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Cristian Bratu

In L’affirmation de soi chez les historiens, Cristian Bratu discusses authorial self-representations and self-promotion strategies in the works of ancient and medieval historians, from Herodotus (5th c. BC) to Philippe de Commynes (15th c. AD). After describing the emergence of an author figure in the works of ancient Greek and Roman historians, Bratu shows that, in spite of the emphasis placed by the nascent Christian civilization on humility, medieval historians were anything but self-effacing. Subsequently, he focuses on the authorial figures of French medieval historians who wrote in the vernacular between the 12th and 15th centuries. Bratu uses a variety of approaches (philology, codicology, narratology) in order to shed new light on the authorial figures of ancient and medieval historians.

Dans L’affirmation de soi chez les historiens, Cristian Bratu étudie la figure de l’auteur dans les œuvres des historiens antiques et médiévaux, d’Hérodote (Ve siècle av. J.-C.) à Philippe de Commynes (XVe siècle ap. J.-C.). Après une section dédiée à l’émergence d’une figure d’auteur chez les historiens de l’Antiquité gréco-romaine, Bratu montre que malgré l’importance accordée à l’humilité dans la civilisation chrétienne naissante, les historiens médiévaux furent tout sauf modestes. Cette étude se concentre ensuite sur les figures des historiens de langue française entre le XIIe et le XVe siècle. En s’appuyant sur différentes méthodes (philologie, codicologie, narratologie), Cristian Bratu apporte un éclairage nouveau sur la figure de l’auteur chez les historiens antiques et médiévaux.
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A Philosophy of the Possible

Modalities in Thought and Culture

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Mikhail Epstein

In this book, Mikhail Epstein offers a systematic theory of modalities (the actual, possible, and necessary), as applied to the discourse of philosophy in its post-Kantian and especially post-Derridean perspectives. He relies on his own experience of living in the USSR and the US, dominated respectively by imperative and possibilist modalities. Possibilism assumes that a thing or event acquires meaning only in the context of its multiple possibilities, inviting counterfactual and conditional modes of description. The author focuses on the creative potentials of possibilistic thinking and its heuristic value. The book demonstrates the range of modal approaches to society, culture, ethics, and language, and outlines potentiology as a new philosophical discipline interacting with ontology and epistemology.
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Bernard Vargaftig

Esthétique du renversement

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Régis Lefort

Dans cette monographie, Régis Lefort met en evidence le caractère pictural du poème de Bernard Vargaftig (1934-2012), et la composition musicale de l’œuvre. Il envisage le phénomène de renversement, que ne cesse de convoquer le poète, comme une esthétique poétique, comme l’identité même du poème. Commençant par le dernier vers et remontant jusqu’au premier, le poète creuse la langue du poème pour en identifier la source. Le renversement est aussi une façon de détruire, d’entrer dans l’avalanche, pour rebâtir, aller vers l’aube des mots. Il s’inscrit dans l’omnipresence de la culture hébraïque, selon laquelle la quête du réel ne dévoilerait aucune vérité, inaccessible à la raison humaine, mais produirait un bouleversement de la connaissance, de l’ordre de la connaissance ontologique.

Régis Lefort's study of Bernard Vargaftig (1934-2012) highlights the pictorial character of his poems and the musical composition of his work. Lefort locates in the phenomenon of reversal, so frequently enacted by Vargaftig, a poetic aesthetic and the very identity of the poem. Beginning with the last line and working back to the first, the poet burrows deep into the language of the poem to identify its source. Reversal is also a means of destruction, of entering into an avalanche, in order to rebuild the poem and go towards the dawn of words. It marks in the work the omnipresence of Hebrew culture, according to which the search for the real can reveal no truth, since all truth is inaccessible to human reason, but rather entails an upheaval of knowledge that is in itself the very condition of ontological knowledge.
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How to Do Things with Affects

Affective Triggers in Aesthetic Forms and Cultural Practices

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Edited by Ernst van Alphen and Tomáš Jirsa

How to Do Things with Affects develops affects as a highly productive concept for both cultural analysis and the reading of aesthetic forms. Shifting the focus from individual experiences and the human interiority of personal emotions and feelings toward the agency of cultural objects, social arrangements and aesthetic matter, the book examines how affects operate and are triggered by aesthetic forms, media events and cultural practices. Transgressing disciplinary boundaries and emphasizing close reading, the collected essays explore manifold affective transmissions and resonances enacted by modernist literary works, contemporary visual arts, horror and documentary films, museum displays and animated pornography, with a special focus on how they impact on political events, media strategies and social situations.

Contributors: Ernst van Alphen, Mieke Bal, Maria Boletsi, Eugenie Brinkema, Pietro Conte, Anne Fleig, Bernd Herzogenrath, Tomáš Jirsa, Matthias Lüthjohann, Susanna Paasonen, Christina Riley, Jan Slaby, Eliza Steinbock, Christiane Voss.
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The Nature Essay

Ecocritical Explorations

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Simone Schröder

The Nature Essay: Ecocritical Explorations is the first extended study of a powerful literary form born out of the traditions of Enlightenment and Romanticism. It traces the varied stylistic paradigms of the ‘nature essay’ down to the present day. Reading essays as platforms for ecological discourse, the book analyses canonical and marginalised texts, mainly from German, English and American literature. Simone Schröder argues that the essay’s environmental impact is rooted in its negotiation of scientific, poetic, spiritual, and ethical modes of perceiving nature. Together, the chapters on these four aspects form a historical panorama of the nature essay as a genre that continues to flourish in our time of ecological crisis.

