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Literary Criticism

APHORISMS OF FRANZ KAFKA

APHORISMS OF FRANZ KAFKA

By: Kafka, Franz
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A splendid new translation of an extraordinary work of modern literature--featuring facing-page commentary by Kafka's acclaimed biographer

In 1917 and 1918, Franz Kafka wrote a set of more than 100 aphorisms, known as the Zürau aphorisms, after the Bohemian village in which he composed them. Among the most mysterious of Kafka's writings, they explore philosophical questions about truth, good and evil, and the spiritual and sensory world. This is the first annotated, bilingual volume of these extraordinary writings, which provide great insight into Kafka's mind. Edited, introduced, and with commentaries by preeminent Kafka biographer and authority Reiner Stach, and freshly translated by Shelley Frisch, this beautiful volume presents each aphorism on its own page in English and the original German, with accessible and enlightening notes on facing pages.

The most complex of Kafka's writings, the aphorisms merge literary and analytical thinking and are radical in their ideas, original in their images and metaphors, and exceptionally condensed in their language. Offering up Kafka's characteristically unsettling charms, the aphorisms at times put readers in unfamiliar, even inhospitable territory, which can then turn luminous: "I have never been in this place before: breathing works differently, and a star shines next to the sun, more dazzlingly still."

Above all, this volume reveals that these multifaceted gems aren't far removed from Kafka's novels and stories but are instead situated squarely within his cosmos--arguably at its very core. Long neglected by Kafka readers and scholars, his aphorisms have finally been given their full due here.

AVIDLY READS POETRY

AVIDLY READS POETRY

By: Ardam, Jacquelyn
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"Poetry has leapt out of its world and into the world"

Poetry is everywhere. From Amanda Gorman performing "The Hill We Climb" before the nation at Joe Biden's Presidential inauguration, to poems regularly going viral on Instagram and Twitter, more Americans are reading and interacting with poetry than ever before. Avidly Reads Poetry is an ode to poetry and the worlds that come into play around the different ways it is written and shared.

Mixing literary and cultural criticism with the author's personal and often intimate relationship with poetry, Avidly Reads Poetry breathes life into poems of every genre--from alphabet poems and Shakespeare's sonnets to Claudia Rankine's Citizen and Rupi Kaur's Instapoetry--and asks: How do poems come to us? How do they make us feel and think and act when they do? Who and what is poetry for? Who does poetry include and exclude, and what can we learn from it?

Each section links a reason why we might read poetry with a type of poem to help us think about how poems are embedded in our lives, in our loves, our educations, our politics, and our social media, sometimes in spite of, and sometimes very much because of, the nation we live in.

Part of the Avidly Reads series, this slim book gives us a new way of looking at American culture. With the singular blend of personal reflection and cultural criticism featured in the series, Avidly Reads Poetry shatters the wall between poetry and "the rest of us."

BURNING THE BOOKS

BURNING THE BOOKS

By: Ovenden, Richard
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A Wolfson History Prize Finalist
A New Statesman Book of the Year
A Sunday Times Book of the Year

"Timely and authoritative...I enjoyed it immensely."
--Philip Pullman

"If you care about books, and if you believe we must all stand up to the destruction of knowledge and cultural heritage, this is a brilliant read--both powerful and prescient."
--Elif Shafak

Libraries have been attacked since ancient times but they have been especially threatened in the modern era, through war as well as willful neglect. Burning the Books describes the deliberate destruction of the knowledge safeguarded in libraries from Alexandria to Sarajevo, from smashed Assyrian tablets to the torching of the Library of Congress. The director of the world-famous Bodleian Libraries, Richard Ovenden, captures the political, religious, and cultural motivations behind these acts. He also shines a light on the librarians and archivists preserving history and memory, often risking their lives in the process.

More than simply repositories for knowledge, libraries support the rule of law and inspire and inform citizens. Ovenden reminds us of their social and political importance, challenging us to protect and support these essential institutions.

"Wonderful...full of good stories and burning with passion."
--Sunday Times

"The sound of a warning vibrates through this book."
--The Guardian

"Essential reading for anyone concerned with libraries and what Ovenden outlines as their role in 'the support of democracy, the rule of law and open society.'"
--Wall Street Journal

"Ovenden emphasizes that attacks on books, archives, and recorded information are the usual practice of authoritarian regimes."
--Michael Dirda, Washington Post

