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Edited by Wim van Mierlo

In the last decades, the emphasis in textual scholarship has moved onto creation, production, process, collaboration; onto the material manifestations of a work; onto multiple rather than single versions; onto reception and book history. Textual scholarship now includes not only textual editing, but any form of scholarship that looks at the materiality of text, of writing, of reading, and of the book.
The essays in this collection explore many questions, about methodology and theory, arising from this widening scope of textual scholarship. The range of texts discussed, from Sanskrit epic via Medieval Latin commentary through English and Scottish Ballads to the plays of Samuel Beckett and the stories of Guimarães Rosa, testifies to the vigour of the discipline. The range of texts is matched by a range of approach: from theoretical discussion of how text ‘happens’, to analysis of issues of book design and censorship, the connections between literary and textual studies, exploration of the links between reception and commodification in George Eliot, and between information theory and paratext. Through this diversity of subject and approach, a common theme emerges: the need to look further for common ground from which to continue the debate from a comparative perspective.

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Edited by Wim van Mierlo

This volume is the 10th issue of Variants. In keeping with the mission of the European Society for Textual Scholarship, the articles are richly interdisciplinary and transnational. They bring to bear a wide range of topics and disciplines on the field of textual scholarship: historical linguistics, digital scholarly editing, classical philology, Dutch, English, Finnish and Swedish Literature, publishing traditions in Japan, book history, cultural history and folklore. The questions that are explored — what texts are worth editing? what is the nature of the relationship between text, work, document and book? what is a critical digital edition? — all return to fundamental issues that have been at the heart of the editorial discipline for decades. With refreshing insight they assess the increasingly hybrid nature of the theoretical considerations and practical methodologies employed by textual scholars, while reasserting the relevance and need for producing scholarly editions, whether in print or digital, and continuing advanced research in bibliographical codes, textual transmissions, genetic dossiers, the fluidity of texts and other such subjects that connect textual scholarship with broader investigations into our nations’ literary culture and written heritage.

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Andrea S. Thomas

Since the 1874 publication in Belgium of the first posthumous edition of Les Chants de Maldoror, the enigmatic work has served as an inspiration for the poetic and creative liberation of countless twentieth-century writers and artists. Little is known, however, about the book’s elusive French author Isidore Ducasse, known as le comte de Lautréamont, and his abbreviated life (1846-1870). In the absence of an original manuscript, Lautréamont’s readers have over time altered his poetry for personal, political, and aesthetic reasons. Symbolist literary journals, first editions of his work, surrealist illustrated editions, and the prestigious Pléiade edition (1970 and 2009), reveal how varying editions of Lautréamont’s work have in turn contributed to his legend. In Lautréamont, Subject to Interpretation, Andrea S. Thomas carefully explores these editions of this so-called poète maudit to show how impassioned readers can shape not only the reception of works, but the works themselves.

Subject Matters

Subject and Self in French Literature from Descartes to the present

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Edited by Paul Gifford and Johnnie Gration

What can we currently make of ‘the subject'? Under the sway of structuralism and poststructuralism, critical thinking took a distinctly negative turn, effectively disqualifying any form of subjectivity as a reference point in discussions of textual or literary meaning. Since the mid-1970s, however, throughout the human sciences, human agency has been restored as both a methodological principle and an ethical value: a phenomenon broadly designated as ‘the return of the subject'. Yet the returning subject bears the traces of its problematization...
The present collection of essays explores the ways in which the subject now ‘matters', both in principle and in the variety of critical approaches in authorizes. Essays, which are both literary and theoretical in character, cover authors, texts and issues in French literature from Descartes to the present. A wide range of types of writing is examined, from established forms such as the novel to relatively marginal and generically unsystematized discursive practices such as automatic writing and the ‘récit de rêve'.
Though it shuns ‘closure' in a matter which remains ultimately elusive, this book offers some account of the types of answer which remain open and of those we have learned to leave behind.

