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Essays in Comparative Criticism
This collection of essays takes on two of the most pressing questions that face the discipline of Comparative Literature today: “Why compare?” and “Where do we go from here?”. At a difficult economic time, when universities all over the world once again have to justify the social as well as academic value of their work, it is crucial that we consider the function of comparison itself in reaching across disciplinary and cultural boundaries.
The essays written for this book are by researchers from all over the world, and range in topic from the problem of translating biblical Hebrew to modern atheism, from Freud to Marlene van Niekerk, from the formation of one person’s identity to experiences of globalisation, and the relation of history to fiction. Together they display the ground-breaking, ideas which lie at the heart of an act as deceptively simple as comparing one piece of writing to another.
Daniel Dennett famously claimed for Darwinian theory the status of universal solvent: the totalising theory of theories, even of theories of literature. Yet only a few writers and critics have followed his view. This volume asks why. It examines both evolution in literature, and the evolution of literature. It looks at literary representations of Darwinism both historically and synchronically, at how a theory of literature might be derived from evolutionary theory, and indeed how evolution as a process might be regarded as itself aesthetic. It complements these theoretical and historical dimensions of enquiry with the comparative dimension. It asks in short: What have been the representations of Darwinian evolutionary theory in literature since the late nineteenth century? What are the leading paradigms in theory and in literature for renovating the evolutionary model? What were, and are, the differences in British, French, German paradigms of literary Darwinian reception? How, if at all, did Darwinian modes of thought hybridise across national borders? Last, but not least: What is the future of the Darwinian mode?
The Horizons of Literary and Cultural Studies
The recent dramatic expansion of the field of transnational studies has reshaped discourses across the humanities and social sciences and created the opportunity for extensive multi-regional exchanges. Traversing Transnationalism intervenes into these developments by offering essays from scholars working both within and outside the metropolitan “centre”, and by reorientating the axis of research towards geopolitical and cultural formations located beyond the normal sites of production of globalization discourse. This interdisciplinary collection has a broad scope: it engages directly with a variety of literary and non-literary texts, diverse socio-cultural configurations, and the politics, theorization and aesthetics of transnationalism. It is of interest to both readers interested in how transnational discourses have been articulated in specific contexts and circumstances, and readers looking for an intervention into debates on transnationalism that draws attention to its complex, plural character.
Hybrid Spatialities and Multiple Temporalities
The twentieth century saw many revolutions. Various transformations in the political, economic, social, technological and artistic domains not only inaugurated new eras, or at least discourses about new eras; they also often entailed a radical reorientation in the very conceptions by which any revolution could be thought. This beautifully edited collection of essays addresses itself to the particular revolution by which we came to understand the unity of space and time as ontological categories.
The twelve papers collected in this volume explore the consequences of conceptions of time and its relationship to space. Although originating from the revolution in mathematics and theoretical physics, these essays extend the thinking of space-time in a multi-disciplinary approach through the philosophy of space and time, social geography, post-Marxian social theory, new network theory, the philosophy of art and culture, musicology, evolutionary biology, historiography, psychoanalytic theory, and comparative literature. The result is a fascinating snapshot of a nearly universal transformation, but one that was only slowly realized, as the debates in one field reverberated across a vast terrain of discourse and discipline. In tracing the varied responses to the developments emanating from theoretical physics, the essays in this volume reveal how discontinuous but profound shifts in knowledge and aesthetics ultimately converge on a radically transformed horizon.
Contributors are: Peter Galison, Richard T. W. Arthur, Nader El-Bizri, Chunglin Kwa, Leslie Kavanaugh, Mary Lynne Ellis, Patricia Locke, Sander van Maas, Raviv Ganchrow, Josef Früchtl, M. Christine Boyer, and Antoine Picon.
Editor: Barbara Schaff
This volume explores the dynamic and productive cultural forces engendered by exiles, wanderers, and diasporic communities in Britain and Italy over more than five centuries. It investigates the historic resonance of transnational encounters and movements between two European cultures that look back on a long history of cross-fertilisation. Drawn from a range of academic disciplines including literary studies, history, musicology, art history and bibliography, it presents the ways in which exiles, émigrés, intermediaries and their attendant cultural perspectives interact with the sometimes repressive, sometimes productive religious or political systems and ideologies that they encounter. This volume pays tribute to the stimulating exchange, circulation, and appropriation that has occurred between Britain and Italy, showing that the condition of displacement can lead not only to the articulation of loss and grief, but also to fruitful forms of interaction.
