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Marijan Dović and Jón Karl Helgason

In National Poets, Cultural Saints Marijan Dović and Jón Karl Helgason explore the ways in which certain artists, writers, and poets in Europe have become major figures of cultural memory, emulating the symbolic role formerly played by state rulers and religious saints. The authors develop the concept of cultural sainthood in the context of nationalism as a form of invisible religion, identify major shifts in canonization practices from antiquity to the nationally-motivated commemoration of the nineteenth century, and explore the afterlives of two national poets, Slovenia's France Prešeren and Iceland's Jónas Hallgrímsson. The book presents a useful analytical model of canonization for further studies on cultural sainthood and opens up fruitful perspectives for the understanding of national movements.

Violence de l'interprétation (XVIe-XVIIe s).

Le texte devant l'inquisition

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Edited by Anne Duprat

This collection of essays aims to measure the minimum scope for interpretation, with reference to texts produced under absolute constraints: those governing the trials of the Spanish Inquisition, as well as trials for witchcraft and libertinage, in polemical writings during the French wars of religion, or in the words of common law convicts in Italy and England.
Written by ten specialists in Early Modern literature and edited by Anne Duprat, these studies examine the violence inflicted on certain texts via the act of interpretation, and the means of resistance used in response. The essays illustrate how the violence of interpretation can also create the conditions necessary for the text to take on meaning.

Cet essai collectif propose de mesurer l’espace minimal nécessaire au déploiement d’une interprétation, à partir de textes produits sous une contrainte absolue : celle des procès d’Inquisition espagnols, mais aussi des procès pour sorcellerie ou libertinage, dans l’écriture polémique des guerres de religion en France, ou dans la parole de condamnés de droit commun en Italie et en Angleterre.
Produites par dix spécialistes de littérature des XVIe et XVIIe siècle, ces études réunies par Anne Duprat interrogent la violence qu’exerce l’interprétation sur certains textes, et les modes de résistance qu’ils déploient face à elle. Elles permettent de comprendre comment cette violence, qui fait dire à un texte ce qu’elle veut, peut aussi construire les conditions de possibilité de son sens.

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Edited by François Specq

Environmental Awareness and the Design of Literature offers analyses of the diverse ways in which literature helps us escape the rigid frames of commonly assumed worldviews and modes of seeing. Literary works are endowed with a capacity not only to reflect or to mediate, but to resist our environment, and thus to affect and transform our relation to the physical world. Each essay points to the way literature shapes the human perception of environment as intellectual adventures and forays that draw upon a number of historical, aesthetic, philosophical and phenomenological stances.

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Marie Huber

In Memories of an Impossible Future: Mehdi Akhavān Sāles and the Poetics of Time Marie Huber traces the quest for a modern language of poetry through different figurations of temporality in the works of one of Iran’s foremost poets. Akhavān is placed in dialogue with European thinkers and emerges as an original voice in world literature.

Chapters examine aspects of rhythm and metaphor, messianism and historicity, and functions of time in Akhavān’s lyric and epic poems. Through a range of close readings Huber seeks to understand Akhavān’s texts as crystallisations of a historical moment, both rooted in the Persian tradition and pointing beyond it. Her analyses combine attention to philological detail with meditations on the philosophical significance of Akhavān’s poetics.

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Pavlina Radia

This book traces the artistic trajectories of Djuna Barnes and Jane Bowles, examining their literary representations of the nomadic ethic pervading the twentieth-century expatriate movements in and out of America. The book argues that these authors contribute to the nomadic aesthetic of American modernism: its pastoral ideographies, (post)colonial ecologies, as well as regional and transcultural varieties. Mapping the pastoral moment in different temporalities and spaces (Barnes representing the 1920s expatriation in Europe while Bowles comments on the 1940s exodus to Mexico and North Africa), this book suggests that Barnes and Bowles counter the critical trend associating American modernity primarily with urban spaces, and instead locate the nomadic thrust of their times in the (post)colonial history of the American frontier.

