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A brilliant book by Nobel Prize winner Eric R. Kandel, The Age of Insight takes us to Vienna 1900, where leaders in science, medicine, and art began a revolution that changed forever how we think about the human mind—our conscious and unconscious thoughts and emotions—and how mind and brain relate to art.
 
At the turn of the century, Vienna was the cultural capital of Europe. Artists and scientists met in glittering salons, where they freely exchanged ideas that led to revolutionary breakthroughs in psychology, brain science, literature, and art. Kandel takes us into the world of Vienna to trace, in rich and rewarding detail, the ideas and advances made then, and their enduring influence today.
 
The Vienna School of Medicine led the way with its realization that truth lies hidden beneath the surface. That principle infused Viennese culture and strongly influenced the other pioneers of Vienna 1900. Sigmund Freud shocked the world with his insights into how our everyday unconscious aggressive and erotic desires are repressed and disguised in symbols, dreams, and behavior. Arthur Schnitzler revealed women’s unconscious sexuality in his novels through his innovative use of the interior monologue. Gustav Klimt, Oscar Kokoschka, and Egon Schiele created startlingly evocative and honest portraits that expressed unconscious lust, desire, anxiety, and the fear of death.
 
Kandel tells the story of how these pioneers—Freud, Schnitzler, Klimt, Kokoschka, and Schiele—inspired by the Vienna School of Medicine, in turn influenced the founders of the Vienna School of Art History to ask pivotal questions such as What does the viewer bring to a work of art? How does the beholder respond to it? These questions prompted new and ongoing discoveries in psychology and brain biology, leading to revelations about how we see and perceive, how we think and feel, and how we respond to and create works of art. Kandel, one of the leading scientific thinkers of our time, places these five innovators in the context of today’s cutting-edge science and gives us a new understanding of the modernist art of Klimt, Kokoschka, and Schiele, as well as the school of thought of Freud and Schnitzler. Reinvigorating the intellectual enquiry that began in Vienna 1900, The Age of Insight is a wonderfully written, superbly researched, and beautifully illustrated book that also provides a foundation for future work in neuroscience and the humanities. It is an extraordinary book from an international leader in neuroscience and intellectual history.
A "great storehouse of legends and traditions" according to translator E.A. Wallis Budge, 'The Kebra Nagast' most likely dates back to the sixth century AD, and provides an alternative view of many biblical stories. According to this ancient text, the kings of Ethiopia were descended from Solomon, King of Israel, and the Queen of Sheba; the Ark of the Covenant had been brought from Jerusalem to Aksum by Meyelek, the son of Solomon and the Queen of Sheba; and the God of Israel had transferred his place of abode on earth from Jerusalem to Aksum, the ecclesiastical and political capital of Ethiopia.." . .[O]nly in the Kebra Nagast, and not in the Bible. . . the bold assertion is made. . . that the Ark had gone from Jerusalem to Ethiopia.."" . . [H]ow could the most important Biblical object in the world end up in the heart of Africa. . . ? The Kebra Nagast with a great deal of weight and historical authenticity. . . offers a clear answer to this question. . . as Ethiopia's claim to be the last resting place of the lost Ark remains unchallenged. . .."" . . [T]he Kebra Nagast's audacious claim of a massive cover-up. . . [and] all information about the tragic loss of the Ark during Solomon's reign had been suppressed, which is why no mention is made of it in the Scriptures.."" . . a great epic. . . a remarkable document. . . erected above a solid foundation of historical truth."