A trove of traditional lore, it tells of love, jealousy, vengeance, war, and the mythic deeds of the dragonslayer, Sigurd the Volsung.
Byock's comprehensive introduction explores the history, legends, and myths contained in the saga and traces the development of a narrative that reaches back to the period of the great folk migrations in Europe when the Roman Empire collapsed.
Vanessa R. Schwartz examines the explosive popularity of such phenomena as the boulevards, the mass press, public displays of corpses at the morgue, wax museums, panoramas, and early film. Drawing on a wide range of written and visual materials, including private and business archives, and working at the intersections of art history, literature, and cinema studies, Schwartz argues that "spectacular realities" are part of the foundation of modern mass society. She refutes the notion that modern life produced an unending parade of distractions leading to alienation, and instead suggests that crowds gathered not as dislocated spectators but as members of a new kind of crowd, one united in pleasure rather than protest.
Yellow stigmatization has had a long history: it goes back to the Middle Ages when Jews and prostitutes were forced to wear yellow signs to emphasize their marginal status. Although scholars have commented on these associations in particular contexts, Sabine Doran offers the first overarching account of how yellow connects disparate cultural phenomena, such as turn-of-the-century decadence (the "yellow nineties"), the rise of mass media ("yellow journalism"), mass immigration from Asia ("the yellow peril"), and mass stigmatization (the yellow star that Jews were forced to wear in Nazi Germany).
The Culture of Yellow combines cultural history with innovative readings of literary texts and visual artworks, providing a multilayered account of the unique role played by the color yellow in late nineteenth- and twentieth-century American and European culture.
In Translator, Trader, Douglas Hofstadter reflects on his personal act of devotion in rewriting Françoise Sagan’s novel La Chamade in English, and on the paradoxes that constantly plague any literary translator on all scales, ranging from the humblest of commas to entire chapters. Flatly rejecting the common wisdom that translators are inevitably traitors, Hofstadter proposes instead that translators are traders, and that translation, like musical performance, deserves high respect as a creative act. In his view, literary translation is the art of making subtle trades in which one sometimes loses and sometimes gains, often both losing and gaining at the same time. This view implies that there is no reason a translation cannot be as good as the original work, and that the result inevitably bears the stamp of the translator, much as a musical performance inevitably bears the stamp of its artists. Both a companion to the beloved Sagan novel and a singular meditation on translation, Translator, Trader is a witty and intimate exploration of words, ideas, communication, creation, and faithfulness.
“There is much to like about a book which
gets real about the male anus as a site of penetrability which is not
reducible to discourses of feminization, phallicization or psychosis.
With real panache and poetic flair, it returns us to an earlier moment
in queer theoretical discourse we would associate with Lee Edelman’s Homographesis (easily the best book ever written in queer theory and every page of The Penetrated Male reminded me of it), Calvin Thomas’ Male Matters,
and Leo Bersani’s “Is the Rectum a Grave?” Given the recent
squeamishness … in queer theoretical circles about shit, anality, and
penetrability, there is real value (and it is not some sort of nostalgia
for an earlier moment we might want to get back to) in this book which never shies away from any of these matters. As embodied and eroticized theory, it fills a much needed hole in contemporary discourse about the male body. It is a book I should like to have written.”
~ Michael O’Rourke
Through nuanced readings of a handful of modernist texts (Baudelaire, Huysmans, Wilde, Genet, Joyce, and Schreber’s Memoirs),
this book explores and interrogates the figure of the penetrated male
body, developing the concept of the behind as a site of both fascination
and fear. Deconstructing the penetrated male body and the genderisation
of its representation, The Penetrated Male offers new
understandings of passivity, suggesting that the modern masculine
subject is predicated on a penetrability it must always disavow. Arguing
that representation is the embodiment of erotic thought, it is an
important contribution to queer theory and our understandings of
In tracing the circulation of the Hayy Ibn-Yaqzān, Ben-Zaken highlights its key place in four far-removed historical moments. He explains how autodidacticism intertwined with struggles over mysticism in twelfth-century Marrakesh, controversies about pedagogy in fourteenth-century Barcelona, quarrels concerning astrology in Renaissance Florence, and debates pertaining to experimentalism in seventeenth-century Oxford. In each site and period, Ben-Zaken recaptures the cultural context that stirred scholars to relate to Ḥayy Ibn-Yaqẓān and demonstrates how the text moved among cultures, leaving in its wake translations, interpretations, and controversies as various as the societies themselves. Pleas for autodidacticism, Ben-Zaken shows, not only echoed within close philosophical discussions; they surfaced in struggles for control between individuals and establishments.
