In The Violet Hour, Katie Roiphe takes an unexpected and liberating approach to the most unavoidable of subjects. She investigates the last days of six great thinkers, writers, and artists as they come to terms with the reality of approaching death, or what T. S. Eliot called “the evening hour that strives Homeward, and brings the sailor home from sea.”
Roiphe draws on her own extraordinary research and access to the family, friends, and caretakers of her subjects. Here is Susan Sontag, the consummate public intellectual, who finds her commitment to rational thinking tested during her third bout with cancer. Roiphe takes us to the hospital room where, after receiving the worst possible diagnosis, seventy-six-year-old John Updike begins writing a poem. She vividly re-creates the fortnight of almost suicidal excess that culminated in Dylan Thomas’s fatal collapse at the Chelsea Hotel. She gives us a bracing portrait of Sigmund Freud fleeing Nazi-occupied Vienna only to continue in his London exile the compulsive cigar smoking that he knows will hasten his decline. And she shows us how Maurice Sendak’s beloved books for children are infused with his lifelong obsession with death, if you know where to look.
The Violet Hour is a book filled with intimate and surprising revelations. In the final acts of each of these creative geniuses are examples of courage, passion, self-delusion, pointless suffering, and superb devotion. There are also moments of sublime insight and understanding where the mind creates its own comfort. As the author writes, “If it’s nearly impossible to capture the approach of death in words, who would have the most hope of doing it?” By bringing these great writers’ final days to urgent, unsentimental life, Katie Roiphe helps us to look boldly in the face of death and be less afraid.
Praise for The Violet Hour
“A beautiful book . . . The intensity of these passages—the depth of research, the acute sensitivity for declarative moments—is deeply beguiling.”—The New York Times Book Review
“Profound, poetic and—yes—comforting.”—People
“Unconventional, engaging . . . [The Violet Hour] is at once scholarly, literary, juicy—and unabashedly personal.”—Los Angeles Times
“Enveloping . . . I read it in bed, at the kitchen table, while walking down the street. . . . ‘What normal person wants to blunder into this hushed and sacred space?’ she asks. But the answer is all of us, and Ms. Roiphe does it with grace.”—Jennifer Senior, The New York Times
“A beautiful and provocative meditation on mortality.”—Minneapolis Star Tribune
“A tender yet penetrating look at the final days . . . Roiphe has always seemed to me a writer to envy. No matter what the occasion, she can be counted on to marry ferocity and erudition in ways that nearly always make her interesting.”—The Wall Street Journal
“Here is a critic in supreme control of her gifts, whose gift to us is the observant vigor that refuses to flinch before the Reaper. . . . She knows that true criticism does not bother with the mollification of delicate sensibilities, only with the intellect as it roils and rollicks through language.”—William Giraldi, The New Republic
From the Hardcover edition.
Wheelock’s Latin 7th Edition retains its signature core of authentic Latin readings—curated from the works of Cicero, Vergil, and other major Roman authors of classical literature, drama, and poetry, as well as inscriptions, artifacts, and even authentic graffiti—that demonstrate the ancient Romans’ everyday use of Latin: Latin as a living language.
With expanded English-Latin/Latin-English vocabulary sections, tightly retooled comprehension and discussion questions, self-tutorial exercises, translation tips, etymological aids, maps, and dozens of photos and illustrations that capture aspects of classical culture and mythology, Wheelock’s Latin 7th Edition is the essential resource for students beginning their journey into the heart of the classical world.
--The Washington Post
In our zeal to embrace the wonders of the electronic age, are we sacrificing our literary culture? Renowned critic Sven Birkerts believes the answer is an alarming yes. In The Gutenberg Elegies, he explores the impact of technology on the experience of reading. Drawing on his own passionate, lifelong love of books, Birkerts examines how literature intimately shapes and nourishes the inner life. What does it mean to "hear" a book on audiotape, decipher its words on a screen, or interact with it on CD-ROM? Are books as we know them dead?
