate in perpetuating a racialized and unequal world.
A sustained engagement with Theodor Adorno, Jazz As Critique looks to jazz for ways of understanding the inadequacies of contemporary life. Adorno's writings on jazz are notoriously dismissive. Nevertheless, Adorno does have faith in the critical potential of some musical traditions. Music, he suggests, can provide insight into the controlling, destructive nature of modern society while offering a glimpse of more empathetic and less violent ways of being together in the world. Taking Adorno down a path he did not go, this book calls attention to an alternative sociality made manifest in jazz. In response to writing that tends to portray it as a mirror of American individualism and democracy, Fumi Okiji makes the case for jazz as a model of "gathering in difference."Noting that this mode of subjectivity emerged in response to the distinctive history of black America, she reveals that the music cannot but call the integrity of the world into question.
By both its supporters and detractors, neoliberalism is usually considered an economic policy agenda. Neoliberalism's Demons argues that it is much more than that: a complete worldview, neoliberalism presents the competitive marketplace as the model for true human flourishing. And it has enjoyed great success: from the struggle for "global competitiveness" on the world stage down to our individual practices of self-branding and social networking, neoliberalism has transformed every aspect of our shared social life. The book explores the sources of neoliberalism's remarkable success and the roots of its current decline. Neoliberalism's appeal is its promise of freedom in the form of unfettered free choice. But that freedom is a trap: we have just enough freedom to be accountable for our failings, but not enough to create genuine change. If we choose rightly, we ratify our own exploitation. And if we choose wrongly, we are consigned to the outer darkness—and then demonized as the cause of social ills. By tracing the political and theological roots of the neoliberal concept of freedom, Adam Kotsko offers a fresh perspective, one that emphasizes the dynamics of race, gender, and sexuality. More than that, he accounts for the rise of right-wing populism, arguing that, far from breaking with the neoliberal model, it actually doubles down on neoliberalism's most destructive features.
Muslim South Asia is widely characterized as a culture that idealizes female anonymity: women's bodies are veiled and their voices silenced. Challenging these perceptions, Siobhan Lambert-Hurley highlights an elusive strand of autobiographical writing dating back several centuries that offers a new lens through which to study notions of selfhood. In Elusive Lives, she locates the voices of Muslim women who rejected taboos against women speaking out, by telling their life stories in written autobiography. To chart patterns across time and space, materials dated from the sixteenth century to the present are drawn from across South Asia – including present-day India, Pakistan and Bangladesh. Lambert-Hurley uses many rare autobiographical texts in a wide array of languages, including Urdu, English, Hindi, Bengali, Gujarati, Marathi, Punjabi and Malayalam to elaborate a theoretical model for gender, autobiography, and the self beyond the usual Euro-American frame. In doing so, she works toward a new, globalized history of the field. Ultimately, Elusive Lives points to the sheer diversity of Muslim women's lives and life stories, offering a unique window into a history of the everyday against a backdrop of imperialism, reformism, nationalism and feminism.
Inscrutable Belongings brings together formalist and contextual modes of critique to consider narrative strategies that emerge in queer Asian North American literature. Stephen Hong Sohn provides extended readings of fictions involving queer Asian North American storytellers, looking to texts including Russell Leong's "Camouflage," Lydia Kwa's Pulse, Alexander Chee's Edinburgh, Nina Revoyr's Wingshooters, and Noël Alumit's Letters to Montgomery Clift. Despite many antagonistic forces, these works' protagonists achieve a revolutionary form of narrative centrality through the defiant act of speaking out, recounting their "survival plots," and enduring to the very last page. These feats are made possible through their construction of alternative social structures Sohn calls "inscrutable belongings." Collectively, the texts that Sohn examines bring to mind foundational struggles for queer Asian North Americans (and other socially marginalized groups) and confront a broad range of issues, including interracial desire, the AIDS/HIV epidemic, transnational mobility, and postcolonial trauma. In these texts, Asian North American queer people are often excluded from normative family structures and must contend with multiple histories of oppression, erasure, and physical violence, involving homophobia, racism, and social death. Sohn's work makes clear that for such writers and their imagined communities, questions of survival, kinship, and narrative development are more than representational—they are directly tied to lived experience.
