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Philosophizing Brecht

Critical Readings on Art, Consciousness, Social Theory and Performance

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Edited by Norman Roessler and Anthony Squiers

This anthology unites scholars from varied backgrounds with the notion that the theories and artistic productions of Bertolt Brecht are key missing links in bridging diverse discourses in social philosophy, theatre, consciousness studies, and aesthetics. It offers readers interdisciplinary perspectives that create unique dialogues between Brecht and important thinkers such as Althusser, Anders, Bakhtin, Benjamin, Godard, Marx, and Plato. While exploring salient topics such as consciousness, courage, ethics, political aesthetics, and representations of race and the body, it penetrates the philosophical Brecht seeing in him the never-ending dialectic—the idea, the theory, the narrative, the character that is never foreclosed. This book is an essential read for all those interested in Brecht as a socio-cultural theorist and for theatre practitioners.

Contributors: Kevin S. Amidon, José María Durán, Felix J. Fuch, Philip Glahn, Jim Grilli, Wolfgang Fritz Haug, Norman Roessler, Jeremy Spencer, Anthony Squiers, Peter Zazzali.
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Spaces of Longing and Belonging

Territoriality, Ideology and Creative Identity in Literature and Film

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Edited by Brigitte le Juez and Bill Richardson

Spaces of Longing and Belonging contains theoretical and interpretative studies of spatiality centered on a variety of literary and cultural contexts. It offers new and complementary insights into creative uses of spatiality in artistic texts and generally into the field of spatiality as a cultural phenomenon, especially, although not exclusively, in terms of literary space. Ranging over questions of aesthetics, politics, sociohistorical concerns, issues of postcoloniality, transculturality, ecology and features of interpersonal spaces, among others, the essays provide a considerable collection of innovative scholarship on crucial questions relating to literary spatiality generally, as well as detailed analyses of particular works and authors. The volume includes ground-breaking theoretical investigations of crucial dimensions of spatiality in a context of increased global awareness.
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Edited by Pedro Querido and María Ibáñez-Rodríguez

This volume brings together essays that examine a vast gamut of different contemporary cultural manifestations of fear, anxiety, horror, and terror. Topics range from the feminine sublime in American novels to the monstrous double in horror fiction, (in)security at music festivals, the uncanny in graphic novels, epic heroes' Being-towards-death and authenticity, atrocity and history in Central European art, the theme of old age in absurdist literature, and iterations of the "home invasion" subgenre in post-9/11 popular culture. This diversity of insights and methodologies ensures a kaleidoscopic look at a cluster of phenomena and experiences that often manage to both be immediately and universally recognizable and defy straightforward categorization or even description. Contributors are Emily-Rose Carr, Ghada Saad Hassan, Woodrow Hood, María Ibáñez-Rodríguez, Nicole M. Jowsey, Marta Moore, Pedro Querido and Ana Romão.
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A Philosophy of the Possible

Modalities in Thought and Culture

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Mikhail Epstein

In this book, Mikhail Epstein offers a systematic theory of modalities (the actual, possible, and necessary), as applied to the discourse of philosophy in its post-Kantian and especially post-Derridean perspectives. He relies on his own experience of living in the USSR and the US, dominated respectively by imperative and possibilist modalities. Possibilism assumes that a thing or event acquires meaning only in the context of its multiple possibilities, inviting counterfactual and conditional modes of description. The author focuses on the creative potentials of possibilistic thinking and its heuristic value. The book demonstrates the range of modal approaches to society, culture, ethics, and language, and outlines potentiology as a new philosophical discipline interacting with ontology and epistemology.
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How to Do Things with Affects

Affective Triggers in Aesthetic Forms and Cultural Practices

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Edited by Ernst van Alphen and Tomáš Jirsa

How to Do Things with Affects develops affect as a highly productive concept for both cultural analysis and the reading of aesthetic forms. Shifting the focus from individual experiences and the human interiority of personal emotions and feelings toward the agency of cultural objects, social arrangements and aesthetic matter, the book examines how affects operate and are triggered by aesthetic forms, media events and cultural practices. Transgressing disciplinary boundaries and emphasizing close reading, the collected essays explore manifold affective transmissions and resonances enacted by modernist literary works, contemporary visual arts, horror and documentary films, museum displays and animated pornography, with a special focus on how they impact on political events, media strategies and social situations.

Contributors: Ernst van Alphen, Mieke Bal, Maria Boletsi, Eugenie Brinkema, Pietro Conte, Anne Fleig, Bernd Herzogenrath, Tomáš Jirsa, Matthias Lüthjohann, Susanna Paasonen, Christina Riley, Jan Slaby, Eliza Steinbock, Christiane Voss.
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Bernard Vargaftig

Esthétique du renversement

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Régis Lefort

Dans cette monographie, Régis Lefort met en evidence le caractère pictural du poème de Bernard Vargaftig (1934-2012), et la composition musicale de l’œuvre. Il envisage le phénomène de renversement, que ne cesse de convoquer le poète, comme une esthétique poétique, comme l’identité même du poème. Commençant par le dernier vers et remontant jusqu’au premier, le poète creuse la langue du poème pour en identifier la source. Le renversement est aussi une façon de détruire, d’entrer dans l’avalanche, pour rebâtir, aller vers l’aube des mots. Il s’inscrit dans l’omnipresence de la culture hébraïque, selon laquelle la quête du réel ne dévoilerait aucune vérité, inaccessible à la raison humaine, mais produirait un bouleversement de la connaissance, de l’ordre de la connaissance ontologique.