At once a celebration of the complex pleasures of reading and a boldly original challenge to the new information technologies, The Gutenberg Elegies is an essential volume for anyone who cares about the past and future of books.
"[A] wise and humane book....He is telling us, in short, nothing less than what reading means and why it matters."
--The Boston Sunday Globe
"Warmly elegiac...A candid and engaging autobiographical account sketches his own almost obsessive trajectory through avid childhood reading....This profoundly reflexive process is skillfully described."
--The New York Times Book Review
"Provocative...Compelling...Powerfully conveys why reading matters, why it is both a delight and a necessity."
--The Harvard Review
Rare Birds of North America provides unparalleled insights into vagrancy and avian migration, and will enrich the birding experience of anyone interested in finding and observing rare birds.Covers 262 species of vagrant birds found in the United States and Canada Features 275 stunning color plates that depict every species Explains patterns of occurrence by region and season Provides an invaluable overview of vagrancy patterns and migration Includes detailed species accounts and cutting-edge identification tips
Rich with new insights into urban literacy and conceptions of reading, this book explores the controversy that ensued over the alleged discovery of Augustine's bones. Manuscripts, broadsides, pamphlets -even whole books-were devoted to proving or disproving the authenticity of the remains. Although these works were addressed to members of the clergy, they were also intended for the general reading public in Pavia, Milan, and Venice. Their dissemination helped create a temporary public sphere in which the merits of the case were examined in a spirit of free debate.
A reexamination of the dispute over St. Augustine's bones illuminates aspects of Catholic spirituality in Northern Italy during the late seventeenth and early eighteenth centuries. It also reveals the different ways in which Catholic scholars, local religious leaders, and the papal administration sought to influence and direct local popular religious belief and practices. Although the controversy was officially resolved by the papacy in 1728, the debate over the relics of San Pietro continued into the twentieth century.
By combining methods developed in the burgeoning field of the history of the book with the tools of cultural analysis, Harold Samuel Stone not only recovers the stories surrounding St. Augustine's bones, but also reconstructs the mental world of those who read or heard them.
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.
This collection of commentaries on the first part of the Comedy consists of commissioned essays, one for each canto, by a distinguished group of international scholar-critics. Readers of Dante will find this Inferno volume an enlightening and indispensable guide, the kind of lucid commentary that is truly adapted to the general reader as well as the student and scholar.
As well as skillful and fluent verse renderings of the 366 lyrics that make up this milestone in the development of Western poetic tradition, Musa offers copious and up-to-date annotation to each poem... along with a substantial, sensitive, and intelligent introduction that is genuinely helpful for the first-time reader and thought provoking for Petrarch scholars and other medievalists." —Choice
The 366 poems of Petrarch’s Canzoniere represent one of the most influential works in Western literature. Varied in form, style, and subject matter, these "scattered rhymes" contains metaphors and conceits that have been absorbed into the literature and language of love. In this bilingual edition, Mark Musa provides verse translations, annotations, and an introduction co-authored with Barbara Manfredi.
Over the past eleven years, Greif has been publishing superb, and in some cases already famous, essays in n+1, the high-profile little magazine that he co-founded. These essays address such key topics in the cultural, political, and intellectual life of our time as the tyranny of exercise, the tyranny of nutrition and food snobbery, the sexualization of childhood (and everything else), the philosophical meaning of Radiohead, the rise and fall of the hipster, the impact of the Occupy Wall Street movement, and the crisis of policing. Four of the selections address, directly and unironically, the meaning of life—what might be the right philosophical stance to adopt toward one’s self and the world.
Each essay in Against Everything is learned, original, highly entertaining, and, from start to finish, dead serious. They are the work of a young intellectual who, with his peers, is reinventing and reinvigorating what intellectuals can be and say and do. Mark Greif manages to reincarnate and revivify the thought and spirit of the greatest of American dissenters, Henry David Thoreau, for our time and historical situation.
From the Hardcover edition.
