Literature and the Encounter with Immanence


In Literature and the Encounter with Immanence Brynnar Swenson collects nine original essays that approach the relationship between literature and immanence through methodologies grounded in the philosophy of Spinoza. One of Spinoza’s most provocative claims is a simple declaration of ignorance: “We do not know what a body can do.” A literary theory based on immanence privileges the ontological status of the text and the material act of reading. Rather than ask what a text means, the essays here ask what a text can do. Each essay documents a distinct literary and philosophical encounter with immanence and, as a result, opens up a space to read literature as one would read philosophy and vice versa.

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Brynnar Swenson, Ph.D. (Minnesota, 2008), is Associate Professor of English at Butler University (USA). His work has appeared in Cultural Critique, New American Notes Online, Letterature d'America, and The Journal of the Gilded Age and Progressive Era.
Reading the Encounter: An Introduction
Brynnar Swenson

1. ’We’ve been inside what we wanted all along’: David Foster Wallace’s Immanent Structures
Jeff Severs

2. Suffering Immanence in Beckett’s The Unnamable
Christopher Langlois

3. Immanence with a (Negative) Difference: Spinoza, Borges, and Barth
Zachary Tavlin

4. Explosions in the Family Theater: A Schizoanalytic reading of Thomas Pynchon’s Against the Day
Emaline Friedman and Hans Skott-Myhre

5. Immanent Realism: Time and the Corporate Form in William Gaddis’s JR
Brynnar Swenson

6. Peace and Love (and Fuck) as the Foundation of the World: Spinoza’s Ethics in Samuel Delany’s Through the Valley of the Nest of the Spiders
Stephen Zepke

7. The Wanderings of Displaced Memory: Immanence in the Essays of Czeslaw Milosz
Ignas Kalpokas

8. A Voyage in Immanence: The Particular Case of Fernando Pessoa’s Alberto Caeiro
Bartholomew Ryan

9. ’One Kind of Knowledge’: Poetic Language, Human Being, and Immanent Truth
Johanna Skibsrud, University of Arizona
All interested in the fields of literary study, Continental philosophy, critical/cultural theory, and those familiar with the work of Spinoza and contemporary political thought.
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