The Mahra people of the southern Arabian Peninsula have no written language but instead possess a rich oral tradition. Samuel Liebhaber takes readers on a tour through their poetry, collected by the author in audio and video recordings over the course of several years. Based on this material, Liebhaber developed a systematic approach to Mahri poetry that challenges genre-based categorizations of oral poetry from the Arabian Peninsula. By taking into account all Mahri poetic expressions—the majority of which don't belong to any of the known genres of Arabian poetry—Liebhaber creates a blueprint for understanding how oral poetry is conceived and composed by native practitioners. Each poem is embedded in a conceptual framework that highlights formal similarities between them and recapitulates how Mahri poets craft poems and how their audiences are primed to receive them. The web-based medium allows users not only to delve into the classification system to explore the diversity and complexity of the Mahra's poetic expressions, but also to experience the formation of a poem in the moment. Through a series of questions designed to define the social context in which a poem is being created, the reader is taken on an experiential tour through the corpus that highlights the embeddedness of poetry in the Mahras' everyday practices.
Narrowcast explores how mid-century American poets associated with the New Left mobilized tape recording as a new form of sonic field research even as they themselves were being subjected to tape-based surveillance. Media theorists tend to understand audio recording as a technique for separating bodies from sounds, but this book listens closely to tape's embedded information, offering a counterintuitive site-specific account of 1960s poetic recordings. Allen Ginsberg, Charles Olson, Larry Eigner, and Amiri Baraka all used recording to contest models of time being put forward by dominant media and the state, exploring non-monumental time and subverting media schedules of work, consumption, leisure, and national crises. Surprisingly, their methods at once dovetailed with those of the state collecting evidence against them and ran up against the same technological limits. Arguing that CIA and FBI "researchers" shared unexpected terrain not only with poets but with famous theorists such as Fredric Jameson and Hayden White, Lytle Shaw reframes the status of tape recordings in postwar poetics and challenges notions of how tape might be understood as a mode of evidence.
Frantz Fanon may be most known for his more obviously political writings, but in the first instance, he was a clinician, a black Caribbean psychiatrist who had the improbable task of treating disturbed and traumatized North African patients during the wars of decolonization. Investigating and foregrounding the clinical system that Fanon devised in an attempt to intervene against negrophobia and anti-blackness, this book rereads his clinical and political work together, arguing that the two are mutually imbricated. For the first time, Fanon's therapeutic innovations are considered along with his more overtly political and cultural writings to ask how the crises of war affected his practice, informed his politics, and shaped his subsequent ideas. As David Marriott suggests, this combination of the clinical and political involves a psychopolitics that is, by definition, complex, difficult, and perpetually challenging. He details this psychopolitics from two points of view, focusing first on Fanon's sociotherapy, its diagnostic methods and concepts, and second, on Fanon's cultural theory more generally. In our present climate of fear and terror over black presence and the violence to which it gives rise, Whither Fanon? reminds us of Fanon's scandalous actuality and of the continued urgency of his message.
This book traces American writers' contributions and responses to the War on Poverty. Its title comes from the 1964 Opportunity Act, which established a network of federally funded Community Action Agencies that encouraged "maximum feasible participation" by the poor. With this phrase, the Johnson administration provided its imprimatur for an emerging model of professionalism that sought to eradicate boundaries between professionals and their clients—a model that appealed to writers, especially African Americans and Chicanos/as associated with the cultural nationalisms gaining traction in the inner cities. These writers privileged artistic process over product, rejecting conventions that separated writers from their audiences. "Participatory professionalism," however, drew on a social scientific conception of poverty that proved to be the paradigm's undoing: the culture of poverty thesis popularized by Oscar Lewis, Michael Harrington, and Daniel Moynihan. For writers and policy experts associated with the War on Poverty, this thesis described the cultural gap that they hoped to close. Instead, it eventually led to the dismantling of the welfare state. Ranging from the 1950s to the present, the book explores how writers like Jack Kerouac, Amiri Baraka, Gwendolyn Brooks, Oscar Zeta Acosta, Alice Walker, Philip Roth, and others exposed the War on Poverty's contradictions during its heyday and kept its legacy alive in the decades that followed.