Standing at the beginning of the history of modern European verse, the troubadours were the prime poets and composers of the twelfth and thirteenth centuries in the South of France. No study of medieval literature is complete without an examination of the courtly love which is celebrated in the elaborately rhymed stanzas of troubadour verse, creations whose words and melodies were imitated by poets and musicians all over medieval Europe.
The words of about 2,500 troubadour songs have survived, along with 250 melodies, and all have come under intense scholarly scrutiny. This Handbook brings together the fruits of this scrutiny, giving teachers and students an overview of the fundamental issues in troubadour scholarship. All quotations are given in the original Old Occitan and in English. The editors provide a list of troubadour editions and an index, and each chapter includes a list of additional readings.
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.
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.
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.
Schwab's texts include memoirs (Ruth Kluger's Still Alive and Marguerite Duras's La Douleur), second-generation accounts by the children of Holocaust survivors (Georges Perec's W, Art Spiegelman's Maus, and Philippe Grimbert's Secret), and second-generation recollections by Germans (W. G. Sebald's Austerlitz, Sabine Reichel's What Did You Do in The War, Daddy?, and Ursula Duba's Tales from a Child of the Enemy). She also incorporates her own reminiscences of growing up in postwar Germany, mapping networks of interlaced memories and histories as they interact in psychic life and cultural memory. Her critical approach draws on theories from psychoanalysis, postcolonialism, and trauma studies, and Schwab concludes with a bracing look at issues of responsibility, reparation, and forgiveness across the victim/perpetrator divide.
Comparison expands upon a special issue of the journal New Literary History, which analyzed theories and methodologies of comparison. Six new essays from senior scholars of transnational and postcolonial studies complement the original ten pieces. The work of Gayatri Chakravorty Spivak, Ella Shohat, Robert Stam, R. Radhakrishnan, Bruce Robbins, Ania Loomba, Haun Saussy, Linda Gordon, Walter D. Mignolo, Shu-mei Shih, and Pheng Cheah are included with contributions by anthropologists Caroline B. Brettell and Richard Handler. Historical periods discussed range from the early modern to the contemporary and geographical regions that encompass the globe. Ultimately, Comparison argues for the importance of greater self-reflexivity about the politics and methods of comparison in teaching and in research.-- Eric Hayot, Pennsylvania State University
But we are fortunate in our guide: drawing on his immense knowledge of the classics and of humanists like Erasmus and Rabelais—who used Plato and Aristotle to interpret the Gospels—and incorporating the thoughts of Aesop, Calvin, Lucian of Samosata, Luther, Socrates, and others, Screech shows that Renaissance thinkers revived ancient ideas about what inspires laughter and whether it could ever truly be innocent. As Screech argues, in the minds of Renaissance scholars, laughter was to be taken very seriously. Indeed, in an era obsessed with heresy and reform, this most human of abilities was no laughing matter.
The book begins with a critique of iconographic discourse and particularly of iconography's treatment of vanitas symbolism. It goes on to argue that this treatment tends to divert attention from still life's darker meanings and from the true character of its traffic with death. Interpretations of still life that focus on the vanity of human experience and the mutability of life minimize the impact made by the representation of such voracious pillagers of plant life as insects, snails, and caterpillars. The message sent by still life's preoccupation with these small-scale predators is not merely vanitas.
It is rapacitas. Caterpillage also explores the impact of this message on the meaning of the genre's French name. We use the conventional term nature morte ("dead nature") without giving any thought to how misleading it is. Because so many portrayals of still life involve cut flowers, which, although still in bloom, are dying, it would be more accurate to name the genre nature mourant. The subjects of still life are plants that are still living, plants that are dying but not yet dead.