--Graham Hancock"The Sign and the Seal"E.A. WALLIS BUDGE was the curator of Egyptian and Assyrian Antiquities at the British Museum and he collected a large number of manuscripts. He is perhaps best known for translating "The Egyptian Book of The Dead," but he also created books of translated hieroglyphs, Egyptian religion, mythology, and magic. He was knighted in 1920.
“Great art discovers for us who we are,” writes eminent literature professor and critic Arnold Weinstein in this magisterial new book about how we can better uncover and understand our own stories by reading five major modern writers. Professor Weinstein, author of the highly acclaimed A Scream Goes Through the House, has spent a lifetime guiding students through the work of great writers, and in a volume that crowns his career, Weinstein invites us to discover ourselves–our perceptions, our dreams, our own elusive, deepest stories–in the masterpieces of modernist fiction.
Marcel Proust, James Joyce, Virginia Woolf, William Faulkner: the very names sound intimidating. Yet as Weinstein argues with wit and passion, the works of these authors, and of their contemporary heir Toni Morrison, are in fact shimmering mirrors of our own inner world and most intimate thoughts. Novels such as Remembrance of Things Past, Ulysses, Mrs. Dalloway, To the Lighthouse, The Sound and the Fury, Absalom, Absalom!, and Beloved allow us to explore the inner worlds of human feeling and bring us face-to-face with our own deepest selves and desires. Weinstein decodes these great novels, and he shows how to read them to understand human beings–the way our minds and hearts actually work. This is what Weinstein means by “recovering your story.”
Weinstein illuminates the complex pleasures woven into these peerless narratives. Beneath the slow, sensual cadences of Proust he finds an edgy erotic tension as well as a remarkably crisp depiction of the timeless world inside the self. Joyce’s Ulysses, in Weinstein’s brilliantly original reading, is a protean linguistic experiment that forces us to view both our bodies and our minds in a radically new–and hilariously funny–light. His analysis of Virginia Woolf’s Mrs. Dalloway and To the Lighthouse circles back again and again on Woolf’s depiction of the importance of relationships in knowing the self. Faulkner, argues Weinstein, is at once our greatest tragedian and our darkest comedian, a novelist who captures both the agony and absurdity of consciousness in a time of social and moral disintegration. Finally, in Toni Morrison’s Beloved, Weinstein explores the legacy of modernism in a contemporary novel, as Morrison brings the body into the literary picture, confronting how the body affects not only our fundamental concept of self, but also consciousness itself.
In this magnificent work of literary appreciation and exploration, Weinstein makes the astonishing discovery of the self as a part of the joy of reading great modernist fiction, even as he makes these powerful works understandable, accessible, indeed imperative for all adventurous readers.
Characters in some languages, particularly Hebrew and Arabic, may not display properly due to device limitations. Transliterations of terms appear before the representations in foreign characters.