The Persistence of the Human

Consciousness, Meta-body and Survival in Contemporary Film and Literature

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Matthew Escobar

Recent narrative fiction and film increasingly exploit, explore and thematize the embodied mind, revealing the tenacity of a certain brand of humanism. The presence of narratively based concepts of personal identity even in texts which explore posthuman possibilities is strong proof that our basic understanding of what it means to be human has, despite appearances, remained mostly unchanged. This is so even though our perception of time has been greatly modified by the same technology which both interrupts and allows for the rearrangement of our experience of time at a rate and a level of ease which, until recently, had never been possible.

Basing his views on a long line of philosophers and literary theorists such as Paul Ricoeur, Daniel Dennett and Francisco Varela, Escobar maintains in The Persistence of the Human that narrative plays an essential role in the process of constituting and maintaining a sense of self. It is narrative’s effect on the embodied mind which gives it such force. Narrative projects us into possible spaces, shaping a temporary corporeality termed the “meta-body,” a hybrid shared by the lived body and an imagined corporeal sense. The meta-body is a secondary embodiment that we inhabit for however long our narrative immersion lasts – something which, in today’s world, may be a question of milliseconds or hours. The more agreeable the meta-body is, the less happy we are upon being abruptly removed from it, though the return is essential.

We want to be able to slip back and forth between this secondary embodiment and that of our lived body; each move entails both forgetting and remembering different subject positions (loss and recuperation being salient themes in the works which highlight this process). The negotiation of the transfer between these states is shaped by culture and technology and this is something which is precisely in flux now as multiple, ephemeral narrative immersion experiences are created by the different screens we come into contact with.

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.

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Edited by Dunja M. Mohr and Birgit Däwes

Radical Planes? 9/11 and Patterns of Continuity, edited by Dunja M. Mohr and Birgit Däwes, explores the intersections between narrative disruption and continuity in post-9/11 narratives from an interdisciplinary transnational perspective, foregrounding the transatlantic cultural memory of 9/11. Contesting the earlier notion of a cataclysm that has changed ‘everything,’ and critically reflecting on American exceptionalism, the collection offers an inquiry into what has gone unchanged in terms of pre-9/11, post-9/11, and post-post-9/11 issues and what silences persist. How do literature and performative and visual arts negotiate this precarious balance of a pervasive discourse of change and emerging patterns of political, ideological, and cultural continuity?

Picaresque Fiction Today

The Trickster in Contemporary Anglophone and Italian Literature

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Luigi Gussago

In Picaresque Fiction Today Luigi Gussago examines the development of the picaresque in contemporary Anglophone and Italian fiction. Far from being an extinct narrative form, confined to the pages of its original Spanish sources or their later British imitators, the tale of roguery has been revisited through the centuries from a host of disparate angles. Throughout their wanderings, picaresque antiheroes are dragged into debates on the credibility of historical facts, gender mystifications, rational thinking, or any simplistic definition of the outcast.
Referring to a corpus of eight contemporary novels, the author retraces a textual legacy linking the traditional picaresque to its recent descendants, with the main purpose of identifying the way picaresque novels offer a privileged insight into our sceptical times.

Cover illustration by Eugene Ivanov "Night Airing", 2007.

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Beatrijs Vanacker

In Altérité et identité dans les « histoires anglaises » au XVIIIe siècle. Contexte(s), réception et discours Beatrijs Vanacker offers new insights into the widespread Anglomania-movement that pervaded French literary and cultural life during the 18th century. She examines the ambivalent discourse on literary and cultural “Englishness” as it took form in a wide array of non-fictional textual practices (French travel literature, literary journals,…). She also analyses the sociocultural and literary dynamics at work in a corpus of histoires angloises, by making use of concepts drawn from the fields of discourse analysis and Imagology.

Dans Altérité et identité dans les « histoires anglaises » au XVIIIe siècle. Contexte(s), réception et discours Beatrijs Vanacker présente une vue inédite sur le mouvement d’Anglomanie qui a inondé la littérature et la culture françaises au XVIIIe siècle. Cet ouvrage contient une étude du discours ambivalent au sujet de l’anglicité, littéraire et culturelle, tel qu’il prit forme dans les récits de voyage et les journaux littéraires en France, et présente une analyse des dynamismes socio-culturels et littéraires mis en œuvre dans un corpus d’histoires angloises, ayant recours à des concepts de l’analyse du discours et de l’Imagologie.