Ever since its appearance, Miguel de Cervantes’ Don Quixote has exerted a powerful influence on the artistic imagination all around the world. This cross-cultural volume offers important new readings of canonical reinterpretations of the Quixote: from Unamuno to Borges, from Ortega y Gasset to Calvino, from Mark Twain to Carlos Fuentes. But to the prestigious list of well-known authors who acknowledged Cervantes’ influence, it also adds new and surprising names, such as that of Subcomandante Marcos, who gives a Cervantine twist to his Mexican Zapatista revolution. Attention is paid to successful contemporary authors such as Paul Auster and Ricardo Piglia, as well as to the forgotten voice of the Belgian writer Joseph Grandgagnage. The volume breaks new ground by taking into consideration Belgian music and Dutch translations, as well as Cervantine procedures in Terry Gilliam’s Lost in La Mancha. In all, this book constitutes an indispensable guide for the further study of the Quixote’s Nachleben and offers exciting proposals for rereading Cervantes.
Questions of Identity in Contemporary International Crime Fiction
Investigating Identities: Questions of Identity in Contemporary International Crime Fiction is one of the relatively few books to date which adopts a comparative approach to the study of the genre. This collection of twenty essays by international scholars, examining crime fiction production from over a dozen countries, confirms that a comparative approach can both shed light on processes of adaptation and appropriation of the genre within specific national, regional or local contexts, and also uncover similarities between the works of authors from very different areas. Contributors explore discourse concerning national and historical memory, language, race, ethnicity, culture and gender, and examine how identity is affirmed and challenged in the crime genre today. They reveal a growing tendency towards hybridization and postmodern experimentation, and increasing engagement with philosophical enquiry into the epistemological dimensions of investigation. Throughout, the notion of stable identities is subject to scrutiny. While each essay in itself is a valuable addition to existing criticism on the genre, all the chapters mutually inform and complement each other in fascinating and often unexpected ways. This volume makes an important contribution to the growing field of crime fiction studies and to ongoing debates on questions of identity. It will therefore be of special interest to students and scholars of the crime genre, identity studies and comparative literature. It will also appeal to all who enjoy reading contemporary crime fiction.
The Case of World War I and World War II
The contributors to the present volume approach World War I and World War II as complex and intertwined crossroads leading to the definition of the new European (and world) reality, and deeply pervading the making of the twentieth century. These scholars belong to different yet complementary areas of research – history, literature, cinema, art history; they come from various national realities and discuss questions related to Italy, Britain, Germany, Poland, Spain, at times introducing a comparison between European and North American memories of the two World War experiences. These scholars are all guided by the same principle: to encourage the establishment of an interdisciplinary and trans-national dialogue in order to work out new approaches capable of integrating and acknowledging different or even opposing ways to perceive and interpret the same historical phenomenon. While assessing the way the memories of the two World Wars have been readjusted each time in relation to the evolving international historical setting and through various mediators of memory (cinema, literature, art and monuments), the various essays contribute to unveil a cultural panorama inhabited by contrasting memories and by divided memories not to emphasise divisions, but to acknowledge the ethical need for a truly shared act of reconciliation.
Dedicated to Walter Bernhart on the Occasion of his Retirement
Strange as it may seem, Cervantes’s novel Don Quixote, Marc Forster’s film Stranger than Fiction, Shakespeare’s play A Midsummer Night’s Dream, Pere Borrell del Caso’s painting “Escaping Criticism” reproduced on the cover of the present volume and Mozart’s sextet “A Musical Joke” all share one common feature: they include a meta-dimension. Metaization – the movement from a first cognitive, referential or communicative level to a higher one on which first-level phenomena self-reflexively become objects of reflection, reference and communication in their own right – is in fact a common feature not only of human thought and language but also of the arts and media in general. However, research into this issue has so far predominantly focussed on literature, where a highly differentiated, albeit strictly monomedial critical toolbox exists.
Metareference across Media remedies this onesidedness and closes the gap between literature and other media by providing a transmedial framework for analysing metaphenomena. The essays transcend the current notion of metafiction, pinpoint examples of metareference in hitherto neglected areas, discuss the capacity for metaization of individual media or genres from a media-comparative perspective, and explore major (historical) forms and functions as well aspects of the development of metaization in cultural history. Stemming from diverse disciplinary and methodological backgrounds, the contributors propose new and refined concepts and models and cover a broad range of media including fiction, drama, poetry, comics, photography, film, computer games, classical as well as popular music, painting, and architecture.
This collection of essays, which also contains a detailed theoretical introduction, will be relevant to students and scholars from a wide variety of fields: intermediality studies, semiotics, literary theory and criticism, musicology, art history, and film studies.