Uncle Tom charts the dramatic cultural transformation of perhaps the most controversial literary character in American history. From his origins as the heroic, Christ-like protagonist of Harriet Beecher Stowe's anti-slavery novel, the best-selling book of the nineteenth century after the Bible, Uncle Tom has become a widely recognized epithet for a black person deemed so subservient to whites that he betrays his race. Readers have long noted that Stowe's character is not the traitorous sycophant that his name connotes today. Adena Spingarn traces his evolution in the American imagination, offering the first comprehensive account of a figure central to American conversations about race and racial representation from 1852 to the present. We learn of the radical political potential of the novel's many theatrical spinoffs even in the Jim Crow era, Uncle Tom's breezy disavowal by prominent voices of the Harlem Renaissance, and a developing critique of "Uncle Tom roles" in Hollywood. Within the stubborn American binary of black and white, citizens have used this rhetorical figure to debate the boundaries of racial difference and the legacy of slavery. Through Uncle Tom, black Americans have disputed various strategies for racial progress and defined the most desirable and harmful images of black personhood in literature and popular culture.
Challenging the "two cultures" debate, The Experimental Imagination tells the story of how literariness came to be distinguished from its epistemological sibling, science, as a source of truth about the natural and social worlds in the British Enlightenment. Tita Chico shows that early science relied on what she calls literary knowledge to present its experimental findings. More radically, she contends that science was made intellectually possible because its main discoveries and technologies could be articulated in literary terms. While early scientists deployed metaphor to describe the phenomena they defined and imagination to cast themselves as experimentalists, literary writers used scientific metaphors to make the case for the epistemological superiority of literary knowledge. Drawing on literature as well as literary language, tropes, and interpretive methods, literary knowledge challenges our dominant narrative of the scientific revolution as the sine qua non of epistemological innovation in the British Enlightenment. With its recourse to imagination as a more reliable source of truth than any empirical account, literary knowledge facilitates a redefinition of authority and evidence, as well as of the self and society, implicitly articulating the difference that would come to distinguish the arts and sciences.
Other Englands examines the rise of the early English utopia in the context of emergent capitalism. Above all, it asserts that this literary genre was always already an expression of social crisis and economic transition, a context refracted in the origin stories and imagined geographies common to its early modern form. Beginning with the paradigmatic popular utopias of Thomas More and Francis Bacon but attentive to non-canonical examples from the margins of the tradition, the study charts a shifting and, by the time of the English Revolution, self-critical effort to think communities in dynamic socio-spatial forms. Arguing that early utopias have been widely misunderstood and maligned as static, finished polities, Sarah Hogan makes the case that utopian literature offered readers and writers a transformational and transitional social imaginary. She shows how a genre associated with imagining systemic alternatives both contested and contributed to the ideological construction of capitalist imperialism. In the early English utopia, she finds both a precursor to the Enlightenment discourse of political economy and another historical perspective on the beginnings and enduring conflicts of global capital.
Sediments of Time features the most important essays by renowned German historian Reinhart Koselleck not previously available in English, several of them essential to his theory of history. The volume sheds new light on Koselleck's crucial concerns, including his theory of sediments of time; his theory of historical repetition, duration, and acceleration; his encounters with philosophical hermeneutics and political and legal thought; his concern with the limits of historical meaning; and his views on historical commemoration, including that of the Second World War and the Holocaust. A critical introduction addresses some of the challenges and potentials of Koselleck's reception in the Anglophone world.
This book shows how early economic ideas structured Christian thought and society, giving crucial insight into why money holds such power in the West. Examining the religious and theological sources of money's power, it shows how early Christian thinkers borrowed ancient notions of money and economic exchange from the Roman Empire as a basis for their new theological arguments. Monetary metaphors and images, including the minting of coins and debt slavery, provided frameworks for theologians to explain what happens in salvation. God became an economic administrator, for instance, and Christ functioned as a currency to purchase humanity's freedom. Such ideas, in turn, provided models for pastors and Christian emperors as they oversaw both resources and people, which led to new economic conceptions of state administration of populations and conferred a godly aura on the use of money. Divine Currency argues that this longstanding association of money with divine activity has contributed over the centuries to money's ever increasing significance, justifying various forms of politics that manage citizens along the way. Devin Singh's account sheds unexpected light on why we live in a world where nothing seems immune from the price mechanism.