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Edited by Karl Simms

This volume contains nineteen essays — eighteen here presented for the first time — exploring the question of subjectivity as seen from a linguistic perspective. Part I concerns the relationship between the linguistic subject, particularly the grammatical first person, and the subject in more general sense of ‘person'. Topics covered include deixis, verbal marking and temporalisation, and performatives. Part II concerns the relationship of subjectivity to the experience of reading, and as such considers the semiotics of both literary and non-literary texts, inter-modal representation, authorship and intertextuality. The essays in the volume are principally influenced by the thinking of Saussure, Jakobson, Guillaume, Benveniste, Wittgenstein, Barthes and Deleuze, and the book will appeal to scholars with an interest in theoretical linguistics, semiotics, discourse, analysis and philosophy of language. Karl Simms provides comprehensive introductions to each of the parts, making the book accessible to inform general readers with an interest in cultural and communication studies.

The Subject of Aesthetics

A psychology of art and experience

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Tone Roald

How does art influence us? In The Subject of Aesthetics, Tone Roald approaches aesthetics as a psychological discipline, showing how works of art challenge our habitual ways of perceiving the world. While aesthetics has traditionally been a philosophical discipline, Roald discusses how it is very much alive in the realm of psychology – a qualitative psychology of lived experience. But what actually constitutes an aesthetics of lived experience? The book answers that question by analyzing people’s own engagement with visual art. What emerges is that the object of aesthetics is indeed the subject.

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Edited by Karl Simms

This volume contains nineteen essays — eighteen here presented for the first time — exploring the question of subjectivity as seen from an ethical perspective. Part I concerns the phenomenological development of Cartesianism and the concept of narrative identity, with essays addressing Levinas' idea of the Other, Ricoeur's Christianisation of Levinas, and Dennet's concept of folk psychology. Part II concerns the experience of reading ethically, as mediated through genealogy and psychoanalysis. The essays address the discourses of philosophy, psychoanalysis, film and literature, and are informed by Nietzsche, Freud, Foucault and Lacan among others. The volume will interest philosophers and critical theorists. Karl Simms provides comprehensive introductions to each of the parts, making the book accessible to informed general readers with an interest in cultural studies.

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STEFAN HERBRECHTER

Abstract

This essay tests the hypothesis that “posthumanism” today constitutes the most radical questioning of the “subject.” It does so by putting posthumanist theories and concepts by proponents like Alain Badiou, Jean Baudrillard, N. Katherine Hayles and others to the test in a juxtaposing reading of The Matrix. The essay argues that cultural criticism today has to reconnect popular posthumanist scenarios in what could be called “science-fiction-theory” with earlier forms of materialist and poststructuralist critique.

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Christopher (Kit) Kelen

The process of poetry has importantly intuitive aspects and poetry embodies an ambivalence towards consciousness and towards those activities of thought in which it is constituted. It was ability to favour doubt over the productions of the rational mind that led Keats to associate poetry with his ‘negative capability’. Consciousness is – like poetry – a floating signifier, a term of wide reference, and with a range of implications in the various disciplinary contexts in which it finds currency. Poetry, consciousness and community is about poetry, consciousness and community, about their reflexive relationships in process, and about how these relationships matter to the world today and to worlds to come. This book is interested in the nature of poetic, as opposed to other, thought; it is interested in the critical application of these forms of thought to each others’ productions, and in how poetic thought might or might not be subject to its own regime. Poetry – as practice of testing the limits of language – entails a reflexive goal: that of understanding the journey in words made possible for, and by, the poem. Poetic meaning and truth are revealed between languages (likewise between genres, between texts, between subjects); it is in this inter-subjective and inter-cultural space that the limits of language (and so of conceivable worlds) are found.

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Faye Hammill

“There are two ladies in the province, I am told, who read,” writes Frances Brooke’s Arabella Fermor, “but both are above fifty and are regarded as prodigies of erudition.” Brooke’s The History of Emily Montague (1769) was the first work of fiction to be set in Canada, and also the first book to reflect on the situation of the woman writer there. Her analysis of the experience of writing in Canada is continued by the five other writers considered in this study – Susanna Moodie, Sara Jeannette Duncan, L.M. Montgomery, Margaret Atwood and Carol Shields. All of these authors examine the social position of the woman of letters in Canada, the intellectual stimulation available to her, the literary possibilities of Canadian subject-matter, and the practical aspects of reading, writing, and publishing in a (post)colonial country.
This book turns on the ways in which those aspects of authorship and literary culture in Canada have been inscribed in imaginative, autobiographical and critical texts by the six authors. It traces the evolving situation of the Canadian woman writer over the course of two centuries, and explores the impact of social and cultural change on the experience of writing in Canada.