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Series:

Edited by Ingo Berensmeyer and Christoph Ehland

Literature as cultural discourse has always courted mobility. From the nomadic wanderings of the heroes of Homer and Virgil through the adventures of the medieval knight-errants to the travellers of modern times, movement and mobility have been constitutive elements of story-telling. Since writers have begun to explore the experiential dimension of movement their texts have embraced the essential changeability and instability of ‘mobile worlds’. In this sense literature reflects and processes the transformative force of movement on the perception of the world and is part of the broader cultural discourses of mobility.
From the 1936 film Night Mail to the rapid movements of the dime novel detective and the metaphorical coding of automobility in Futurist poetry, the essays in this volume offer new perspectives on the phenomenon of mobility at the intersection between the literary imagination and cultural experience. They explore movement as a decisive force of change in the history of modernity and show how literature in its representation of mobility simultaneously aims both to mirror and to grasp the phenomenon.

No Maps for These Territories

Cities, Spaces, and Archaeologies of the Future in William Gibson

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Karin Hoepker

No Maps for These Territories offers an archaeology of seemingly tried and trusted concepts: cartography, architecture, urban space. While rethinking Michel Foucault’s theories, Karin Hoepker reconstructs the cartographic dispositives of spatial order. The futuristic fictional cityscapes of science fiction writer William Gibson are the touchstone for this epistemological analysis and typology of spatial formations. In seven probing chapters that focus on architectural blueprints, forms of inhabitation, Wunderkammern, and economic formations of retail, consumption, and entertainment such as shopping malls, amusement parks, and gambling meccas, Hoepker investigates a set of exemplary phenomena crucial to the fields of architecture, geography, philosophy, cartography, history of science, literary studies, and the arts. No Maps for These Territories thus offers close readings of fictional, philosophical, and theoretical texts, and examines instructive examples of the workings of spatial production. In a form of contrastive writing, the monograph sheds critical light on theoretical and fictional texts equally.

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Edited by Pascale Guibert

Too many landscapes have been reduced to silent commodities by being put into golden frames on top of our fireplaces. Too many landscapes have been reified by being considered as objects holding forth referents to an omnipotent looker-on, with his/her language ever ready to seize and transcribe. The articles gathered here, prolonging an international conference held at the University of Caen Basse-Normandie (France), 14-16 June 2007, set the landscapes loose again by engaging with their essentially relational quality.
What makes this volume particularly stimulating and critically innovative is this initial acknowledgement of a landscape’s reflectiveness – that is the fact that it contains unthought thought, and thus presents itself to us both passively and actively. This straightaway appraisal of the lines of flight in the seemingly static, tranquil images facing us, has opened the way to deeply critical readings bent on questioning old tracks, testing new itineraries, denying the closure of the subject. At the same time, and by way of consequence, it leads us to encounter the force in landscape. A force like an energy, an impetus, which makes it possible – if not advisable! – to still compose, read and enjoy landscapes in the XXIst century.

Metaphors, Narratives, Emotions

Their Interplay and Impact

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Stefán Snævarr

This book argues that there is a complex logical and epistemological interplay between the concepts of metaphor, narrative, and emotions. They share a number of important similarities and connections. In the first place, all three are constituted by aspect-seeing, the seeing-as or perception of Gestalts. Secondly, all three are meaning-endowing devices, helping us to furnish our world with meaning. Thirdly, the threesome constitutes a trinity. Emotions have both a narrative and metaphoric structure, and we can analyse the concepts of metaphors and narratives partly in each other’s terms. Further, the concept of narratives can partly be analysed in the terms of emotions. And if emotions have both a narrative structure and a metaphoric one, then the concept of emotions must to some extent be analysable through the concepts of narratives and metaphors. But there is more. Metaphors (especially poetic ones) are important tools for the understanding of the tacit sides of emotions, perhaps because of the metaphoric structure of emotions. The notion that narrations can be tools for understanding emotions follows from two facts: narrations are devices for explanation and emotions have a narrative structure. Fourthly, the threesome has an impact on our rationality. It has become commonplace to say that emotions have a cognitive content, that narratives have an explanatory function, and that metaphors can perform cognitive functions. This book is the first attempt to articulate the implications that these new ways of seeing the three concepts entail for our concept of reason. The cognitive roles of the threesome suggest a richer notion of rationality than has traditionally been held, a rationality enlivened with metaphoric, narrative, and emotive qualities.

Process

Landscape and Text

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Edited by Catherine Brace and Adeline Johns-Putra

While the relationship between place and creative effort has been the focus of pronounced new interest in various disciplines, the contours and co-ordinates of the process by which one informs the other, by which landscape shapes text and vice versa, have yet to be delineated in any systematic fashion. This volume sheds light on that process, investigating the ways in which it is both reciprocal and interstitial: how does text shape our perception of landscape as much as it is shaped by it, and how do we account for the points at which text and landscape intersect? The first part of the volume introduces us to the question of process in landscape and literary studies; the second part examines the moments within the process by which landscape and text come to bear upon each other; and the final part deals with the relationship between the material experience of landscape and the formal characteristics of a given text, using this to reflect back on the processes of landscape perception and creativity. This volume spans the disciplines of geography, literary studies, and the visual arts. It also brings together scholarly and creative perspectives, interspersing academic commentary with poetic-photographic essays.