What does it mean to be responsible for our actions? In this brief and elegant study, Giorgio Agamben traces our most profound moral intuitions back to their roots in the sphere of law and punishment. Moral accountability, human free agency, and even the very concept of cause and effect all find their origin in the language of the trial, which Western philosophy and theology both transform into the paradigm for all of human life. In his search for a way out of this destructive paradigm, Agamben not only draws on minority opinions within the Western tradition but engages at length with Buddhist texts and concepts for the first time. In sum, Karman deepens and rearticulates some of Agamben's core insights while breaking significant new ground.
A literary history of the Great Acceleration, Remainders examines an archive of postwar American poetry that reflects on new dimensions of ecological crisis. These poems portray various forms of remainders—from obsolescent goods and waste products to atmospheric pollution and melting glaciers—that convey the ecological consequences of global economic development. While North American ecocriticism has tended to focus on narrative forms in its investigations of environmental consciousness and ethics, Margaret Ronda highlights the ways that poetry explores other dimensions of ecological relationships. The poems she considers engage in more ambivalent ways with the problem of human agency and the limits of individual perception, and they are attuned to the melancholic and damaging aspects of environmental existence in a time of generalized crisis. Her method, which emphasizes the material histories and uneven effects of capitalist development, models a unique critical approach to understanding the causes and conditions of ongoing biospheric catastrophe.
What happens to books as they live in our long-term memory? Why do we find some books entertaining and others not? And how does literary influence work on writers in different ways? Grounded in the findings of empirical psychology, this book amends classic reader-response theory and attends to neglected aspects of reading that cannot be explained by traditional literary criticism. Reading arises from a combination of two kinds of mental work: automatic and controlled processes. Automatic processes, such as the ability to see visual symbols as words, are the result of constant practice; controlled processes, such as predicting what might occur next in a story, arise from readers' conscious use of skills and background knowledge. When we read, automatic and controlled processes work together to create the "gist" of reading, the constant interplay between these two kinds of processes. Andrew Elfenbein not only explains how we read today, but also uses current knowledge about reading to consider readers of past centuries, arguing that understanding gist is central to interpreting the social, psychological, and political impact of literary works. The result is the first major revisionary account of reading practices in literary criticism since the 1970s.
This book fundamentally rethinks a pervasive and controversial concept in literary criticism and the history of ideas. Primitivism has long been accepted as a transhistorical tendency of the "civilized" to idealize that primitive condition against which they define themselves. In the modern era, this has been a matter of the "West" projecting its primitivist fantasies onto non-Western "others." Arguing instead that primitivism was an aesthetic mode produced in reaction to the apotheosis of European imperialism, and that the most intensively primitivist literary works were produced by imperialism's colonized subjects, the book overturns basic assumptions of the last two generations of literary scholarship. Against the grain, Ben Etherington contends that primitivism was an important, if vexed, utopian project rather than a form of racist discourse, a mode that emerged only when modern capitalism was at the point of subsuming all human communities into itself. The primitivist project was an attempt, through art, to recreate a "primitive" condition then perceived to be at its vanishing point. The first overview of this vast topic in forty years, Literary Primitivism maps out previous scholarly paradigms, provides a succinct and readable account of its own methodology, and presents critical readings of key writers, including Aimé Césaire, Frantz Fanon, D. H. Lawrence, and Claude McKay.
For more than three decades, preeminent scholars in comparative literature and postcolonial studies have called for a return to philology as the indispensable basis of critical method in the humanities. Against such calls, this book argues that the privilege philology has always enjoyed within the modern humanities silently reinforces a colonial hierarchy. In fact, each of philology's foundational innovations originally served British rule in India. Tracing an unacknowledged history that extends from British Orientalist Sir William Jones to Palestinian American intellectual Edward Said and beyond, Archaeology of Babel excavates the epistemic transformation that was engendered on a global scale by the colonial reconstruction of native languages, literatures, and law. In the process, it reveals the extent to which even postcolonial studies and European philosophy—not to mention discourses as disparate as Islamic fundamentalism, Hindu nationalism, and global environmentalism—are the progeny of colonial rule. Going further, it unearths the alternate concepts of language and literature that were lost along the way and issues its own call for humanists to reckon with the politics of the philological practices to which they now return.