Presented as self-contained histories, these four moments together form a historical collage of autodidacticism across cultures from the late Medieval era to early modern times. The first book-length intellectual history of autodidacticism, this novel, thought-provoking work will interest a wide range of historians, including scholars of the history of science, philosophy, literature, Europe, and the Middle East.
"In the spirit of Julian Barnes's Flaubert's Parrot and Alain de Botton's How Proust Can Change Your Life, Mr. Dyer's Out of Sheer Rage keeps circling its subject in widening loops and then darting at it when you least expect it . . . a wild book."--Christopher Lehmann-Haupt, The New York Times
Geoff Dyer was a talented young writer, full of energy and reverence for the craft, and determined to write a study of D. H. Lawrence. But he was also thinking about a novel, and about leaving Paris, and maybe moving in with his girlfriend in Rome, or perhaps traveling around for a while. Out of Sheer Rage is Dyer's account of his struggle to write the Lawrence book--a portrait of a man tormented, exhilarated, and exhausted. Dyer travels all over the world, grappling not only with his fascinating subject but with all the glorious distractions and needling anxieties that define the life of a writer.
Boyd confronts Nabokov's life, career, and legacy; his art, science, and thought; his subtle humor and puzzle-like storytelling; his complex psychological portraits; and his inheritance from, reworking of, or affinities with Shakespeare, Pushkin, Tolstoy, and Machado de Assis. Boyd offers new ways of reading Nabokov's best English-language work: Lolita, Pale Fire, Ada, and the unparalleled autobiography, Speak, Memory, and he discloses otherwise unknown information about the author's world. Sharing his personal reflections, Boyd recounts the adventures, hardships, and revelations of researching Nabokov's biography and his unusual finds in the archives, including materials still awaiting publication. The first to focus on Nabokov's metaphysics, Boyd in fact downplays their importance, instead emphasizing the author's humor, reinvention of narrative possibility, and psychological renderings of various characters to unlock the greater mysteries. Reading Nabokov as novelist, memoirist, poet, translator, scientist, and individual, Boyd further immortalizes his far-reaching, versatile talents.
The Dead Ladies Project is an account of that journey—but it’s also much, much more. Fascinated by exile, Crispin travels an itinerary of key locations in its literary map, of places that have drawn writers who needed to break free from their origins and start afresh. As she reflects on William James struggling through despair in Berlin, Nora Barnacle dependant on and dependable for James Joyce in Trieste, Maud Gonne fomenting revolution and fostering myth in Dublin, or Igor Stravinsky starting over from nothing in Switzerland, Crispin interweaves biography, incisive literary analysis, and personal experience into a rich meditation on the complicated interactions of place, personality, and society that can make escape and reinvention such an attractive, even intoxicating proposition.
Personal and profane, funny and fervent, The Dead Ladies Project ranges from the nineteenth century to the present, from historical figures to brand-new hangovers, in search, ultimately, of an answer to a bedrock question: How does a person decide how to live their life?
Examining a variety of media ranging from scientific writings to literature and the visual arts, the authors trace gendered discourses as they developed to make sense of and regulate emerging new images of femininity. Besides treating classic films such as Metropolis and Berlin: Symphony of a Great City, the articles discuss other forms of mass culture, including the fashion industry and the revue performances of Josephine Baker. Their emphasis on women's critical involvement in the construction of their own modernity illustrates the significance of the Weimar cultural experience and its relevance to contemporary gender, German, film, and cultural studies.
European Literature and the Latin Middle Ages is a monumental work of literary scholarship. In a new introduction, Colin Burrow provides critical insights into Curtius's life and ideas and highlights the distinctive importance of this wonderful book.
In presenting his arguments, Boyd shows how Nabokov designed Pale Fire for readers to make surprising discoveries on a first reading and even more surprising discoveries on subsequent readings by following carefully prepared clues within the novel. Boyd leads the reader step-by-step through the book, gradually revealing the profound relationship between Nabokov's ethics, aesthetics, epistemology, and metaphysics. If Nabokov has generously planned the novel to be accessible on a first reading and yet to incorporate successive vistas of surprise, Boyd argues, it is because he thinks a deep generosity lies behind the inexhaustibility, complexity, and mystery of the world. Boyd also shows how Nabokov's interest in discovery springs in part from his work as a scientist and scholar, and draws comparisons between the processes of readerly and scientific discovery.
This is a profound, provocative, and compelling reinterpretation of one of the greatest novels of the twentieth century.
A long overdue critical look at a significant strain of the twentieth-century avant-garde, 'Pataphysics: The Poetics of Imaginary Science raises important historical, cultural, and theoretical issues germane to the production and reception of poetry, the ways we think about, write, and read it, and the sorts of claims it makes upon our understanding.