This is an encyclopedic dictionary of close to 400 important philosophical, literary, and political terms and concepts that defy easy—or any—translation from one language and culture to another. Drawn from more than a dozen languages, terms such as Dasein (German), pravda (Russian), saudade (Portuguese), and stato (Italian) are thoroughly examined in all their cross-linguistic and cross-cultural complexities. Spanning the classical, medieval, early modern, modern, and contemporary periods, these are terms that influence thinking across the humanities. The entries, written by more than 150 distinguished scholars, describe the origins and meanings of each term, the history and context of its usage, its translations into other languages, and its use in notable texts. The dictionary also includes essays on the special characteristics of particular languages--English, French, German, Greek, Italian, Portuguese, Russian, and Spanish.

Originally published in French, this one-of-a-kind reference work is now available in English for the first time, with new contributions from Judith Butler, Daniel Heller-Roazen, Ben Kafka, Kevin McLaughlin, Kenneth Reinhard, Stella Sandford, Gayatri Chakravorty Spivak, Jane Tylus, Anthony Vidler, Susan Wolfson, Robert J. C. Young, and many more.The result is an invaluable reference for students, scholars, and general readers interested in the multilingual lives of some of our most influential words and ideas.

Covers close to 400 important philosophical, literary, and political terms that defy easy translation between languages and culturesIncludes terms from more than a dozen languagesEntries written by more than 150 distinguished thinkersAvailable in English for the first time, with new contributions by Judith Butler, Daniel Heller-Roazen, Ben Kafka, Kevin McLaughlin, Kenneth Reinhard, Stella Sandford, Gayatri Chakravorty Spivak, Jane Tylus, Anthony Vidler, Susan Wolfson, Robert J. C. Young, and many moreContains extensive cross-references and bibliographiesAn invaluable resource for students and scholars across the humanities
This first-ever anthology of the war reporting and commentary of Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist Sydney Schanberg is drawn from more than four decades of reporting at home and abroad for the New York Times, Newsday, the Village Voice, and various magazines. The centerpiece of the collection is his signature work, "The Death and Life of Dith Pran," which appeared in the New York Times Magazine. This became the foundation of Roland Joffé's acclaimed film The Killing Fields (1984), which explored the Khmer Rouge genocide in Cambodia during the late 1970s.

Although Schanberg may be best known for his work on Cambodia, he also reported on the India-Pakistan war that ended Pakistan's brutal attempt to crush the Bangladesh freedom movement in the 1970s. His striking coverage of the Vietnam conflict recounts Hanoi's fierce offensive in 1972 that almost succeeded. Years later, citing official documents and other hard evidence that a large number of American POWs were never returned by Hanoi, Schanberg criticized the national press for ignoring these facts and called for Washington to release documents that had been covered up since 1973. As the media critic for the Village Voice, Schanberg offered a unique and searing viewpoint on Iraq, which he called America's "strangest war." His criticism of the Bush administration's secrecy brings his war reportage into the present and presents a vigorous critique of what he considers a devious and destructive presidency. Beyond the Killing Fields is an important work by one of America's foremost journalists.
Alan Paton's Cry, the Beloved Country is one of the most influential works of South African literature. Appearing at a time when the South African political system was being increasingly questioned, the novel drew worldwide attention to the horrors of apartheid, a political institution promoting segregation and discrimination. This book overviews Paton's novel and its social and political contexts. It discusses South African history and provides a sample of documents related to the origin of apartheid and the challenges facing South Africans under the segregationist regime. In doing so, it helps students understand the political climate of South Africa under apartheid, as well as the challenges of racism that continue to plague contemporary society.

Alan Paton's Cry, the Beloved Country (1948) is one of the most influential works of South African literature. Appearing at a time when the South African political system was being increasingly questioned, the novel drew worldwide attention to the horrors of apartheid, a political institution promoting segregation and discrimination. However, because historical and social issues figure prominently in the novel, it is sometimes difficult for modern students to understand. But because of the enduring plague of racism, it is all the more important for students to come to terms with the issues Paton raises. This book overviews Paton's novel and relates it to its social and political contexts.

The book begins with an analysis of the novel and gives attention to adaptations and films based on it. It then overviews South African history. This is followed by a selection of primary documents related to the origin of apartheid, the history and work conditions of miners, the social and economic conditions in urban and rural areas, the challenges facing South African women, and the state of post-apartheid South Africa. While the book does much to illuminate Paton's novel, it additionally helps students use the novel to explore important social concerns still present in society.

“For too long we have been encouraged to see culture as an affair of intellect, and reading as a solitary exercise. But the truth is different: literature and art are pathways of feeling, and our encounter with them is social, inscribing us in a larger community.... Through art we discover that we are not alone.”

So writes the esteemed Brown University professor Arnold Weinstein in this brilliant, radical exploration of Western literature. In the tradition of Harold Bloom and Jacques Barzun, Weinstein guides us through great works of art, to reveal how literature constitutes nothing less than a feast for the heart. Our encounter with literature and art can be a unique form of human connection, an entry into the storehouse of feeling.

Writing about works by Sophocles, Shakespeare, Dickens, Charlotte Brontë, Munch, Proust, O’Neill, Burroughs, DeLillo, Tony Kushner, Toni Morrison, and others, Weinstein explores how writers and artists give us a vision of what human life is really all about. Reading is an affair of the heart as well as of the mind, deepening our sense of the fundamental forces and emotions that govern our lives, including fear, pain, illness, loss, depression, death, and love.