Over the course of the twentieth and twenty-first centuries, Mexican American and African American cultural productions have seen a proliferation of upward mobility narratives: plotlines that describe desires for financial solvency, middle-class status, and social incorporation. Yet the terms "middle class" and "upward mobility"—often associated with assimilation, selling out, or political conservatism—can hold negative connotations in literary and cultural studies. Surveying literature, film, and television from the 1940s to the 2000s, Elda María Román brings forth these narratives, untangling how they present the intertwined effects of capitalism and white supremacy. Race and Upward Mobility examines how class and ethnicity serve as forms of currency in American literature, affording people of color material and symbolic wages as they traverse class divisions. Identifying four recurring character types—status seekers, conflicted artists, mediators, and gatekeepers—that appear across genres, Román traces how each models a distinct strategy for negotiating race and class. Her comparative analysis sheds light on the overlaps and misalignments, the shared narrative strategies, and the historical trajectories of Mexican American and African American texts, bringing both groups' works into sharper relief. Her study advances both a new approach to ethnic literary studies and a more nuanced understanding of the class-based complexities of racial identity.
Stories abound of immigrant Jews on the outside looking in, clambering up the ladder of social mobility, successfully assimilating and integrating into their new worlds. But this book is not about the success stories. It's a paean to the bunglers, the blockheads, and the just plain weird—Jews who were flung from small, impoverished eastern European towns into the urban shtetls of New York and Warsaw, where, as they say in Yiddish, their bread landed butter side down in the dirt. These marginal Jews may have found their way into the history books far less frequently than their more socially upstanding neighbors, but there's one place you can find them in force: in the Yiddish newspapers that had their heyday from the 1880s to the 1930s. Disaster, misery, and misfortune: you will find no better chronicle of the daily ignominies of urban Jewish life than in the pages of the Yiddish press. An underground history of downwardly mobile Jews, Bad Rabbi exposes the seamy underbelly of pre-WWII New York and Warsaw, the two major centers of Yiddish culture in the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries. With true stories plucked from the pages of the Yiddish papers, Eddy Portnoy introduces us to the drunks, thieves, murderers, wrestlers, poets, and beauty queens whose misadventures were immortalized in print. There's the Polish rabbi blackmailed by an American widow, mass brawls at weddings and funerals, a psychic who specialized in locating missing husbands, and violent gangs of Jewish mothers on the prowl—in short, not quite the Jews you'd expect. One part Isaac Bashevis Singer, one part Jerry Springer, this irreverent, unvarnished, and frequently hilarious compendium of stories provides a window into an unknown Yiddish world that was.
This book is the story of the emergence and development of writing for children in modern Korea. Starting in the 1920s, a narrator-adult voice began to speak directly to a child-reader. This child audience was perceived as unique because of a new concept: the child-heart, the perception that the child's body and mind were transparent and knowable, and that they rested on the threshold of culture. This privileged location enabled writers and illustrators, educators and psychologists, intellectual elite and laypersons to envision the child as a powerful antidote to the present and as an uplifting metaphor of colonial Korea's future. Reading children's periodicals against the political, educational, and psychological discourses of their time, Dafna Zur argues that the figure of the child was particularly favorable to the project of modernity and nation-building, as well as to the colonial and postcolonial projects of socialization and nationalization. She demonstrates the ways in which Korean children's literature builds on a trajectory that begins with the child as an organic part of nature, and ends, in the post-colonial era, with the child as the primary agent of control of nature. Figuring Korean Futures reveals the complex ways in which the figure of the child became a driving force of nostalgia that stood in for future aspirations for the individual, family, class, and nation.
This book returns to a time and place when the concept of transparency was met with deep suspicion. It offers a panorama of postwar French thought where attempts to show the perils of transparency in politics, ethics, and knowledge led to major conceptual inventions, many of which we now take for granted. Between 1945 and 1985, academics, artists, revolutionaries, and state functionaries spoke of transparency in pejorative terms. Associating it with the prying eyes of totalitarian governments, they undertook a critical project against it—in education, policing, social psychology, economic policy, and the management of information. Focusing on Sartre, Lacan, Canguilhem, Lévi-Strauss, Leroi-Gourhan, Foucault, Derrida, and others, Transparency in Postwar France explores the work of ethicists, who proposed that individuals are transparent neither to each other nor to themselves, and philosophers, who clamored for new epistemological foundations. These decades saw the emergence of the colonial and phenomenological "other," the transformation of ideas of normality, and the effort to overcome Enlightenment-era humanisms and violence in the name of freedom. These thinkers' innovations remain centerpieces for any resistance to contemporary illusions that tolerate or enable power and social coercion.
