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The Pathogenesis of Fear gathers together diverse conversations about cultural constructions of the monstrous. Interdisciplinary essays map the margins of monstrosity as follows: the cannibalistic paradox in Kleist’s late-Romantic Penthesilea; intersections of the monstrous-feminine and the new Victorian psycho-physiology of consciousness in George Eliot’s early novels; the monster-formed citizens of Dickensian and later dystopias; the killing of African Americans targeted as monstrous entities in US cities; the post-human anguish of a television zombie-world; the monstrous mutilations of a Spanish horror film; psychosocial aberration in Martin Millar’s werewolf fiction; the demonization of the Other on the war-torn streets of Ireland; Derridean devouring sovereignty. Discursively correlated with different categories of body and mind, monstrosity, these essays argue, persists in taking many forms. Contributors are Elizabeth Hollis Berry, Niculae Gheran, Sarah Harris, Fiona Harris-Ramsby and Mubarak Muhammad, Michaela Marková, Kimberley McMahon Coleman, Judith Rahn, Cindy Smith and Marita Vyrgioti.
Author: Annie Ramel
The “madder stain” imprinted on Tess d’Urberville’s arm is part of a motif which runs through Hardy’s fiction. Similar to Barthes’s punctum shooting out of the studium, the stain is a place where the Real erupts, a blind spot that eludes interpretation. In the diegesis of the tragic novels, it is a surplus object whose intrusion disrupts reality and spells disaster. This book attempts to approach that unknowable kernel of jouissance by using Lacan’s concepts of object-gaze and object-voice—sometimes revisited by Zizek.
The stain has a vocal quality: it is silence audible. In a world where sound cannot reverberate for lack of a structural void, voice is by necessity muted, stuck in the throat. Hence the peculiar quality of Tess’s voice, a silent feminine cry that has retained something of the lost vocal object. The sound of silence is what Hardy’s poetic prose allows us to hear.
This work attempts a psychoanalytic listening to the ‘oral’ Homeric epics in an effort to extract, as it were, from the ancient text certain elements of psychoanalytic understanding that are of relevance to contemporary psychoanalysis. There is, in addition, a consideration of related philosophical and linguistic issues that are linked to the basic psychoanalytic concepts that emerge from such a listening.
The main themes treated rotate around the central axis of time as it is expressed in the Homeric epics. Thus, questions of transition, loss, mourning, tolerance, identity, metaphor and tragic fragmentation are addressed as they relate to the ancient text. The process of metabasis along contrasting psychic states of being is discussed as it provides the frame for the construction of the basic interval of time and of the flux of human identity.
Although psychoanalysis from its early beginnings has shown – largely owing to Freud’s positing the Oedipus complex as the nuclear conflict – a distinct interest in classical Antiquity, the area of the great Homeric Epics has been singularly neglected as a chosen focus of psychoanalytic attention. It is as if the Homeric Epics belonged to a prehistoric pre-oedipal world which, for a long time, was not the dominant concern of psychoanalysis. The merit of this book lies in the fact that it fills part of this lacuna in psychoanalytic studies.
When and How Psychology Explains Images
Author: Ian Verstegen
Cognitive Iconology is a new theory of the relation of psychology to art. Instead of being an application of psychological principles, it is a methodologically aware account of psychology, art and the nature of explanation. Rather than fight over biology or culture, it shows how they must fit together. The term “cognitive iconology” is meant to mirror other disciplines like cognitive poetics and musicology but the fear that images must be somehow transparent to understanding is calmed by the stratified approach to explanation that is outlined. In the book, cognitive iconology is a theory of cognitive tendencies that contribute to but are not determinative of an artistic meaning. At the center of the book are three case studies: images depicted within images, basic corrections to architectural renderings in images, and murals and paintings seen from the side. In all cases, there is a primitive perceptual pull that contribute to but do not override larger cultural meaning. The book then moves beyond the confines of the image to behavior around the image, and then ends with the concluding question of why some images are harder to understand than others. Cognitive Iconology promises to be important because it moves beyond the turf battles typically fought in image studies. It argues for a sustainable practice of interpretation that can live with other disciplines.
Interdisciplinary Perspectives on Gender and Emotion
Sexed Sentiments provides a gender perspective on the recent turn to affect in criticism. It presents new work by scholars from different disciplines working on gender and emotion, a field par excellence where an interdisciplinary focus is fruitful. This collection presents essays from disciplines like history, literary studies, psychology, sociology and queer studies, focusing on subjects varying from masculinity in the cult of sensibility to the role of empathy in forging feminist solidarities. The volume illuminates how new theoretical approaches to both gender and emotion may be productively applied to a variety of fields.
The process of poetry has importantly intuitive aspects and poetry embodies an ambivalence towards consciousness and towards those activities of thought in which it is constituted. It was ability to favour doubt over the productions of the rational mind that led Keats to associate poetry with his ‘negative capability’. Consciousness is – like poetry – a floating signifier, a term of wide reference, and with a range of implications in the various disciplinary contexts in which it finds currency. Poetry, consciousness and community is about poetry, consciousness and community, about their reflexive relationships in process, and about how these relationships matter to the world today and to worlds to come. This book is interested in the nature of poetic, as opposed to other, thought; it is interested in the critical application of these forms of thought to each others’ productions, and in how poetic thought might or might not be subject to its own regime. Poetry – as practice of testing the limits of language – entails a reflexive goal: that of understanding the journey in words made possible for, and by, the poem. Poetic meaning and truth are revealed between languages (likewise between genres, between texts, between subjects); it is in this inter-subjective and inter-cultural space that the limits of language (and so of conceivable worlds) are found.
A Critique of Theories of Presence in the Theatre
Author: Cormac Power
Presence in Play: A Critique of Theories of Presence in the Theatre is the first comprehensive survey and analysis of theatrical presence to be published. Theatre as an art form has often been associated with notions of presence. The ‘live’ immediacy of the actor, the unmediated unfolding of dramatic action and the ‘energy’ generated through an actor-audience relationship are among the ideas frequently used to explain theatrical experience – and all are underpinned by some understanding of ‘presence.’ Precisely what is meant by presence in the theatre is part of what Presence in Play sets out to explain. While this work is rooted in twentieth century theatre and performance since modernism, the author draws on a range of historical and theoretical material. Encompassing ideas from semiotics and phenomenology, Presence in Play puts forward a framework for thinking about presence in theatre, enriched by poststructuralist theory, forcefully arguing in favour of ‘presence’ as a key concept for theatre studies today.
Experience, Formalism, and the Question of Being
Born in Vyborg in 1884 by parents of German descent, Vasily (Wilhelm) Sesemann grew up and studied in St. Petersburg. A close friend of Viktor Zhirmunsky and Lev P. Karsavin, Sesemann taught from the early 1920s until his death in 1963 at the universities of Kaunas and Vilnius in Lithuania (interrupted only by his internment in a Siberian labor camp from 1950 to 1956).
Botz-Bornstein’s study takes up Sesemann’s idea of experience as a dynamic, constantly self-reflective, ungraspable phenomenon that cannot be objectified. Through various studies, the author shows how Sesemann develops an outstanding idea of experience by reflecting it against empathy, Erkenntnistheorie (theory of knowledge), Formalism, Neo-Kantianism, Freudian psychoanalysis, and Bergson’s philosophy. Sesemann’s thought establishes a link between Formalist thoughts about dynamics and a concept of Being reminiscent of Heidegger.
The book contains also translations of two essays by Sesemann as well as of an essay by Karsavin.
Questions of Identity
Volume Editor: Jerzy Brzeziński