Provocative, beautifully written, essential, A Scream Goes Through the House traces the human cry that echoes in literature through the ages, demonstrating how intense feelings are heard and shared. With intellectual insight and emotional acumen, Weinstein reveals how the scream that resounds through the house of literature, history, the body, and the family shows us who we really are and joins us together in a vast and timeless community.
More than half a century after its translation into English, Erich Auerbach's Mimesis remains a masterpiece of literary criticism. A brilliant display of erudition, wit, and wisdom, his exploration of how great European writers from Homer to Virginia Woolf depicted reality has taught generations how to read Western literature. This new expanded edition includes a substantial essay in introduction by Edward Said as well as an essay, never before translated into English, in which Auerbach responds to his critics.

A German Jew, Auerbach was forced out of his professorship at the University of Marburg in 1935. He left for Turkey, where he taught at the state university in Istanbul. There he wrote Mimesis, publishing it in German after the end of the war. Displaced as he was, Auerbach produced a work of great erudition that contains no footnotes, basing his arguments instead on searching, illuminating readings of key passages from his primary texts. His aim was to show how from antiquity to the twentieth century literature progressed toward ever more naturalistic and democratic forms of representation. This essentially optimistic view of European history now appears as a defensive--and impassioned--response to the inhumanity he saw in the Third Reich. Ranging over works in Greek, Latin, Spanish, French, Italian, German, and English, Auerbach used his remarkable skills in philology and comparative literature to refute any narrow form of nationalism or chauvinism, in his own day and ours.


For many readers, both inside and outside the academy, Mimesis is among the finest works of literary criticism ever written. This Princeton Classics edition includes a substantial introduction by Edward Said as well as an essay in which Auerbach responds to his critics.

A masterful writer working in many genres, Ngugi wa Thiong'o entered the East African literary scene in 1962 with the performance of his first major play, The Black Hermit, at the National Theatre in Uganda. In 1977 he was imprisoned after his most controversial work, Ngaahika Ndeenda (I Will Marry When I Want), produced in Nairobi, sharply criticized the injustices of Kenyan society and unequivocally championed the causes of ordinary citizens. Following his release, Ngugi decided to write only in his native Gikuyu, communicating with Kenyans in one of the many languages of their daily lives, and today he is known as one of the most outspoken intellectuals working in postcolonial theory and the global postcolonial movement.

In this volume, Ngugi wa Thiong'o summarizes and develops a cross-section of the issues he has grappled with in his work, which deploys a strategy of imagery, language, folklore, and character to "decolonize the mind." Ngugi confronts the politics of language in African writing; the problem of linguistic imperialism and literature's ability to resist it; the difficult balance between orality, or "orature," and writing, or "literature"; the tension between national and world literature; and the role of the literary curriculum in both reaffirming and undermining the dominance of the Western canon. Throughout, he engages a range of philosophers and theorists writing on power and postcolonial creativity, including Hegel, Marx, Lévi-Strauss, and Aimé Césaire. Yet his explorations remain grounded in his own experiences with literature (and orature) and reworks the difficult dialectics of theory into richly evocative prose.