This book argues for a deconstructive approach to the practice and writing of history at a moment when available forms for writing and publishing history are undergoing radical transformation. To do so, it explores the legacy and impact of deconstruction on American historical work; the current fetishization of lived experience, materialism, and the "real;" new trends in philosophy of history; and the persistence of ontological realism as the dominant mode of thought for conventional historians. Arguing that this ontological realist mode of thinking is reinforced by current analog publishing practices, Ethan Kleinberg advocates for a hauntological approach to history that follows the work of Jacques Derrida and embraces a past that is at once present and absent, available and restricted, rather than a fixed and static snapshot of a moment in time. This polysemic understanding of the past as multiple and conflicting, he maintains, is what makes the deconstructive approach to the past particularly well suited to new digital forms of historical writing and presentation.
Giorgio Agamben's Homo Sacer is one of the seminal works of political philosophy in recent decades. A twenty-year undertaking, this project is a series of interconnected investigations of staggering ambition and scope investigating the deepest foundations of every major Western institution and discourse. This single book brings together for the first time all nine volumes that make up this groundbreaking project. Each volume takes a seemingly obscure and outdated issue as its starting point—an enigmatic figure in Roman law, or medieval debates about God's management of creation, or theories about the origin of the oath—but is always guided by questions with urgent contemporary relevance. The Omnibus Homo Sacer includes: 1.Homo Sacer: Sovereign Power and Bare Life 2.1.State of Exception 2.2.Stasis: Civil War as a Political Paradigm 2.3.The Sacrament of Language: An Archeology of the Oath 2.4.The Kingdom and the Glory: For a Theological Genealogy of Economy and Glory 2.5.Opus Dei: An Archeology of Duty 3.Remnants of Auschwitz: The Witness and the Archive 4.1.The Highest Poverty: Monastic Rules and Form-of-Life 4.2.The Use of Bodies
Written in pieces over the last fifteen years of his life and published posthumously, S. Y. Agnon's A City in Its Fullness is an ambitious, historically rich sequence of stories memorializing Buczacz, the city of his birth. This town in present-day Ukraine was once home to a vibrant Jewish population that was destroyed twice over—in the First World War and again in the Holocaust. Agnon's epic story cycle, however, focuses not on the particulars of destruction, but instead reimagines the daily lives of Buczacz's Jewish citizens, vividly preserving the vanished world of early modern Jewry. Ancestral Tales shows how this collection marks a critical juncture within the Agnon canon. Through close readings of the stories against a shifting historical backdrop, Alan Mintz presents a multilayered history of the town, along with insight into Agnon's fictional transformations. Mintz relates these narrative strategies to catastrophe literature from earlier periods of Jewish history, showing how Agnon's Buczacz is a literary achievement at once innovative in its form of remembrance and deeply rooted in Jewish tradition.
This book challenges the ways we read, write, store, and retrieve information in the digital age. Computers—from electronic books to smart phones—play an active role in our social lives. Our technological choices thus entail theoretical and political commitments. Dennis Tenen takes up today's strange enmeshing of humans, texts, and machines to argue that our most ingrained intuitions about texts are profoundly alienated from the physical contexts of their intellectual production. Drawing on a range of primary sources from both literary theory and software engineering, he makes a case for a more transparent practice of human–computer interaction. Plain Text is thus a rallying call, a frame of mind as much as a file format. It reminds us, ultimately, that our devices also encode specific modes of governance and control that must remain available to interpretation.
Rather than see love as a natural form of affection, Love As Human Freedom sees love as a practice that changes over time through which new social realities are brought into being. Love brings about, and helps us to explain, immense social-historical shifts—from the rise of feminism and the emergence of bourgeois family life, to the struggles for abortion rights and birth control and the erosion of a gender-based division of labor. Drawing on Hegel, Paul A. Kottman argues that love generates and explains expanded possibilities for freely lived lives. Through keen interpretations of the best known philosophical and literary depictions of its topic—including Shakespeare, Plato, Nietzsche, Ovid, Flaubert, and Tolstoy—his book treats love as a fundamental way that we humans make sense of temporal change, especially the inevitability of death and the propagation of life.