Authors discussed include: Alexander von Humboldt, Henry David Thoreau, Virginia Woolf, Robert Musil, Ernst Jünger, W.G. Sebald, Kathleen Jamie, and David Foster Wallace.
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Biblical Exegesis without Authorial Intention?

Interdisciplinary Approaches to Authorship and Meaning

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Edited by Clarissa Breu

In Biblical Exegesis without Authorial Intention? Interdisciplinary Approaches to Authorship and Meaning, Clarissa Breu offers interdisciplinary contributions to the question of the author in biblical interpretation with a focus on “death of the author” theory. The wide range of approaches represented in the volume comprises mostly postmodern theory (e. g. Jacques Derrida, Michel Foucault, Paul de Man, Julia Kristeva and Gilles Deleuze), but also the implied author and intentio operis. Furthermore, psychology, choreography, reader-response theories and anthropological studies are reflected. Inasmuch as the contributions demonstrate that biblical studies could utilize significantly more differentiated views on the author than are predominantly presumed within the discipline, it is an invitation to question the importance and place attributed to the author.
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Tyler Smith

The Fourth Gospel and the Manufacture of Minds in Ancient Historiography, Biography, Romance, and Drama is the first book-length study of genre and character cognition in the Gospel of John. Informed by traditions of ancient literary criticism and the emerging discipline of cognitive narratology, Tyler Smith argues that narrative genres have generalizable patterns for representing cognitive material and that this has profound implications for how readers make sense of cognitive content woven into the narratives they encounter. After investigating conventions for representing cognition in ancient historiography, biography, romance, and drama, Smith offers an original account of how these conventions illuminate the Johannine narrative’s enigmatic cognitive dimension, a rich tapestry of love and hate, belief and disbelief, recognition and misrecognition, understanding and misunderstanding, knowledge, ignorance, desire, and motivation.
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Hundred Days’ Literature

Chinese Utopian Fiction at the End of Empire, 1902–1910

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Lorenzo Andolfatto

In Hundred Days’ Literature, Lorenzo Andolfatto explores the landscape of early modern Chinese fiction through the lens of the utopian novel, casting new light on some of its most peculiar yet often overshadowed literary specimens. The wutuobang or lixiang xiaoshuo, by virtue of its ideally totalizing perspective, provides a one-of-a-kind critical tool for the understanding of late imperial China’s fragmented Zeitgeist. Building upon rigorous close reading and solid theoretical foundations, Hundred Days’ Literature offers the reader a transcultural critical itinerary that links Edward Bellamy’s Looking Backward to Wu Jianren’s Xin Shitou ji via the writings of Liang Qichao, Chen Tianhua, Bihe Guanzhuren, and Lu Shi’e. The book also includes the first English translation of Cai Yuanpei’s short story “New Year’s Dream.”
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Edited by Erik S. Kooper and Sjoerd Levelt

Alongside annals, chronicles were the main genre of historical writing in the Middle Ages. Their significance as sources for the study of medieval history and culture is today widely recognised not only by historians, but also by students of medieval literature and linguistics and by art historians. The series The Medieval Chronicle aims to provide a representative survey of the on-going research in the field of chronicle studies, illustrated by examples from specific chronicles from a wide variety of countries, periods and cultural backgrounds.
There are several reasons why the chronicle is particularly suited as the topic of a yearbook. In the first place there is its ubiquity: all over Europe and throughout the Middle Ages chronicles were written, both in Latin and in the vernacular, and not only in Europe but also in the countries neighbouring on it, like those of the Arabic world. Secondly, all chronicles raise such questions as by whom, for whom, or for what purpose were they written, how do they reconstruct the past, what determined the choice of verse or prose, or what kind of literary influences are discernable in them. Finally, many chronicles have been beautifully illuminated, and the relation between text and image leads to a wholly different set of questions.
The Medieval Chronicle is published in cooperation with the Medieval Chronicle Society (medievalchronicle.org).
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Edited by Helen Yitah and Helen Lauer

Philosophical Foundations of the African Humanities through Postcolonial Perspectives critiques recent claims that the humanities, especially in public universities in poor countries, have lost their significance, defining missions, methods and standards due to the pressure of to justify their existence. The predominant responses to these claims have been that the humanities are relevant for creating a “world culture” to address the world’s problems. This book argues that behind such arguments lies a false neutrality constructed to deny the values intrinsic to marginalized cultures and peoples and to justify their perceived inferiority. These essays by scholars in postcolonial studies critique these false claims about the humanities through critical analyses of alterity, difference, and how the Other is perceived, defined and subdued. Contributors: Gordon S.K. Adika, Kofi N. Awoonor, E. John Collins, Kari Dako, Mary Esther Kropp Dakubu, James Gibbs, Helen Lauer, Bernth Lindfors, J.H. Kwabena Nketia, Abena Oduro, Gayatri Chakravorty Spivak, Olúfémi Táíwò, Alexis B. Tengan, Kwasi Wiredu, Francis Nii-Yartey