Mary Tighe's unpublished novel Selena is one of the great unknown treasures of British Romanticism. Completed in 1803, this brilliant, compulsively readable, beautifully written, and psychologically astute courtship novel is finally available in a scholarly edition that reveals Mary Tighe to have been as talented a fiction writer as she was a poet. The history of this amazing work's long journey from manuscript to print is only one of the stories Harriet Kramer Linkin recounts in this scrupulously annotated edition based on the only known copy of the manuscript, currently part of the National Library of Ireland's holdings. Linkin's introduction situates the novel in its historical context, draws attention to significant aspects of the plots and characters, and makes a strong case for Selena's importance for understanding the history of the novel, fiction by women, Anglo-Irish fiction, silver-fork novels, and the Romantic period. Explanatory notes explain obscure references and contexts, identify allusions to other writers, and provide translations of any non-English or archaic words. Selena itself is a revelation in its frank treatment of the darker aspects of Tighe's world, including parents who mistreat, cheat, or fail their children and spouses who commit adultery or betray one another emotionally. At the same time, it is magnificent in its stunning and moving portrayals of romantic love, of the possibility and importance of female friendship, of the difficult necessity of choosing sense over sensibility, and of the need for women and men to choose self-enhancing vocations. This extraordinary novel is destined to open up new ways of thinking by scholars of the Romantic era and the history of the novel.
The Changing Face of African Literature combines both the large picture – a synopsis of current trends in African literature – and the small: studies of individual texts and of themes across several texts. The large and the small are linked by recurring themes, such as gender and sexuality, the nation-state and its collapse, AIDS, war, and suffering. The volume is comparative, bringing together literature in at least five languages and from at least ten national literatures. Such a large, comparative frame is implied by most discussion of African literature but is too seldom seen. At the same time, the collection also problematizes the comparison: the goal is to make clear what African literatures have in common but also where they diverge. What difference do distinct literary traditions, readerships, and publishing patterns make to literatures which share a common thematic and so many of the same questions and needs? By juxtaposing contemporary texts form several traditions, the intention of this collection is to bring out the themes that are currently dominant in African literatures generally. After a preface by Liz Gunner and a wide-ranging introduction by the editors, the collection presents keynote essays on new paradigms in African literature, before treating specific themes – recent crime fiction, the Afrikaans and anglophone novel, feminist literature, 'migritude' – and studies of recent works by individual authors such as André Brink, Henri Djombo, Pie Tshibanda, Bessora, Nadine Gordimer, and Paulina Chiziane, as well as the South African television series Yizo Yizo.
The present volume contains general essays on: unequal African/Western academic exchange; the state and structure of postcolonial studies; representing male violence in Zimbabwe’s wars; parihaka in the poetic imagination of Aotearoa New Zealand; Middle Eastern, Nigerian, Moroccan, and diasporic Indian women’s writing; community in post-Independence Maltese poetry in English; key novels of the Portuguese colonies; the TV series The Kumars at No. 42; fictional representations of India; the North in western Canadian writing; and a pedagogy of African-Canadian literature. As well as these, there is a selection of poems from Malta by Daniel Massa, Adrian Grima, Norbert Bugeja, Immanuel Mifsud, and Maria Grech Ganado, and essays providing close readings of works by the following authors and filmmakers: Thea Astley, George Elliott Clarke, Alan Duff, Francis Ebejer, Lorena Gale, Romesh Gunesekera, Sahar Khalīfah, Anthony Minghella, Michael Ondaatje, Caryl Phillips, Edgar Allan Poe, Salman Rushdie, Ghādah al-Sammān, Meera Syal, Lee Tamahori.
Contributors: Leila Abouzeid, Hoda Barakat, Amrit Biswas, Thomas Bonnici, Stella Borg Barthet, Ivan Callus, Devon Campbell–Hall, Saviour Catania, George Elliott Clarke, Brian Crow, Pilar Cuder–Domínguez, Bärbel Czennia, Hilary P. Dannenberg, Pauline Dodgson–Katiyo, Bernadette Falzon, Daphne Grace, Adrian Grima, Kifah Hanna, Janne Korkka, T. Vijay Kumar, Chantal Kwast–Greff, Maureen Lynch Pèrcopo, Kevin Stephen Magri, Isabel Moutinho, Melanie A. Murray, Taiwo Oloruntoba–Oju, Gerhard Stilz, Jesús Varela Zapata, Christine Vogt–William.