Through close engagement with the work of Wordsworth, Austen, and Byron, The History of Missed Opportunities posits that the everyday first emerged as a distinct category of experience, or first became thinkable, in the Romantic period. Conceived here as something overlooked and only noticed in retrospect, the everyday not only becomes subject matter for Romanticism, it also structures Romantic poetry, prose, and writing habits. Because the everyday is not noticed the first time around, it comes to be thought of as a missed opportunity, a possible world that was not experienced or taken advantage of and of whose history—or lack thereof—writers become acutely conscious. Consciousness of the everyday also entails a new relationship to time, as the Romantics turn to the history of what might have been. In recounting Romanticism's interest in making things recurrently present, in recovering a past of what was close at hand yet underappreciated, William H. Galperin positions the Romantics as precursors to twentieth-century thinkers of the everyday, including Heidegger, Benjamin, Lefebvre, and Cavell. He attends to Romantic discourse that works at cross purposes with standard accounts of both Romanticism and Romantic subjectivity. Instead of individualizing or turning inward, the Romantics' own discourse depersonalizes or exhibits a confrontation with thing-ness and the material world.
A novel account of the relationship between postindustrial capitalism and postmodern culture, this book looks at American poetry and art of the last fifty years in light of the massive changes in people's working lives. Over the last few decades, we have seen the shift from an economy based on the production of goods to one based on the provision of services, the entry of large numbers of women into the workforce, and the emergence of new digital technologies that have transformed the way people work. The Work of Art in the Age of Deindustrialization argues that art and literature not only reflected the transformation of the workplace but anticipated and may have contributed to it as well, providing some of the terms through which resistance to labor was expressed. As firms continue to tout creativity and to reorganize in response to this resistance, they increasingly rely on models of labor that derive from values and ideas found in the experimental poetry and conceptual art of decades past.
Sonic Intimacy asks us who—or what—deserves to have a voice, beyond the human. Arguing that our ears are far too narrowly attuned to our own species, the book explores four different types of voices: the cybernetic, the gendered, the creaturely, and the ecological. Through both a conceptual framework and a series of case studies, Dominic Pettman tracks some of the ways in which these voices intersect and interact. He demonstrates how intimacy is forged through the ear, perhaps even more than through any other sense, mode, or medium. The voice, then, is what creates intimacy, both fleeting and lasting, not only between people, but also between animals, machines, and even natural elements: those presumed not to have a voice in the first place. Taken together, the manifold, material, actual voices of the world, whether primarily natural or technological, are a complex cacophony that is desperately trying to tell us something about the rapidly failing health of the planet and its inhabitants. As Pettman cautions, we would do well to listen.
What is at stake in literature? Can we identify the fire that our stories have lost, but that they strive, at all costs, to rediscover? And what is the philosopher's stone that writers, with the passion of alchemists, struggle to forge in their word furnaces? For Giorgio Agamben, who suggests that the parable is the secret model of all narrative, every act of creation tenaciously resists creation, thereby giving each work its strength and grace. The ten essays brought together here cover works by figures ranging from Aristotle to Paul Klee and illustrate what urgently drives Agamben's current research. As is often the case with his writings, their especial focus is the mystery of literature, of reading and writing, and of language as a laboratory for conceiving an ethico-political perspective that places us beyond sovereign power.
From the Renaissance on, a new concept of the frame becomes crucial to a range of artistic media, which in turn are organized around and fascinated by this frame. The frame decontextualizes, cutting everything that is within it from the continuity of the world and creating a realm we understand as the realm of fiction. The modern theatrical stage, framed paintings, the novel, the cinematic screen—all present us with such framed-off zones. Naturally, the frame creates a separation between inside and out. But, as this book argues, what is outside the frame, what is offstage, or off screen, remains particularly mysterious. It constitutes the primary enigma of the work of art in the modern age. It is to the historical and conceptual significance of this "off" that this book is dedicated. By focusing on what is outside the frame of a work of art, it offers a comprehensive theory of film, a concise history of American cinema from D.W. Griffith to Quentin Tarantino, and a reflection on the place and significance of film within the arts of modernity in general.
