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Early 20th-century literary critics Joseph Collins, Hermann Hesse, and Percy Lubbock concluded that the pages of a book present a succession of moments that the reader visualizes and reinterprets. They feared that few would actually commit themselves to memory, and that most were likely to soon disappear. As you turn these pages, you will (re)discover the value of the literary canon through the Self. My objective is to examine how the Self is formed, lost, and regained through creative strategies that confront and define its shapes and distortions on nearly every page of a canonical work. You can consider Confronting / Defining the Self: Formation and Dissolution of the ‘I’ from La Fayette to Grass as offering an apology for the study of literature and the humanities in an era when technology and commerce dominate our consciousness, drive our daily expectations, and shape our career goals.
Author:
Wolfgang Welsch demonstrates for the first time that transculturality – the mixed constitution of cultures – is by no means only a characteristic of the present, but has de facto determined the composition of cultures since time immemorial. The historical transculturality is demonstrated using examples from the arts. While transculturality was often viewed with reservation where political, social, or psychological levels were at stake, it was rather welcomed and appreciated in the field of art. The book therefore demonstrates the historical prevalence of transculturality via all areas of art and does so with respect to all cultures and continents of our world.
Literary, Cultural and Political Essays, 2009–2021
Author:
Crisis and Criticism is a series of interventions from 2009 to 2021 engaging with the literary, cultural and political responses to the capitalist crisis of 2007–8. Challenging the tendency to treat crisis as natural and beyond human control, this book interrogates our cultural understanding of crisis and suggests the necessity of ruthless criticism of the existing world. While responses to crisis have retreated from the critical, choosing to inhabit apocalyptic fantasies instead, only a critical understanding of the causes of crisis within capitalism itself can promise their eventual overcoming.
Romantic Anti-Capitalism and the Invention of the Proletariat
Translator:
In the early 19th century, a new social collective emerged out of impoverished artisans, urban rabble, wandering rural lower classes, bankrupt aristocrats and precarious intellectuals, one that would soon be called the proletariat. But this did not yet exist as a unified, homogeneous class with affiliated political parties. The motley appearance, the dreams and longings of these figures, torn from all economic certainties, found new forms of narration in romantic novellas, reportages, social-statistical studies, and monthly bulletins. But soon enough, these disorderly, violent, nostalgic, errant, and utopian figures were denigrated as reactionary and anarchic by the heads of the labour movement, since they did not fit into their grand linear vision of progress. In this book, Patrick Eiden-Offe tells their story, tracing the making of the proletariat in Vörmarz Germany (1815–1848) through the writings of figures like Ludwig Tieck, Moses Hess, Wilhelm Weitling, Georg Weerth, Friedrich Engels, Louise Otto-Peters, Ernst Willkomm, and Georg Büchner, and in so doing, revealing a striking similarity to the disorderly classes of today.
Author:
Revolutionary and writer: how do they fit together in one person’s work? Using literary texts from French, German, Russian and American pro-revolutionary writers, Sheila Delany examines the synergy of politics and rhetoric, art and social commitment. The writers she considers gave voice to the hopes of their time. Some led the events in person as well as through their writing; others worked to build a movement. Marx, Engels, Lenin, Trotsky, Luxemburg, Mao, Sylvain Maréchal, Boris Lavrenov, Bertolt Brecht and others are here: consummate rhetoricians all, not necessarily on the same page politically but for the revolutions of their day.
Shaftesbury, Akenside, and the Discipline of the Imagination
Eighteenth-Century Stoic Poetics: Shaftesbury, Akenside, and the Discipline of the Imagination offers a fresh perspective on the eighteenth-century poetics of Lord Shaftesbury and Mark Akenside. This book traces the two authors’ debt to Roman Stoic spiritual exercises and early modern conceptions of the care of the self, which informs their view of the poetic imagination as a bundle of techniques designed to manage impressions, cultivate right images in the mind and rectify judgement. Alexandra Bacalu traces the roots of this articulation in early modern writings on the imagination, as well as in Restoration and Augustan debates on wit, exploring the fruitful tension between ideas of imaginative enthusiasm and imaginative regulation that it provokes.
Is the Sublime Sustainable? introduces the key points of debate around the sublime while opening new avenues for future inquiry, especially through its comparative aesthetics approach. In it, you will discover how thinking on the sublime emerged historically and then engage with the recent critical scholarship on the topic, including from the fields of theology, philosophy, and literature. The critiques of the sublime are then expanded in dialogue with perspectives from Japanese aesthetics and art, shaping the argument that what is needed today is a sublime that enriches human lives by cultivating profound, participative relationships.
Sports Semiotics applies semiotics (and other disciplines, secondarily) to analyse the social, cultural, economic and psychological significance of sports. It includes a primer on semiotic theory, sections on the analysis of wrestling by Roland Barthes in his book Mythologies, as well as sections on football and the sacred, the Super Bowl, and the semiotics of televised baseball.
In these innovative essays on poetry and capitalism, collected over the last fifteen years, Christopher Nealon shines a light on the upsurge of anticapitalist poetry since the turn of the century, and develops fresh ways of thinking about how capitalist society shapes the reading and the writing of all poetry, whatever its political orientation. Breaking from half a century of postmodernist readings of poetry, and bypassing the false divide between formalist and historicist criticism, these essays chart a path toward a new Marxist poetics.