This gendered translation of the Benedictine Rule for women in 1517 is also a handbook for women on exercising authority, management skills and the art of good governance, including monastic property and relations with the outside world. Barry Collett here provides a modern facsimile edition of Fox's translation, written in the tumbling phrases of passionate prose that make Fox stand out as a literary figure of the English Renaissance. Collett also provides an extensive introduction that argues that Fox's experience as an administrator and senior political adviser with special responsibility for foreign affairs, mainly with Scotland and France, the political situation in 1516, and social concerns Fox shared with Thomas More, all provide keys to understanding this translation of the rule. Richard Fox was king's secretary, Lord Privy Seal and Bishop of Winchester, and founder of Corpus Christi College in Oxford. He was an administrator who reflected much on the proper exercise of authority and responsibility at all levels, especially through negotiated co-operation. He strongly supported monastic reforms, and when a group of abbesses requested a translation for sisters unable to understand Latin, this was his response. It provides a unique window into the world of female spirituality just a few months before Luther's reformation began. The exercise of God-given authority by women is described in the same-possibly stronger-terms as for men. Fox expressed no reservations about the exercise of authority by women. His indifference to sexual distinctions arose, paradoxically, from his preoccupation with the skilful use of God-given functioning of authority in a hierarchical society.
Uniting a sense of the political dimensions of language appropriation with a serious, yet accessible linguistic terminology, The African Palimpsest examines the strategies of `indigenization? whereby West African writers have made their literary English or French distinctively `African'. Through the apt metaphor of the palimpsest ? a surface that has been written on, written over, partially erased and written over again ? the book examines such well-known West African writers as Achebe, Armah, Ekwensi, Kourouma, Okara, Saro?Wiwa, Soyinka and Tutuola as well as lesser-known writers from francophone and anglophone Africa. Providing a great variety of case-studies in Nigerian Pidgin, Akan, Igbo, Maninka, Yoruba, Wolof and other African languages, the book also clarifies the vital interface between Europhone African writing and the new outlets for African artistic expression in (auto-)translation, broadcast television, radio and film.Hailed as a classic in the 1990s, The African Palimpsest is here reprinted in a completely revised edition, with a new Introduction, updated data and bibliography, and with due consideration of more recent theoretical approaches.'A very valuable book ? a detailed exploration in its concern with language change as demonstrated in post-colonial African literatures? Bill Ashcroft, University of New South Wales ?Apart from its great documentary value, The African Palimpsest provides many theoretical concepts that will be useful to scholars of African literatures, linguists in general ? as well as comparatists who want to gain fresh insights into the processes by which Vulgar Latin once gave birth to the Romance languages.' Ahmed Sheikh Bangura, University of California, Santa Barbara ?As Zabus? book suggests, it is the area where the various languages of a community meet and cross-over ? that is likely to provide the most productive site for the generation of a new literature that is true to the real linguistic situation that pertains in so much of contemporary urban Africa.' Stewart Brown, University of Birmingham
Henry Louis Gates, Jr.'s original, groundbreaking study explores the relationship between the African and African-American vernacular traditions and black literature, elaborating a new critical approach located within this tradition that allows the black voice to speak for itself. Examining the ancient poetry and myths found in African, Latin American, and Caribbean culture, and particularly the Yoruba trickster figure of Esu-Elegbara and the Signifying Monkey whose myths help articulate the black tradition's theory of its literature, Gates uncovers a unique system for interpretation and a powerful vernacular tradition that black slaves brought with them to the New World. His critical approach relies heavily on the Signifying Monkey--perhaps the most popular figure in African-American folklore--and signification and Signifyin(g). Exploring signification in black American life and literature by analyzing the transmission and revision of various signifying figures, Gates provides an extended analysis of what he calls the "Talking Book," a central trope in early slave narratives that virtually defines the tradition of black American letters. Gates uses this critical framework to examine several major works of African-American literature--including Zora Neale Hurston's Their Eyes Were Watching God, Ralph Ellison's Invisible Man, and Ishmael Reed's Mumbo Jumbo--revealing how these works signify on the black tradition and on each other. The second volume in an enterprising trilogy on African-American literature, The Signifying Monkey--which expands the arguments of Figures in Black--makes an important contribution to literary theory, African-American literature, folklore, and literary history.
NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER • NAMED ONE OF THE BEST BOOKS OF THE YEAR BY THE WASHINGTON POST AND KIRKUS REVIEWS