CAMBRIDGE COMPANION TO THE CLASSIC RUSSIAN NOVEL

CAMBRIDGE COMPANION TO THE CLASSIC RUSSIAN NOVEL

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The Cambridge Companion to the Classic Russian Novel offers a thematic account of a tradition that produced some of the most influential novels of the Western world. In newly-commissioned essays by prominent scholars, the work of Pushkin, Dostoevsky, Tolstoy, Turgenev, Bulgakov, Nabokov, Pasternak, Solzhenitsyn and many others is described and discussed. There is a chronology and guide to further reading, and all quotations are in English. The volume will be invaluable for students, scholars and anyone interested in the Russian novel.
CANDOR & PERVERSION: Literature, Education, and the Arts

CANDOR & PERVERSION: Literature, Education, and the Arts

By: Shattuck, Roger
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With incisive analysis, he elucidates the nature of intellectual craftsmanship, defends art's undeniable moral component, and, faced with an academic world shattered by theory, laments how extra-literary politics have grown increasingly dominant, now attempting to eliminate the very category of literature. Whether commenting on Foucault, Pulp Fiction, Georgia O'Keeffe, V.S. Naipaul, or the survival of a core tradition in the humanities, Shattuck presents a stirring synthesis of the principles and values by which we can live together as a nation finally at peace with its diversity. A Los Angeles Times Best Book of the Year and a TLS Notable Book of 1999.

CHALLENGE OF COMPARATIVE LITERATURE

By: Guillen, Claudio
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In this work, Claudio Guillen meditates on the elusive field of comparative literature and its vicissitudes since the early 19th century.
CRITICAL REVOLUTIONARIES

CRITICAL REVOLUTIONARIES

By: Eagleton, Terry
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Terry Eagleton looks back across sixty years to an extraordinary critical milieu that transformed the study of literature

Before the First World War, traditional literary scholarship was isolated from society at large. In the years following, a younger generation of critics came to the fore. Their work represented a reaction to the impoverishment of language in a commercial, utilitarian society increasingly under the sway of film, advertising, and the popular press. For them, literary criticism was a way of diagnosing social ills and had a vital moral function to perform.

Terry Eagleton reflects on the lives and work of T. S. Eliot, I. A. Richards, William Empson, F. R. Leavis, and Raymond Williams, and explores a vital tradition of literary criticism that today is in danger of being neglected. These five critics rank among the most original and influential of modern times, and represent one of the most remarkable intellectual formations in twentieth-century Britain. This was the heyday of literary modernism, a period of change and experimentation--the bravura of which spurred on developments in critical theory.

CULTURAL CRITICISM, LITERARY THEORY, POSTSTRUCTURALISM

CULTURAL CRITICISM, LITERARY THEORY, POSTSTRUCTURALISM

By: Leitch, Vincent B
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Leitch argues for the use of poststructural theory in cultural criticism. He maintains that deconstruction remains crucial for a truly critical approach to cultural studies.
CULTURE OF LOVE: Victorians to Moderns

CULTURE OF LOVE: Victorians to Moderns

By: Kern, Stephen
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The Culture of Love interprets the sweeping change in loving that spanned a period when scientific discoveries reduced the terrors and dangers of sex, when new laws gave married women control over their earnings and their bodies, when bold novelists and artists shook off the prudishness and hypocrisy that so paralyzed the Victorians. As public opinion, family pressure, and religious conviction loosened, men and women took charge of their love. Stephen Kern argues that, in contrast to modern sex, Victorian sex was anatomically constricted, spatially confined, morally suspect, deadly serious, and abruptly over.

Kern divides love into its elements and traces profound changes in each: from waiting for love to ending it. Most revealing are the daring ways moderns began to talk about their current lovemaking as well as past lovers. While Victorians viewed jealousy as a foreign devil, moderns began to acknowledge responsibility for it. Desire lost its close tie with mortal sin and became the engine of artistic creation; women's response to the marriage proposal shifted from mere consent to active choice. There were even new possibilities of kissing, beyond the sudden, blind, disembodied, and censored Victorian meeting of lips.

Kern's evidence is mainly literature and art, including classic novels by the Brontës, Flaubert, Hugo, Eliot, Hardy, Forster, Colette, Proust, Mann, Joyce, Woolf, Lawrence, Hemingway, Fitzgerald, and Musil as well as the paintings and sculptures of Millais, Courbet, Gérôme, Rodin, Munch, Klimt, Schiele, Valadon, Chagall, Kandinsky, Kokoschka, Picasso, Matisse, and Brancusi. The book's conceptual foundation comes from Heidegger's existential philosophy, in particular his authentic-inauthentic distinction, which Kern adapts to make his overall interpretation and concluding affirmation of the value of authenticity: The moderns may have lost some of the Victorians' delicacy and poignancy, perhaps even some of their heroism, but in exchange became more reflective of what it means to be a human being in love and hence better able to make that loving more their very own.

