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Edited by Elena Namli, Jayne Svenungsson and Alana M. Vincent

In response to the grim realities of the present world Jewish thought has not tended to retreat into eschatological fantasy, but rather to project utopian visions precisely on to the present moment, envisioning redemptions that are concrete, immanent, and necessarily political in nature. In difficult times and through shifting historical contexts, the messianic hope in the Jewish tradition has functioned as a political vision: the dream of a peaceful kingdom, of a country to return to, or of a leader who will administer justice among the nations. Against this background, it is unsurprising that Jewish messianism in modern times has been transposed, and lives on in secular political movements and ideologies.
The purpose of this book is to contribute to the deeper understanding of the relationship between Jewish thought, utopia, and revolution, by taking a fresh look at its historical and religious roots. We approach the issue from several perspectives, with differences of opinion presented both in regard to what Jewish tradition is, and how to regard utopia and revolution. These notions are multifaceted, comprising aspects such as political messianism, religious renewal, Zionism, and different forms of Marxist and Anarchistic movements.

Darwin Becomes Art

Aesthetic Vision in the Wake of Darwin: 1870–1920

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Hugh Ridley

This book analyses Darwin’s influence on art and the effect of his science on experiences of beauty. The first chapter discusses Darwin’s great forerunner, Alexander von Humboldt, and his contribution to thinking about the relationship between science and beauty. The second examines the public reception of Darwin in Germany, focusing on the German Naturalists and the important scientific controversies which Darwin’s idea provoked. It shows the political use of science (Häckel and Virchow) and foreshadows present-day debates between Darwinism and Creationism, science and an idealized view of nature.
Against this background the book shows the effect of Darwin on three important fields: the perception of landscape in major writers (Zola, Lawrence, Jacobsen, Benn and Brecht) before 1920; the portrayal of wild life, as revealed in bird-painting; and the understanding of the relationship between the human body and character.
The book brings together for the first time Darwin’s The Expression of Emotion with the work of major European novelists (Eliot, Gutzkow and Freytag), focusing on the place of the older understandings contained in physiognomy, which Darwin challenged, on the portrayal of ethnicity, and on debates about acting, including for the young Brecht.

Decolonizing the Landscape

Indigenous Cultures in Australia

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Edited by Beate Neumeier and Kay Schaffer

How does one read across cultural boundaries? The multitude of creative texts, performance practices, and artworks produced by Indigenous writers and artists in contemporary Australia calls upon Anglo-European academic readers, viewers, and critics to respond to this critical question.
Contributors address a plethora of creative works by Indigenous writers, poets, playwrights, filmmakers, and painters, including Richard Frankland, Lionel Fogarty, Lin Onus, Kim Scott, Sam Watson, and Alexis Wright, as well as Durrudiya song cycles and works by Western Desert artists. The complexity of these creative works transcends categorical boundaries of Western art, aesthetics, and literature, demanding new processes of reading and response. Other contributors address works by non-Indigenous writers and filmmakers such as Stephen Muecke, Katrina Schlunke, Margaret Somerville, and Jeni Thornley, all of whom actively engage in questioning their complicity with the past in order to challenge Western modes of knowledge and understanding and to enter into a more self-critical and authentically ethical dialogue with the Other.
In probing the limitations of Anglo-European knowledge-systems, essays in this volume lay the groundwork for entering into a more authentic dialogue with Indigenous writers and critics.

Fantasy, Politics, Postmodernity

Pratchett, Pullman, Miéville and Stories of the Eye

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Andrew Rayment

“The books are true while reality is lying…” Championing the popular Fantasy genre on the same terms as its readers, Rayment casts a critical eye over the substance and methods of political critique in the Fantasy novels of Terry Pratchett, Philip Pullman and China Miéville. Ranging across subjects as diverse as exquisite fundamentalism and revolutionary trains, encountering pervert-priests, dwarf hermaphrodites and sex-scarred lovers and pondering the homicidal tendencies of fairy tales and opera, Fantasy, Politics, Postmodernity develops a theoretically wide-ranging and illuminating account of how the novels of these writers do and do not sustain politically insightful critique of the real world, while bringing intellectual and ethical concerns to bear on the popular Fantasy form.

Fluxus

The Practice of Non-Duality

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Natasha Lushetich

Focusing on the most definition-resistant art movement in history and departing from its two chief characteristics: intermediality and interactivity, this book develops an original theory of practice, the experiential philosophy of non-duality, which is the philosophy of dynamic co-constitutivity. This is done by tracing the performativity of intermedial works – works that fall conceptually between the art and the life media, such as Bengt af Klintbergs’s event score: “Eat an orange as if it were an apple” – in five key areas of human experience: language, temporality, the sensorium, social rites and rituals, and systems of economic exchange. The main argument, woven with the aid of the Derridian blind tactics, the Gramscian production of social life and the Zen-derived interexpression of Kitaro Nishida, is that the practical philosophy of co-constitutivity arises from the logic of the intermedium. In pursuing this argument, the book does three things: (1) it theorises an oeuvre that has remained under-theorised due to its fundamentally non-discursive nature and in doing so reinstates Fluxus as an influential cultural, rather than a “merely” artistic paradigm; (2) it serves as a companion to thinking by doing since most Fluxus intermedia are ready-mades, and, as such, readily available in the everyday environment; and (3) it establishes the counter-hegemonic logic of fluxing while tracing its legacy in contemporary practices as diverse as the culture-jamming activism of The Yes Men, the paradoxical performance work of Song Dong and the pervasive game worlds of Blast Theory.