Hailed as “the indispensable critic” by The New York Review of Books, Harold Bloom—New York Times bestselling writer and Sterling Professor of Humanities at Yale University—has for decades been sharing with readers and students his genius and passion for understanding literature and explaining why it matters. Now he turns at long last to his beloved writers of our national literature in an expansive and mesmerizing book that is one of his most incisive and profoundly personal to date. A product of five years of writing and a lifetime of reading and scholarship, The Daemon Knows may be Bloom’s most masterly book yet.
 
Pairing Walt Whitman with Herman Melville, Ralph Waldo Emerson with Emily Dickinson, Nathaniel Hawthorne with Henry James, Mark Twain with Robert Frost, Wallace Stevens with T. S. Eliot, and William Faulkner with Hart Crane, Bloom places these writers’ works in conversation with one another, exploring their relationship to the “daemon”—the spark of genius or Orphic muse—in their creation and helping us understand their writing with new immediacy and relevance. It is the intensity of their preoccupation with the sublime, Bloom proposes, that distinguishes these American writers from their European predecessors.
 
As he reflects on a lifetime lived among the works explored in this book, Bloom has himself, in this magnificent achievement, created a work touched by the daemon.
 
Praise for The Daemon Knows

“Enrapturing . . . radiant . . . intoxicating . . . Harold Bloom, who bestrides our literary world like a willfully idiosyncratic colossus, belongs to the party of rapture.”—Cynthia Ozick, The New York Times Book Review

“The capstone to a lifetime of thinking, writing and teaching . . . The primary strength of The Daemon Knows is the brilliance and penetration of the connections Bloom makes among the great writers of the past, the shrewd sketching of intellectual feuds or oppositions that he calls agons. . . . Bloom’s books are like a splendid map of literature, a majestic aerial view that clarifies what we cannot see from the ground.”—The Washington Post

“Audacious . . . The Yale literary scholar has added another remarkable treatise to his voluminous body of work.”—The Huffington Post
 
“The sublime The Daemon Knows is a veritable feast for the general reader (me) as well as the advanced (I assume) one.”—John Ashbery
 
“Mesmerizing.”—New York Journal of Books
 
“Bloom is a formidable critic, an extravagant intellect.”—Chicago Tribune
 
“As always, Bloom conveys the intimate, urgent, compelling sense of why it matters that we read these canonical authors.”—Kirkus Reviews (starred review)

“Few people write criticism as nakedly confident as Bloom’s any more.”—The Guardian (U.K.)
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Hailed in The New York Times Book Review as "eclectic, exciting, convincing, provocative" and in The Washington Post Book World as "brilliantly original," Henry Louis Gates, Jr.'s The Signifying Monkey is a groundbreaking work that illuminates the relationship between the African and African-American vernacular traditions and black literature. It elaborates a new critical approach located within this tradition that allows the black voice to speak for itself. Examining the ancient poetry and myths found in African, Latin American, and Caribbean culture, Gates uncovers a unique system for interpretation and a powerful vernacular tradition that black slaves brought with them to the New World. Exploring the process of signification in black American life and literature by analyzing the transmission and revision of various signifying figures, Gates provides an extended analysis of what he calls the "Talking Book," a central trope in early slave narratives that virtually defines the tradition of black American letters. Gates uses this critical framework to examine several major works of African-American literature--including Zora Neale Hurston's Their Eyes Were Watching God, Ralph Ellison's Invisible Man, and Ishmael Reed's Mumbo Jumbo--revealing how these works signify on the black tradition and on each other. This superb 25th-Anniversary Edition features a new preface by Gates that reflects on the impact of the book and its relevance for today's society as well as a new afterword written by noted critic W. T. J. Mitchell.
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