Jameson supports his thesis by looking closely at the nature of interpretation. Our understanding, he says, is colored by the concepts and categories that we inherit from our culture's interpretive tradition and that we use to comprehend what we read. How then can the literature of other ages be understood by readers from a present that is culturally so different from the past? Marxism lies at the foundation of Jameson's answer, because it conceives of history as a single collective narrative that links past and present; Marxist literary criticism reveals the unity of that uninterrupted narrative.
Jameson applies his interpretive theory to nineteenth- and twentieth-century texts, including the works of Balzac, Gissing, and Conrad. Throughout, he considers other interpretive approaches to the works he discusses, assessing the importance and limitations of methods as different as Lacanian psychoanalysis, semiotics, dialectical analysis, and allegorical readings. The book as a whole raises directly issues that have been only implicit in Jameson's earlier work, namely the relationship between dialectics and structuralism, and the tension between the German and the French aesthetic traditions.
The Political Unconscious is a masterly introduction to both the method and the practice of Marxist criticism. Defining a mode of criticism and applying it successfully to individual works, it bridges the gap between theoretical speculation and textual analysis.
Nancy Cunard (1896-1965) led a life that surpasses Hollywood fantasy. The only child of an English baronet (and heir to the Cunard shipping fortune) and an American beauty, Cunard abandoned the world of a celebrated socialite and Jazz Age icon to pursue a lifelong battle against social injustice as a wartime journalist, humanitarian aid worker, and civil rights champion.
Cunard fought fascism on the battlefields of Spain and reported firsthand on the atrocities of the French concentration camps. Intelligent and beautiful, she romanced the great writers of her era, including three Nobel Prize winners, and was the inspiration for characters in the works of Ezra Pound, T. S. Eliot, Aldous Huxley, Pablo Neruda, Samuel Beckett, and Ernest Hemingway, among others.
Cunard was also a prolific poet, publisher, and translator and, after falling in love with a black American jazz pianist, became deeply committed to fighting for black rights. She edited the controversial anthology Negro, the first comprehensive study of the achievement and plight of blacks around the world. Her contributors included Langston Hughes, W. E. B. Du Bois, and Zora Neale Hurston, among scores of others.
Cunard's personal life was as complex as her public persona. Her involvement with the civil rights movement led her to be ridiculed and rejected by both family and friends. Throughout her life, she was plagued by insecurities and suffered a series of breakdowns, struggling with a sense of guilt over her promiscuous behavior and her ability to survive so much war and tragedy. Yet Cunard's writings also reveal an immense kindness and wit, as well as her renowned, often flamboyant defiance of prejudiced social conventions.
Drawing on diaries, correspondence, historical accounts, and the remembrances of others, Lois Gordon revisits the major movements of the first half of the twentieth century through the life of a truly gifted and extraordinary woman. She also returns Nancy Cunard to her rightful place as a major figure in the historical, social, and artistic events of a critical era.
In a careful unraveling of the fabulous and the false, Eco shows us how serendipities—unanticipated truths—often spring from mistaken ideas. From Leibniz's belief that the I Ching illustrated the principles of calculus to Marco Polo's mistaking a rhinoceros for a unicorn, Eco tours the labyrinth of intellectual history, illuminating the ways in which we project the familiar onto the strange.
Eco uncovers a rich history of linguistic endeavor—much of it ill-conceived—that sought to "heal the wound of Babel." Through the Middle Ages and the Renaissance, Greek, Hebrew, Chinese, and Egyptian were alternately proclaimed as the first language that God gave to Adam, while—in keeping with the colonial climate of the time—the complex language of the Amerindians in Mexico was viewed as crude and diabolical. In closing, Eco considers the erroneous notion of linguistic perfection and shrewdly observes that the dangers we face lie not in the rules we use to interpret other cultures but in our insistence on making these rules absolute.
With the startling combination of erudition and wit, bewildering anecdotes and scholarly rigor that are Eco's hallmarks, Serendipities is sure to entertain and enlighten any reader with a passion for the curious history of languages and ideas.
In choosing to write in rhymed octosyllabic couplets–Chrétien's prosodic pattern–Dorothy Gilbert has tried to reproduce what so often gets lost in prose or free verse translations: the precise and delicate meter; the rhyme, with its rich possibilities for emphasis, nuance, puns and jokes; and the "mantic power" implicit in proper names. The result will enable the scholar who cannot read Old French, the student of literature, and the general reader to gain a more sensitive and immediate understanding of the form and spirit of Chrétien's poetry, and to appreciate the more Chrétien's great contribution to European literature.
This 320-page issue contains creative and critical responses to her fiction, theory, and criticism, written with an eye to the general literary reader unfamiliar with her output, but with enough homage, parody, imitation, and analysis to excite her devoted fan base.