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Communards and Other Cultural Histories

Essays by Adrian Rifkin

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Adrian Rifkin

Edited by Steve Edwards

This collection of some 32 articles and essays by Adrian Rifkin were written over a period of forty years. It contains innovative and influential studies of the archives of art, urbanism, music and popular life in France and Britain during the nineteenth and twentieth centuries. Arranged around a number of studies of the representation of the Paris Commune, the book also contains chapters on Edith Piaf’s role in French culture, histories of art education, opera and queer life in the city as well as analytical accounts of the commodity and cultural theory in Adorno and Benjamin. An extended introduction by Steve Edwards works over the questions of uneven time in Marxist cultural theory and the disciplinary formations that underpin many of Rifkin’s essays.

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Edited by Stratos Constantinidis

The Reception of Aeschylus' Plays through Shifting Models and Frontiers addresses the need for an integrated approach to the study and staging of Aeschylus’ plays. It offers an invigorating discussion about the transmission and reception of his plays and explores the interrelated tasks of editing, translating, adapting and remaking them for the page and the stage. The volume seeks to reshape current debates about the place of his tragedies in the curriculum and the repertory in a scholarly manner that is accessible and innovative. Each chapter makes a significant and original contribution to its selected topic, but the collective strength of the volume rests on its simultaneous appeal to readers in theatre studies, classical studies, performance studies, comparative studies, translation studies, adaptation studies, and, naturally, reception studies.

Scanning the Hypnoglyph

Sleep in Modernist and Postmodern Representation

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Nathaniel Wallace

Nathaniel Wallace’s Scanning the Hypnoglyph chronicles a contemporary genre that exploits sleep’s evocative dimensions. While dreams, sleeping nudes, and other facets of the dormant state were popular with artists of the early twentieth century (and long before), sleep experiences have given rise to an even wider range of postmodern artwork. Scanning the Hypnoglyph first assesses the modernist framework wherein the sleeping subject typically enjoys firm psychic grounding. As postmodernism begins, subjective space is fragmented, the representation of sleep reflecting the trend. Among other topics, this book demonstrates how portrayals of dormant individuals can reveal imprints of the self. Gender issues are taken up as well. “Mainstream,” heterosexual representations are considered along with depictions of gay, lesbian, and androgynous sleepers.

Critique of Rationality

Judgement and Creativity from Benjamin to Merleau-Ponty

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John E. O'Brien

In his Critique of Rationality, John Eustice O’Brien proposes a fascinating rectification for the distortion of technical necessity in Western Society due to unbridled instrumental reason. He begins with a review of this issue first raised by the Early German Romantics as discussed by Isaiah Berlin and Walter Benjamin. Following French social philosopher Maurice Merleau-Ponty’s radically different apperceptive epistemology, he explores the possibility of a social world in which each is anchored by a préobjective disposition to meaning based on the intersubjective presence of all. This justifies the postulate of aesthetic-consciousness as the site of socialization in communities of meaning, as a frame for judgment and creativity. The struggle must continue for awakening that consciousness if an open society is to be realized.

J.G. Ballard

Landscapes of Tomorrow

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Edited by Richard Brown, Christopher Duffy and Elizabeth Stainforth

An innovative volume of interdisciplinary essays on the significant British writer J. G. Ballard (1930-2009), exploring the physical, cultural and intertextual landscapes in several key novels with a central focus on The Atrocity Exhibition (1970), one of the most challenging texts in contemporary literature. Contributors include established critics of Ballard alongside newcomers. Different spatial concepts underpin the essays, from the landscapes of Ballard’s youth in Shanghai and his life in suburban London, to nuclear testing spaces and outer space exploration. Figurative locations typical of Ballard’s work are explored, including the beach, the motorway, the high-rise and the shopping mall. Textual spaces are explored through Ballard’s affiliation with modernist literary forms, including surrealist prose writing and collage, and poetic romanticism.