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Mireille Blanchet-Douspis

Marguerite Yourcenar a répété qu’on ne comprenait bien l’histoire du présent qu’à la lumière du passé. Dans cette affirmation, il y a assurément une vérité difficilement réfutable. Cependant, ne juger que d’après le passé, n’est-ce pas poser a priori que le présent n’en est que la reproduction et que rien ne change jamais dans l’histoire de l’humanité universelle ? Cela revient à nier toute idée de progrès et d’évolution et à entériner le concept d’éternel retour. Cette notion qui n’est pas neutre du point de vue idéologique incite à scruter l’image que Yourcenar donne de l’histoire contemporaine avec un esprit critique, aussi bien en ce qui concerne le style que les choix opérés par la romancière. Une observation se dégage de l’étude des rapports sociaux et des questions morales, intellectuelles ou plus nettement politiques dans les romans de Yourcenar. Elle se rattache toujours à un courant de pensée traditionaliste, voire conservateur, caractéristique de l’idéologie politique de la droite européenne du XXe siècle.

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Edited by Carole Edwards

Les littératures francophones postcoloniales portent l’empreinte de la douleur, du compromis ou encore de l’oubli, notions qui transparaissent dans celle du sacrifice. Dans ce collectif, les auteurs se penchent sur différentes représentations et fonctions du sacrifice dans le roman, le théâtre, la nouvelle, et le film antillais, haïtien, africain et québécois. L’étude déploie la diversité, tant dans le ton que la forme, du sacrifice dans des régions géographiques diverses et selon des esthétiques variées. Qu’il s’agisse du sacrifice au sens propre ou de l’artifice, la notion demeure riche en interprétations et traduit le caractère unique des littératures francophones. Don de soi ou don de l’autre, l’étude du sacrifice nous permet de comprendre l’Histoire d’hommes et de femmes pris dans le tourbillon de leur culture respective face au « destin ».

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Mary Elizabeth Anderson

Over the period 1999-2005, choreographer and dancer Tess de Quincey and a team of international artists conducted a series of art-laboratories and performances in and around the Central Desert town of Alice Springs. These art-labs culminated in the 2005 performance of Dictionary of Atmospheres, staged during the Alice Desert Festival. Drawing upon practice-based research conducted while interning with de Quincey during the development and staging of Dictionary of Atmospheres, Anderson contemplates the way in which moments from the production illustrate the artist’s approach to and articulation of place. Meeting Places offers meditation on the nature of experience as it manifests in serial site-specific art encounters in desert locations.

Mosaic of Juxtaposition

William S. Burroughs’ Narrative Revolution

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Micheal Sean Bolton

William S. Burroughs’ experimental narratives, from the 1959 publication of Naked Lunch through the late trilogy of the 1980s, have provided readers with intriguing challenges and, for some, disheartening frustrations. Yet, these novels continue to generate new interest and inspire new insights among an increasing and evolving readership. This book addresses the unique characteristics of Burroughs’ narrative style in order to discover strategies for engaging and navigating these demanding novels. Bolton advises, “Burroughs’ subversive themes and randomizing techniques do not amount to unmitigated attacks on conventions, as many critics suggest, but constitute part of a careful strategy for effecting transformations in his readers”. Utilizing various poststructuralist theories, as well as recent theories in electronic literature and posthumanism, Mosaic of Juxtaposition examines the various strategies that Burroughs employs to challenge assumptions about textual interpretation and to redefine the relationship between reader and text.

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Edited by Walter Bernhart and Lawrence Kramer

The essays collected here raise a simple but rarely asked question: just what, exactly, is voice? From this founding question, many others proliferate: Is voice an animal category, as Aristotle thought? Or is it distinctively human? Is it essentially related to language? To music? To song and singing? Is it a mark of presence or of absence? Is it a kind of object? How is our sense of voice affected by the development of recording technology? The authors in this volume approach such questions primarily by turning away from a general idea of voice and instead investigating what can be learned by attending to the qualities and acts of particular voices. The range is wide: from Poe’s “Leigeia” to Woolf’s The Waves, from Jussi Björling to Waltraud Meier, from song to oratorio to opera and beyond. Throughout, consistent with the volume’s origin in papers delivered at the eighth biennial meeting of the International Association for Word and Music Studies, the role of voice in joining or separating words and music is paramount. These studies address key topics in musicology, literary criticism, philosophy, aesthetics, and performance studies, and will also appeal to practicing musicians.