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From Gaelic to Romantic

Ossianic Translations


Edited by Fiona Stafford and Howard Gaskill

The appearance of James Macpherson's Ossian in the 1760s caused an international sensation. The discovery of poetic fragments that seemed to have survived in the Highlands of Scotland for some 1500 years gripped the imagination of the reading public, who seized eagerly on the newly available texts for glimpses of a lost primitive world. That Macpherson's versions of the ancient heroic verse were more creative adaptations of the oral tradition than literal translations of a clearly identifiable original may have exercised contemporary antiquarians and contributed eventually to a decline in the popularity of Ossian. Yet for most early readers, as for generations of enthusiastic followers, what mattered was not the accuracy of the translation, but the excitement of encountering the primitive, and the mood engendered by the process of reading. The essays in this collection represent an attempt by late twentieth-century readers to chart the cultural currents that flowed into Macpherson's texts, and to examine their peculiar energy. Scholars distinguished in the fields of Gaelic, German, Irish, Scottish, French, English and American literature, language, history and cultural studies have each contributed to the exploration of Macpherson's achievement, with the aim of situating his notoriously elusive texts in a web of diverse contexts. Important new research into the traditional Gaelic sources is placed side by side with discussions of the more immediate political impetus of his poetry, while studies of the reception of Ossian in Scotland, Germany, France and England are part of the larger recognition of the cultural significance of Macpherson's work, and its importance to issues of fragmentation, liminality, colonialism, national identity, sensibility and gender.

Narrated Communities – Narrated Realities

Narration as Cognitive Processing and Cultural Practice


Edited by Hermann Blume, Christoph Leitgeb and Michael Rössner

Culture studies try to understand how people assume identities and how they perceive reality. In this perspective narration, as a basic form of cognitive processing, is a fundamental cultural technique. Narrations provide the coherence, temporal organization and semantic integration that are essential for the development and communication of identity, knowledge and orientation in a socio-cultural context.
In essence, Anderson’s “Imagined Communities” need to be thought of as “Narrated Communities” from the beginning. Narration is made up by what people think; and vice versa, narration makes up people's thoughts. What is considered "fictitious" or "real" no longer separates narratives from an "outside" they refer to, but rather represents different narratives.
Narration not only constructs notions of what was “real” in retrospect, but also prospectively creates possible worlds, even in the (supposedly hard) sciences, as in e.g. the imaginative simulation of physical processes. The book’s unique interdisciplinary approach shows how the implications of this fundamental insight go far beyond the sphere of literature and carry weight for both scholarly and scientific disciplines.

The Early History of Embodied Cognition 1740-1920

The Lebenskraft-Debate and Radical Reality in German Science, Music, and Literature


Edited by John A. McCarthy

This pioneering book evaluates the early history of embodied cognition. It explores for the first time the life-force ( Lebenskraft) debate in Germany, which was manifest in philosophical reflection, medical treatise, scientific experimentation, theoretical physics, aesthetic theory, and literary practice esp. 1740-1920. The history of vitalism is considered in the context of contemporary discourses on radical reality (or deep naturalism). We ask how animate matter and cognition arise and are maintained through agent-environment dynamics (Whitehead) or performance (Pickering). This book adopts a nonrepresentational approach to studying perception, action, and cognition, which Anthony Chemero designated radical embodied cognitive science. From early physiology to psychoanalysis, from the microbiome to memetics, appreciation of body and mind as symbiotically interconnected with external reality has steadily increased. Leading critics explore here resonances of body, mind, and environment in medical history (Reil, Hahnemann, Hirschfeld), science (Haller, Goethe, Ritter, Darwin, L. Büchner), musical aesthetics (E.T.A. Hoffmann, Wagner), folklore (Grimm), intersex autobiography (Baer), and stories of crime and aberration (Nordau, Döblin). Science and literature both prove to be continually emergent cultures in the quest for understanding and identity. This book will appeal to intertextual readers curious to know how we come to be who we are and, ultimately, how the Anthropocene came to be.

Frank Schulze-Engler

, hard battle lost out against a deadly antagonist that had taken him by surprise and plucked him out of an exceptional vita activa led with seemingly indomitable energy also years after his retirement. Our thoughts are with his wife Ingrid, his life companion of many decades, who was also by his side

Obituary of Michael Wessels (1958–2018)

Remarks Made on the Occasion of a Memorial Service in Celebration of His Life, University of the Western Cape, 14 May 2018

Hermann Wittenberg

with enormous energy and commitment, as reflected in his publications, by raising big research grants, by leading international teams of scholars—and even, somewhat reluctantly, in administration. This made more and more demands on his time, but I think he also revelled in his work, these many hours in

Separating the Magical from the Real

The Representation of the Barwa in Zakes Mda’s She Plays with the Darkness

Michael Wessels

makes her erase the images. After this attempt to incorporate her creative energy within the framework of domestic life is thwarted, Dikosha begins to spend her time in the cave of the Barwa. She goes there every day for four years, and once a week she sleeps over in the cave (41). Mysteriously, she

Drawing the Divine Seed

India, Alterity and the Real in the Works of J.M. Coetzee

Anas Tabraiz

implication in, and subservience to, a natural ethos and ecology. In Eros and Ethics: Reading Jacques Lacan’s Seminar  VII , Marc de Kesel tells us that Lacanian psychoanalysis evolved out of the Freudian confrontation with the Aristotelian belief that man lives by managing the energy that he gets from

Shaden M. Tageldin

haunts Tagore’s “world literature.” For it does not debunk the problematic aspiration of Tagorean world literature to a world devoid of the hierarchies of comparison; rather, it assimilates the critical energies of Tagore’s thought to the hegemony of English, homogenizing a world literature in Bengali to

Intersecting Imperialisms

The Rise and Fall of Empires in Richard Flanagan’s The Narrow Road to the Deep North

Ben Holgate

materialist postcolonial studies. By doing so, Nixon believes world literature studies may capture some of the “radical energies” that postcolonial engagement encourages. Conversely, “we need scholarship and teaching that can address, in transnational terms, territories beyond postcolonialism’s conventional

Andrea Cabajsky

native Prague with an extraordinary “liveliness,” a compensatory energy that permits them, as “small literatures,” to establish a “claim” to “attention” in spite of their “lack” of “great” literary “talent” (Kafka 192). As Casanova observes, Kafka, the Prague Jew, compares the prestige of German