Régis Lefort's study of Bernard Vargaftig (1934-2012) highlights the pictorial character of his poems and the musical composition of his work. Lefort locates in the phenomenon of reversal, so frequently enacted by Vargaftig, a poetic aesthetic and the very identity of the poem. Beginning with the last line and working back to the first, the poet burrows deep into the language of the poem to identify its source. Reversal is also a means of destruction, of entering into an avalanche, in order to rebuild the poem and go towards the dawn of words. It marks in the work the omnipresence of Hebrew culture, according to which the search for the real can reveal no truth, since all truth is inaccessible to human reason, but rather entails an upheaval of knowledge that is in itself the very condition of ontological knowledge.
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The Nature Essay

Ecocritical Explorations

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Simone Schröder

The Nature Essay: Ecocritical Explorations is the first extended study of a powerful literary form born out of the traditions of Enlightenment and Romanticism. It traces the varied stylistic paradigms of the ‘nature essay’ down to the present day. Reading essays as platforms for ecological discourse, the book analyses canonical and marginalised texts, mainly from German, English and American literature. Simone Schröder argues that the essay’s environmental impact is rooted in its negotiation of scientific, poetic, spiritual, and ethical modes of perceiving nature. Together, the chapters on these four aspects form a historical panorama of the nature essay as a genre that continues to flourish in our time of ecological crisis.

Authors discussed include: Alexander von Humboldt, Henry David Thoreau, Virginia Woolf, Robert Musil, Ernst Jünger, W.G. Sebald, Kathleen Jamie, and David Foster Wallace.
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Edited by Helen Yitah and Helen Lauer

Philosophical Foundations of the African Humanities through Postcolonial Perspectives critiques recent claims that the humanities, especially in public universities in poor countries, have lost their significance, defining missions, methods and standards due to the pressure to justify their existence. The predominant responses to these claims have been that the humanities are relevant for creating a “world culture” to address the world’s problems. This book argues that behind such arguments lies a false neutrality constructed to deny the values intrinsic to marginalized cultures and peoples and to justify their perceived inferiority. These essays by scholars in postcolonial studies critique these false claims about the humanities through critical analyses of alterity, difference, and how the Other is perceived, defined and subdued. Contributors: Gordon S.K. Adika, Kofi N. Awoonor, E. John Collins, Kari Dako, Mary Esther Kropp Dakubu, James Gibbs, Helen Lauer, Bernth Lindfors, J.H. Kwabena Nketia, Abena Oduro, Gayatri Chakravorty Spivak, Olúfémi Táíwò, Alexis B. Tengan, Kwasi Wiredu, Francis Nii-Yartey
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Ayse Ozge Kocak Hemmat

Acknowledgements Prologue Introduction 1 The Rationality of Turkish Modernity 1 Appropriating Rationality 2 Military Reforms and Intellectual Concerns 3 Scientistic Rationality 4 Rational Nationhood 2 Reason Demands Rational Novels Discourse on the Novel 3 Araba Sevdasi—a Novel of Bad Education and Civilized Monsters 1 Books and Follies: Bihruz Bey’s Misadventures in Reading 2 Between Divertissement and Travail—or, How to Approach the Novel 3 Çamlica Garden: Irrational Uses of Rational Spaces 4 Yaban: Inventing the Adversary in Irrational Provinces 1 Confronting the Peasant: Noble Savage or Beast? 2 Parade of Beasts against the Humanist 3 Object of an Idea, or the Truth of the Peasant 5 The Past as an Object: Orientalist Fantasies of Ahmet Hamdi Tanpinar 1 Objectifying the Past: Orientalist Aestheticization of Culture 2 Continuing a Tradition and Confining the Past 3 Where to Find Peace of Mind: Huzur as a Novel of Ottoman Fantasies  3.1 Between Nuran and Ihsan—Sacred Light and Secular Beneficence  3.2 Not an Odalisque from a Matisse Painting 4 Eliminating the Past and Resetting the Clocks in Saatleri Ayarlama Enstitüsü 6 Reason’s Quarrel with Totalizing Rationality in Oguz Atay 1 Reason versus Totalizing Rationality 2 Butchering and Philosophy: How Rationality Mutilates Reason 3 Pure Reason’s Union with Naïve Reason Epilogue Bibliography Index
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Carlos van Tongeren

In recent years, both the intellectual lucidity of melancholy and the liberating potentials of comedy, irony and humour have emerged as central preoccupations in critical theory and literary criticism. In this book, Carlos van Tongeren offers a thorough and innovative reflection on the intersections between comedy and melancholy. Through detailed readings of almost twenty novels by three key writers of detective fiction in the Spanish-speaking world, he puts diverse melancholic attitudes towards the past and the multiple “surplus” values of comedy into a clear historical perspective. As such, this book provides a profound understanding of how comedy and melancholy have shaped Hispanic detective fiction following wider political and cultural developments in the post-totalitarian contexts of Spain, Mexico and Cuba.

En años recientes, la lucidez intelectual de la melancolía y los potenciales liberadores de la comedia, la risa y el humor han emergido como preocupaciones centrales en la teoría crítica y crítica literaria. En este libro, Carlos van Tongeren ofrece una reflexión profunda e innovadora sobre las intersecciones entre la comedia y la melancolía. A través de una lectura detallada de una veintena de novelas de representantes clave de la ficción policiaca en el mundo hispanohablante, el autor muestra cómo la comedia y la melancolía han influido en la ficción policiaca en español, de acuerdo con cambios políticos y culturales más amplios en los contextos postotalitarios de España, México y Cuba.