Patterns of Creativity

Investigations into the sources and methods of creativity

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Kevin Brophy

Patterns of Creativity reflects on the implications of recent neuro-science findings, evolutionary theory and linguistics for ideas about creativity and the practice of creativity.
Kevin Brophy approaches questions of art and creation from-the-inside, that is as a poet himself. The conclusions about what it might mean to be a creative writer are counter-intuitive. What might it mean to understand the production of art as an evolutionary process with no endpoint and no goal? If consciousness is a minor player in decision-making and problem-solving as recent neuro-science findings suggest, how best might an artist manage conscious intentions while seeking to make original art?
Brophy argues that consciousness must be managed in new ways if creativity is to be sourced, that much of what we learn in education is learned without consciousness being involved, that a writer must read with a particular agenda, that writing is itself a particular kind of communication beyond speech, requiring specific skills. He argues that the metaphor is not merely a poetic device but is central to the way human thought proceeds and the way communication happens. It is the strange and surprising view-from-within informed by those views science offers to art that preoccupy these investigations.

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Donald Wesling

Joys and Sorrows of Imaginary Persons is a literary approach to consciousness where Donald Wesling denies that emotion is the scandal or handmaid of reason—rather emotion is the co-creator with reason of human life in the world. Discoveries in neuro-science in the 1990s Decade of the Brain have proven that thinking and feeling are wrapped with each other, and regulate and fulfill each other. Accepting this co-creative equality, we reveal a new role for literature, or a traditional role we’ve repressed: literature as a set of processes in time where we’ve thought feeling through stories about the lives of imaginary persons. We need these stories in order to practice emotions for when we return to the world from reading. Donald Wesling argues that to be more accurate in our dealings with stories, we require a grammar of this new recognition, where we build up traditional stylistics by a more careful tracking of emotion-states as these are set into writing.
The first half of Joys and Sorrows of Imaginary Persons offers a creative stock-taking of the current state of scholarship on emotion, based on wide reading in several fields. The second half gives three focused studies, rich in examples, of emotion as cognition, as story, and as historical structure of feeling.

Cognition in Emotion

An Investigation through Experiences with Art

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Tone Roald

Emotions are essential for human existence, both lighting the way toward the brightest of achievements and setting the course into the darkness of suffering. Not surprisingly, then, emotion research is currently one of the hottest topics in the field of psychology. Yet to divine the nature of emotion is a complex and extensive task. In this book emotions are approached thought an exploration of the nature of cognition in emotion; the nature of thoughts in feelings. Different approaches to emotions are explored, from brain research to research at the level of experience, and it is argued that all approaches must seriously take into account the experiential dimension. A qualitative study of experiences with art is therefore presented, as emotions and cognition are often expressed in experiences with art. It is the first study of its kind. Descriptions of various affective phenomena are then given which have significant implications for contemporary debates about emotions, resolving several contemporary controversies.

Culture, Creativity and Environment

New Environmentalist Criticism

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Edited by Ian Beckett and Terry Gifford

Culture, Creativity and Environment: New Environmentalist Criticism is a collection of new work which examines the intersection between philosophy, literature, visual art, film and the environment at a time of environmental crisis. This book is unusual in the way in which the ‘imaginative’, ‘creative’, element is privileged, notwithstanding the creativity of rigorous cultural criticism. Genuinely interdisciplinary, this book aims to be inclusive in its discussions of diverse cultural media (different literary genres, art forms and film for instance), which offer thoughtful and thought-provoking critiques of our relationships with the environment. Our ability to transcend the ethical and aesthetic categories and discourses that have contributed to our alienation from our environment is dependant upon an enlargement of our imaginative capacities. In a modest way this book might contribute to what Ted Hughes, speaking of the imagination of each new child, described as “nature’s chance to correct culture’s error”.

Five Emus to the King of Siam

Environment and Empire

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Edited by Helen Tiffin

Western exploitation of other peoples is inseparable from attitudes and practices relating to other species and the extra-human environment generally. Colonial depredations turn on such terms as ‘human’, ‘savage’, ‘civilised’, ‘natural’, ‘progressive’, and on the legitimacies governing apprehension and control of space and landscape. Environmental impacts were reinforced, in patterns of unequal ‘exchange’, by the transport of animals, plants and peoples throughout the European empires, instigating widespread ecosystem change under unequal power regimes (a harbinger of today’s ‘globalization’).
This book considers these imperial ‘exchanges’ and charts some contemporary legacies of those inequitable imports and exports, transportations and transmutations. Sheep farming in Australia, transforming the land as it dispossessed the native inhabitants, became a symbol of (new, white) nationhood. The transportation of plants (and animals) into and across the Pacific, even where benign or nostalgic, had widespread environmental effects, despite the hopes of the acclimatisation societies involved, and, by extension, of missionary societies “planting the seeds of Christianity.” In the Caribbean, plantation slavery pushed back the “jungle” (itself an imported word) and erased the indigenous occupants – one example of the righteous, biblically justified cultivation of the wilderness. In Australia, artistic depictions of landscape, often driven by romantic and ‘gothic’ aesthetics, encoded contradictory settler mindsets, and literary representations of colonial Kenya mask the erasure of ecosystems. Chapters on the early twentieth century (in Canada, Kenya, and Queensland) indicate increased awareness of the value of species-preservation, conservation, and disease control. The tension between traditional and ‘Euroscientific’ attitudes towards conservation is revealed in attitudes towards control of the Ganges, while the urge to resource exploitation has produced critical disequilibrium in Papua New Guinea. Broader concerns centering on ecotourism and ecocriticism are treated in further essays summarising how the dominant West has alienated ‘nature’ from human beings through commodification in the service of capitalist ‘progress’.