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  • Literary Relations x
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Traffic

Media as Infrastructures and Cultural Practices

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Edited by Marion Näser-Lather and Christoph Neubert

Traffic: Media as Infrastructures and Cultural Practices presents a collection of texts by distinguished international media and cultural scholars that addresses fundamental relationships between the logistic, symbolic, and infrastructural dimensions of media. The volume discusses the role of traffic and infrastructures within the history of media theory as well as in a broader cultural context: Traffic is shown to constitute an important epistemological and technical principle, a paradigm for exchanges and circulations between discoursive and non-discoursive cultural practices. This opens an encompassing perspective of media ecology, and at the same time illuminates the formative power of traffic as structuring time and space: material and informational traffic creates, maintains, and undermines power, configures meaning, and facilitates appropriation and resistance.

Topodynamics of Arrival

Essays on Self and Pilgrimage

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Edited by Gert Hofmann and Snježana Zorić

Travelling is the art of motion, motion results in moments of human encountering, and such moments manifest themselves in unsettling linguistic repercussions and crises of meaning. Places of arrival also function as inscriptions of such meaningful repercussions, inscriptions of the past crossing the present, of the other crossing the self. The contributions in this book explore places, rituals, texts and scriptures as religious or secular inscriptions – “topographies” – of such “arrivals.”
Each arrival happens, and its very place manifests itself only as a momentous component of the process itself. Arrival is an event of conclusion as well as of urgency for subsequent explorations of new meanings to be read from the topography of the place, mirroring thus a signifying dynamic for the metamorphosis of the traveller’s self: “ topodynamic” of arrival. In this vein this book investigates for the first time the dynamic of cultural formations of space, an aspect of spatiality which since the “spatial turn” in cultural discourse has mostly been neglected.

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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.

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”.

Spaces of Belonging

Home, Culture and Identity in 20th-Century French Autobiography

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Elizabeth H. Jones

Questions of space, place and identity have become increasingly prominent throughout the arts and humanities in recent times. This study begins by investigating the reasons for this growth in interest and analyses the underlying assumptions on which interdisciplinary discussions about space are often based. After tracing back the history of contact between Geography and Literary Studies from both disciplinary perspectives, it goes on to discuss recent academic work in the field and seeks to forge a new conceptual framework through which contemporary discussions of space and literature can operate. The book then moves on to a thorough application of the interdisciplinary model that it has established. Having argued that the experience of contemporary space has rendered questions of home and belonging particularly pressing, it undertakes detailed analysis of how these phenomena are articulated in a selection of recent French life writing texts. The close, text-led readings reveal that whilst not often highlighted for their relevance to the analysis of space, these works do in fact narrate the impact of some of the most significant cultural experiences of the twentieth century, including the Holocaust and the AIDS crisis, upon geo-cultural senses of identity. Home is shown to be a deeply problematic, yet strongly desired, element of the contemporary world.
The book concludes by addressing the underlying thesis that contemporary life writing might provide just the ‘postmodern maps’ that could help not only literary scholars, but also geographers, better understand the world today. Key names and concepts: Serge Doubrovsky - Hervé Guibert - Fredric Jameson - Philippe Lejeune - Régine Robin; Autofiction - Cultural Geography - Interdisciplinarity - Place and Identity - Postmodernism - Space - Postmodern Space - Literary Studies - Twentieth-Century Life Writing.