An internationally famous philosopher and best-selling author during his lifetime, Georg Simmel has been marginalized in contemporary intellectual and cultural history. This neglect belies his pathbreaking role in revealing the theoretical significance of phenomena—including money, gender, urban life, and technology—that subsequently became established arenas of inquiry in cultural theory. It further ignores his philosophical impact on thinkers as diverse as Benjamin, Musil, and Heidegger. Integrating intellectual biography, philosophical interpretation, and a critical examination of the history of academic disciplines, this book restores Simmel to his rightful place as a major figure and challenges the frameworks through which his contributions to modern thought have been at once remembered and forgotten.
If America is a nation founded upon Enlightenment ideals, then why are so many of its most celebrated pieces of literature so dark? American Terror returns to the question of American literature's distinctive tone of terror through a close study of three authors—Jonathan Edwards, Edgar Allan Poe, and Herman Melville—who not only wrote works of terror, but who defended, theorized, and championed it. Combining updated historical perspectives with close reading, Paul Hurh shows how these authors developed terror as a special literary affect informed by the way the concept of thinking becomes, in the wake of Enlightenment empiricism, increasingly defined by a set of austere mechanic processes, such as the scientific method and the algebraic functions of analytical logic. Rather than trying to find a feeling that would transcend thinking by subtending reason to emotion, these writers found in terror the feeling of thinking, the peculiar feeling of reason's authority over emotional schemes. In so doing, they grappled with a shared set of enduring questions: What is the difference between thinking and feeling? Why does it seem impossible to reason oneself out of an irrational fear? And what becomes of the freedom of the will when we discover that affects can push it around?
This sharp, witty study of a book never written, a sequel to Walter Benjamin's Arcades Project, is dedicated to New York City, capital of the twentieth century. A sui generis work of experimental scholarship or fictional philosophy, it analyzes an imaginary manuscript composed by a ghost. Part sprawling literary montage, part fragmentary theory of modernity, part implosive manifesto on the urban revolution, The Manhattan Project offers readers New York as a landscape built of sheer life. It initiates them into a world of secret affinities between photography and graffiti, pragmatism and minimalism, Andy Warhol and Robert Moses, Hannah Arendt and Jane Jacobs, the flâneur and the homeless person, the collector and the hoarder, the glass-covered arcade and the bare, concrete street. These and many other threads can all be spooled back into one realization: for far too long, we have busied ourselves with thinking about ways to change the city; it is about time we let the city change the way we think.
Transatlantic studies have begun to explore the lasting influence of Spain on its former colonies and the surviving ties between the American nations and Spain. In Monsters by Trade, Lisa Surwillo takes a different approach, explaining how modern Spain was literally made by its Cuban colony. Long after the transatlantic slave trade had been abolished, Spain continued to smuggle thousands of Africans annually to Cuba to work the sugar plantations. Nearly a third of the royal income came from Cuban sugar, and these profits underwrote Spain's modernization even as they damaged its international standing. Surwillo analyzes a sampling of nineteenth-century Spanish literary works that reflected metropolitan fears of the hold that slave traders (and the slave economy more generally) had over the political, cultural, and financial networks of power. She also examines how the nineteenth-century empire and the role of the slave trader are commemorated in contemporary tourism and literature in various regions in Northern Spain. This is the first book to demonstrate the centrality of not just Cuba, but the illicit transatlantic slave trade to the cultural life of modern Spain.
This book contends that mainstream considerations of the economic and social force of culture, including theories of the creative class and of cognitive and immaterial labor, are indebted to historic conceptions of the art of literary authorship. It shows how contemporary literature has been involved in and has responded to creative-economy phenomena, including the presentation of artists as models of contentedly flexible and self-managed work, the treatment of training in and exposure to art as a pathway to social inclusion, the use of culture and cultural institutions to increase property values, and support for cultural diversity as a means of growing cultural markets. Contemporary writers have tended to explore how their own critical capacities have become compatible with or even essential to a neoliberal economy that has embraced art's autonomous gestures as proof that authentic self-articulation and social engagement can and should occur within capitalism. Taking a sociological approach to literary criticism, Sarah Brouillette interprets major works of contemporary fiction by Monica Ali, Aravind Adiga, Daljit Nagra, and Ian McEwan alongside government policy, social science, and theoretical explorations of creative work and immaterial labor.