The second part of the book focuses on three regional branches of semiotics: biosemiotics, picture analysis, and the theory of literature. Based on diagrammatology, these domains appear as accessible for a diagrammatological approach which leaves the traditional relativism and culturalism of semiotics behind and hence constitutes a realist semiotics.
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.
From the Hardcover edition.
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.
From the Hardcover edition.
Written in response to the sudden death of one of his students, who died tragically in an automobile accident on her way to Salwak’s office to talk over her career plans, Teaching Life is an effort to impart lessons to the next generation of teachers: “It was the suddenness of her death, I think, along with the utter loss of so much potential, which struck me forcibly, and I found myself wondering if anything I had said in class had made a difference in her too-short life or, for that matter, in the lives of any of my students.”
By turns analytical, reflective, and exhortatory, Teaching Life unselfconsciously captures the fascination, enlightenment, and sheer joy that literary studies can offer professors and students. It also implicitly speaks to society's prevailing—and disturbing—prejudice against the profession.
Seeking their deep motivations, causes and concatenations, we fabulate relatively stabilized networks of interconnecting meaning – history. But to understand the meaning and sense of these networks’ reconfigurations call for the purpose and telos of our endless undertaking; they remain always incomplete, carried onwards with the current of life, while fluctuating with personal experience in the play of memory.
Facts and life stories, subjective desires and propensities, the circumambient world in its historical moves, creative logos and mythos, personal freedom and inward stirrings thrown in an enigmatic interplay, prompt our imperative thirst for the meaning of this course, its purpose and its fulfillment – the sense of it all. To disentangle all this animates the passions of the literary genius.
The focus of this collection is to isolate the main arteries running through the intermingled forces prompting our quest to endow life with meaning.
Papers by: Jadwiga Smith, Lawrence Kimmel, Alira Ashvo-Munoz, William D. Melaney, Imafedia Okhamafe, Michel Dion, Franck Dalmas, Ludmila Molodkina, Victor Gerald Rivas, Rebecca M. Painter, Matti Itkonen, Raymond J. Wilson III, Christopher S. Schreiner, Bruce Ross, Bernadette Prochaska, Tsung-I Dow, Jerre Collins, Cezary Jozef Olbromski, Victor Kocay, Roberto Verolini.