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.
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.
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.
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.
Carey's assault on the founders of modern culture caused consternation throughout the artistic and academic establishments when it was first published in 1992.
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.
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.
Gypsies were both idealized and reviled by Victorian and early-twentieth-century Britons. Associated with primitive desires, lawlessness, cunning, and sexual excess, Gypsies were also objects of antiquarian, literary, and anthropological interest. As Nord demonstrates, British writers and artists drew on Gypsy characters and plots to redefine and reconstruct cultural and racial difference, national and personal identity, and the individual's relationship to social and sexual orthodoxies. Gypsies were long associated with pastoral conventions and, in the nineteenth century, came to stand in for the ancient British past. Using myths of switched babies, Gypsy kidnappings, and the Gypsies' murky origins, authors projected onto Gypsies their own desires to escape convention and their anxieties about the ambiguities of identity.
The literary representations that Nord examines have their roots in the interplay between the notion of Gypsies as a separate, often despised race and the psychic or aesthetic desire to dissolve the boundary between English and Gypsy worlds. By the beginning of the twentieth century, she argues, romantic identification with Gypsies had hardened into caricature-a phenomenon reflected in D. H. Lawrence's The Virgin and the Gipsy-and thoroughly obscured the reality of Gypsy life and history.
“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
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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
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.
Carl Woodring and James Shapiro, the same experienced editorial team who brought students and lovers of literature The Columbia History of British Literature, now present a volume that resonates with contemporary significance, yet also takes into account the centuries-old poetic tradition that planted Great Britain centrally in the canon of Western Literature.
The Columbia Anthology pays tribute to the renowned works that any include--Chaucer, Spenser, Shakespeare, Milton, Blake, Eliot, Auden. But the book also resurrects the voices of excellent poets, particularly women--such as Queen Elizabeth I, Anne Ingram, and Christina Rossetti--who have been unjustifiably ignored until recently.
Contemporary British poetry is fully represented as well, with the work of Thom Gunn, Seamus Heaney, Liz Lochhead, and Paula Meehan bringing The Columbia Anthology up to the minute.
Unencumbered by extensive notes that divert attention from the spirit of verse, The Columbia Anthology of British Poetry allows readers to discover the poems for themselves. It is a collection poetry lovers will want on their shelves for years to come, to read and enjoy again and again.
When Galileo saw the face of the Moon and the moons of Jupiter, Lipking writes, he had to picture a cosmos that could account for them. Kepler thought his geometry could open a window into the mind of God. Francis Bacon's natural history envisioned an order of things that would replace the illusions of language with solid evidence and transform notions of life and death. Descartes designed a hypothetical "Book of Nature" to explain how everything in the universe was constructed. Thomas Browne reconceived the boundaries of truth and error. Robert Hooke, like Leonardo, was both researcher and artist; his schemes illuminate the microscopic and the macrocosmic. And when Isaac Newton imagined nature as a coherent and comprehensive mathematical system, he redefined the goals of science and the meaning of genius.
What Galileo Saw bridges the divide between science and art; it brings together Galileo and Milton, Bacon and Shakespeare. Lipking enters the minds and the workshops where the Scientific Revolution was fashioned, drawing on art, literature, and the history of science to reimagine how perceptions about the world and human life could change so drastically, and change forever.
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.
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?
"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.
Greenfield has succeeded to a remarkable degree in reaching his goals. An early reviewer of the manuscript, Daniel G. Calder of UCLA, wrote: “I find it the best translation of Beowulf.
One of the great problems with other translations is that they make the reading of Beowulf difficult. Greenfield’s translation speeds along with considerable ease. . . Scholars will find the translation fascinating as an exercise in the successful recreating of various aspects of Old English poetic style.”
---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.