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 book provides an engaging, accessible, and exciting new history of French literature from the Renaissance through the twentieth century, from Rabelais and Marguerite de Navarre to Samuel Beckett and Assia Djebar. Christopher Prendergast, one of today's most distinguished authorities on French literature, has gathered a transatlantic group of more than thirty leading scholars who provide original essays on carefully selected writers, works, and topics that open a window onto key chapters of French literary history. The book begins in the sixteenth century with the formation of a modern national literary consciousness, and ends in the late twentieth century with the idea of the "national" coming increasingly into question as inherited meanings of "French" and "Frenchness" expand beyond the geographical limits of mainland France.Provides an exciting new account of French literary history from the Renaissance to the end of the twentieth centuryFeatures more than thirty original essays on key writers, works, and topics, written by a distinguished transatlantic group of scholarsIncludes an introduction and index
The contributors include Etienne Beaulieu, Christopher Braider, Peter Brooks, Mary Ann Caws, David Coward, Nicholas Cronk, Edwin M. Duval, Mary Gallagher, Raymond Geuss, Timothy Hampton, Nicholas Harrison, Katherine Ibbett, Michael Lucey, Susan Maslan, Eric Méchoulan, Hassan Melehy, Larry F. Norman, Nicholas Paige, Roger Pearson, Christopher Prendergast, Jean-Michel Rabaté, Timothy J. Reiss, Sarah Rocheville, Pierre Saint-Amand, Clive Scott, Catriona Seth, Judith Sribnai, Joanna Stalnaker, Aleksandar Stević, Kate E. Tunstall, Steven Ungar, and Wes Williams.
Carey's assault on the founders of modern culture caused consternation throughout the artistic and academic establishments when it was first published in 1992.
With essays addressing infrastructure and genres, associational practices and protocols, this volume establishes mediation as the condition of possibility for enlightenment. In so doing, it not only answers Kant’s query; it also poses its own broader question: how would foregrounding mediation change the kinds and areas of inquiry in our own epoch? This Is Enlightenment is a landmark volumewith the polemical force and archival depth to start a conversation that extends across the disciplines that the Enlightenment itself first configured.
Földényi begins with a tour of the history of the word melancholy, from ancient Greece to the medieval era, the Renaissance, and modern times. He finds the meaning of melancholy has always been ambiguous, even paradoxical. In our own times it may be regarded either as a psychic illness or a mood familiar to everyone. The author analyzes the complexities of melancholy and concludes that its dual nature reflects the inherent tension of birth and mortality. To understand the melancholic disposition is to find entry to some of the deepest questions one’s life.
This distinguished translation brings Földényi’s work directly to English-language readers for the first time.
Atala and René are his two best-known works, reflecting not only his own joys, aspirations, and despair, but the emerging tastes of a new literary era. Atala is the passionate and tragic love story of a young Indian couple wandering in the wilderness, enthralled by the beauties of nature, drawn to a revivified Christianity by its esthetic charm and consoling beneficence, and finally succumbing to the cruelty of fate. Perhaps even more than Werther or Childe Harold, René embodies the romantic hero, and is not wholly foreign to the disorientation of youth today. Solitary, mysterious, ardent, and poetic, he is in open revolt against a society whose values he rejects. Withough question this archetype played a large part in determining the course of French literature up to the 1850's.
This first faithful and complete English translation by Daniel J. Donno is presented opposite the critically established Itaion text, with essential explanatory notes and an introductory essay. Students of Italian culture, of the history of science, and of political, philosophical, and religious thought will welcome the publication of this authoritative edition of Campanella's best-known work.
Mariam is a distinctive example of Renaissance drama that serves the desire of today's readers and scholars to know not merely how women were represented in the early modern period but also how they themselves perceived their own condition.
With this textually emended and fully annotated edition, the play will now be accessible to all readers. The accompanying biography of Cary further enriches our knowledge of both domestic and religious conflicts in the seventeenth century.
---Louis Sass, author of Madness and Modernism
"The scope of this book is daunting, ranging from madness in the ancient Greco-Roman world, to Christianized concepts of medieval folly, through the writings of early modern authors such as Shakespeare, Cervantes, and Descartes, and on to German Romantic philosophy, fin de siè cle French poetry, and Freud . . . Artaud, Duras, and Plath."