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Wietse de Boer, Karl A.E. Enenkel and Walter Melion

The Jesuit investment in images, whether verbal or visual, virtual or actual, pictorial or poetic, rhetorical or exegetical, was strong and sustained, and may even be identified as one of the order’s defining characteristics. Although this interest in images has been richly documented by art historians, theatre historians, and scholars of the emblem, the question of Jesuit image theory has yet to be approached from a multi-disciplinary perspective that examines how the image was defined, conceived, produced, and interpreted within the various fields of learning cultivated by the Society: sacred oratory, pastoral instruction, scriptural exegesis, theology, collegiate pedagogy, poetry and poetics, etc. The papers published in this volume investigate the ways in which Jesuits reflected visually and verbally on the status and functions of the imago, between the foundation of the order in 1540 and its suppression in 1773. Part I examines texts that purport explicitly to theorize about the imago and to analyze its various forms and functions. Part II examines what one might call expressions of embedded image theory, that is, various instances where Jesuit authors and artists use images implicitly to explore the status and functions of such images as indices of image-making.

Contributors include Wietse de Boer, James Clifton, Ralph Dekoninck, Karl Enenkel, Pierre Antoine Fabre, David Graham, Agnès Guiderdoni, Anna Knaap, Walter Melion, Jeffrey Muller, Hilmar Pabel, Aline Smeesters, Andrea Torre, and Steffen Zierholz

Holocaust Impiety in Jewish American Literature

Memory, Identity, (Post-)Postmodernism

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Joost Krijnen

The Holocaust is often said to be unrepresentable. Yet since the 1990s, a new generation of Jewish American writers have been returning to this history again and again, insisting on engaging with it in highly playful, comic, and “impious” ways. Focusing on the fiction of Michael Chabon, Jonathan Safran Foer, Nicole Krauss, and Nathan Englander, this book suggests that this literature cannot simply be dismissed as insensitive or improper. It argues that these Jewish American authors engage with the Holocaust in ways that renew and ensure its significance for contemporary generations. These ways, moreover, are intricately connected to efforts of finding new means of expressing Jewish American identity, and of moving beyond the increasingly apparent problems of postmodernism.

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Francien Markx

In this first monograph on E. T. A. Hoffmann and opera, Francien Markx examines Hoffmann’s writings on opera and the challenges they pose to established narratives of aesthetic autonomy, the search for a national opera, and Hoffmann’s biography. Markx discusses Hoffmann’s lifelong fascination with opera against the backdrop of eighteenth-century theater reform, the creation of national identity, contemporary performance practices and musical and aesthetic discourses as voiced by C. M. von Weber, A. W. Schlegel, Heine, and Wagner, among others. The book reconsiders the traditional view that German opera followed a deterministic trajectory toward Wagner’s Gesamtkunstwerk and reveals a cosmopolitan spirit in Hoffmann’s operatic vision, most notably exemplified by his controversial advocacy for Spontini in Berlin.

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Edited by Fabienne Liptay and Burcu Dogramaci

Taking an interdisciplinary approach, this volume brings together contributions by distinguished experts from different disciplinary fields for a multidimensional view on immersion in the visual arts and media. In the current media debate, immersion has frequently been linked to the advent of digital technology and its capacity to provide vivid sensations of being placed in or surrounded by an artificial space. The idea of ‘liquidity’ contained in this promise to plunge into another world informs wide areas of contemporary cultural imagination, referring to a myriad of phenomena that relate to experiences of uncertainty and instability, of complexity and change. Considering the fact, however, that the idea of ‘liquid’ spaces appeared long before the digital creation of augmented or virtual environments, the contributors to this volume trace its reemerging throughout the history of the visual arts and media. By focusing on selected works of painting and architecture, photography and cinema, video installation and media art, they explore the variability of immersive experiences according to the different media environments and interfaces that constitute the actual sites of historically shifting relations between media and users.

Contributors are: Matthias Bauer, Jörg von Brincken, Robin Curtis, Burcu Dogramaci, Thomas Elsaesser, Ole W. Fischer, Gundolf S. Freyermuth, Ursula Frohne, Henry Keazor, Matthias Krüger, Katja Kwastek, Fabienne Liptay, Karl Prümm, Martin Warnke.

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Cathy Bergin

The legacy of the relationship between African American writers and Communism in the US is a contested one. Bergin argues that in three novels, by seminal mid-century authors (Wright, Himes and Ellison) Communism is not dismissed as incapable of meeting the demands of black political identity but is castigated for its refusal to do so. A detailed focus on the political milieu in which these texts operate challenges many of the presumptions about the ‘inability’ of Communism to comprehend racial oppression, which dominate literary critical approaches to these novels. She draws on the complex formations black political agency presumed and reproduced by American Communism during the Depression.