"This provocative and closely argued work will reward many readers."
In Revels in Madness, Allen Thiher surveys a remarkable range of writers as he shows how conceptions of madness in literature have reflected the cultural assumptions of their era. Thiher underscores the transition from classical to modern theories of madness-a transition that began at the end of the Enlightenment and culminates in recent women's writing that challenges the postmodern understanding of madness as a fall from language or as a dysfunction of culture.
Using a notable variety of sources, from drag performances to feminist Muslim activism and Euro hip-hop, El-Tayeb draws on the largely ignored archive of vernacular culture central to resistance by minority youths to the exclusionary nationalism that casts them as threatening outcasts. At the same time, she reveals the continued effect of Europe’s suppressed colonial history on the representation of Muslim minorities as the illiberal Other of progressive Europe.
Presenting a sharp analysis of the challenges facing a united Europe seen by many as a model for twenty-first-century postnational societies, El-Tayeb combines theoretical influences from both sides of the Atlantic to lay bare how Europeans of color are integral to the continent’s past, present, and, inevitably, its future.
-Jonathan Dollimore, York University
"Rogues and Early Modern English Culture is an up-to-date and suggestive collection on a subject that all scholars of the early modern period have encountered but few have studied in the range and depth represented here."
-Lawrence Manley, Yale University
"A model of cross-disciplinary exchange, Rogues and Early Modern English Culture foregrounds the figure of the rogue in a nexus of early modern cultural inscriptions that reveals the provocation a seemingly marginal figure offers to authorities and various forms of authoritative understanding, then and now. The new and recent work gathered here is an exciting contribution to early modern studies, for both scholars and students."
-Alexandra W. Halasz, Dartmouth College
Rogues and Early Modern English Culture is a definitive collection of critical essays on the literary and cultural impact of the early modern rogue. Under various names-rogues, vagrants, molls, doxies, vagabonds, cony-catchers, masterless men, caterpillars of the commonwealth-this group of marginal figures, poor men and women with no clear social place or identity, exploded onto the scene in sixteenth-century English history and culture. Early modern representations of the rogue or moll in pamphlets, plays, poems, ballads, historical records, and the infamous Tudor Poor Laws treated these characters as harbingers of emerging social, economic, and cultural changes.
Images of the early modern rogue reflected historical developments but also created cultural icons for mobility, change, and social adaptation. The underclass rogue in many ways inverts the familiar image of the self-fashioned gentleman, traditionally seen as the literary focus and exemplar of the age, but the two characters have more in common than courtiers or humanists would have admitted. Both relied on linguistic prowess and social dexterity to manage their careers, whether exploiting the politics of privilege at court or surviving by their wits on urban streets.
Deftly edited by Craig Dionne and Steve Mentz, this anthology features essays from prominent and emerging critics in the field of Renaissance studies and promises to attract considerable attention from a broad range of readers and scholars in literary studies and social history.
In Novelty, Michael North takes us on a dazzling tour of more than two millennia of thinking about the problem of the new, from the puzzles of the pre-Socratics all the way up to the art world of the 1960s and ’70s. The terms of the debate, North shows, were established before Plato, and have changed very little since: novelty, philosophers argued, could only arise from either recurrence or recombination. The former, found in nature’s cycles of renewal, and the latter, seen most clearly in the workings of language, between them have accounted for nearly all the ways in which novelty has been conceived in Western history, taking in reformation, renaissance, invention, revolution, and even evolution. As he pursues this idea through centuries and across disciplines, North exhibits astonishing range, drawing on figures as diverse as Charles Darwin and Robert Smithson, Thomas Kuhn and Ezra Pound, Norbert Wiener and Andy Warhol, all of whom offer different ways of grappling with the idea of originality.
Novelty, North demonstrates, remains a central problem of contemporary science and literature—an ever-receding target that, in its complexity and evasiveness, continues to inspire and propel the modern. A heady, ambitious intellectual feast, Novelty is rich with insight, a masterpiece of perceptive synthesis.