DEATH OF TRAGEDY

DEATH OF TRAGEDY

By: Steiner, George
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""This book is important--and portentous--for if it is true that tragedy is dead, we face a vital cultural loss. . . . The book is bound to start controversy. . . . The very passion and insight with which he writes about the tragedies that have moved him prove that the vision still lives and that words can still enlighten and reveal.""-R.B. Sewall, New York Times Book Review
DIALOGUE OF VOICES: Feminist Literary Theory and Bakhtin

DIALOGUE OF VOICES: Feminist Literary Theory and Bakhtin

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A Dialogue of Voices was first published in 1994. Minnesota Archive Editions uses digital technology to make long-unavailable books once again accessible, and are published unaltered from the original University of Minnesota Press editions.

The work of the Russian theorist Mikhail Bakhtin, particularly his notions of dialogics and genre, has had a substantial impact on contemporary critical practices. Until now, however, little attention has been paid to the possibilities and challenges Bakhtin presents to feminist theory, the task taken up in A Dialogue of Voices. The original essays in this book combine feminism and Bakhtin in unique ways and, by interpreting texts through these two lenses, arrive at new theoretical approaches. Together, these essays point to a new direction for feminist theory that originates in Bakhtin-one that would lead to a feminine être rather than a feminine écriture.

Focusing on feminist theorists such as Hélène Cixous, Teresa de Lauretis, Julia Kristeva, and Monique Wittig in conjunction with Bakhtin's concepts of dialogism, heteroglossia, and chronotope, the authors offer close readings of texts from a wide range of multicultural genres, including nature writing, sermon composition, nineteenth-century British women's fiction, the contemporary romance novel, Irish and French lyric poetry, and Latin American film. The result is a unique dialogue in which authors of both sexes, from several countries and different eras, speak against, for, and with one another in ways that reveal their works anew as well as the critical matrices surrounding them.

Karen Hohne is an independent scholar and artist living in Moorhead, Minnesota. Helen Wussow is an assistant professor of English at Memphis State University.

FAULTLINES: Cultural Materialism and the Politics of Dissident Reading

FAULTLINES: Cultural Materialism and the Politics of Dissident Reading

By: Sinfield, Alan
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If we come to consciousness within a language that is complicit with the social order, how can we conceive, let alone organize, resistance to that social order? This key question in the politics of reading and subcultural practice informs Alan Sinfield's book on writing in early-modern England.

New historicism has often shown people trapped in a web of language and culture. In lively discussions of writings by Shakespeare, Marlowe, Sidney, and Donne, Sinfield reassesses the scope of dissidence and control. The early-modern state, Christianity, and the cultural apparatus, despite an ideology of unity and explicit violence, could not but allow space to challenging voices. Sinfield shows that disruptions in concepts of hierarchy, nationality, gender, and sexuality force their way into literary texts.

Sinfield is often provocative. He "rewrites" Julius Caesar to produce a different politics, compares Sidney's idea of poetry to Leonid Brezhnev's, and reinstates the concept of character in the face of post-structuralist theory. He keeps the current politics of literary study in view, especially in a substantial chapter on Shakespeare in the U.S. Sinfield subjects interactions between class, ethnicity, sexuality, and the professional structures of the humanities to a detailed and hard-hitting critique, and argues for new commitments to collectivities and subcultures.
IN PRAISE OF GOOD BOOKSTORES

IN PRAISE OF GOOD BOOKSTORES

By: Deutsch, Jeff
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From a devoted reader and lifelong bookseller, an eloquent and charming reflection on the singular importance of bookstores

Do we need bookstores in the twenty-first century? If so, what makes a good one? In this beautifully written book, Jeff Deutsch--the director of Chicago's Seminary Co-op Bookstores, one of the finest bookstores in the world--pays loving tribute to one of our most important and endangered civic institutions. He considers how qualities like space, time, abundance, and community find expression in a good bookstore. Along the way, he also predicts--perhaps audaciously--a future in which the bookstore not only endures, but realizes its highest aspirations.

In exploring why good bookstores matter, Deutsch draws on his lifelong experience as a bookseller, but also his upbringing as an Orthodox Jew. This spiritual and cultural heritage instilled in him a reverence for reading, not as a means to a living, but as an essential part of a meaningful life. Central among Deutsch's arguments for the necessity of bookstores is the incalculable value of browsing--since, when we are deep in the act of looking at the shelves, we move through space as though we are inside the mind itself, immersed in self-reflection.

In the age of one-click shopping, this is no ordinary defense of bookstores, but rather an urgent account of why they are essential places of discovery, refuge, and fulfillment that enrich the communities that are lucky enough to have them.

JOY OF THE WORM

JOY OF THE WORM

By: Daniel, Drew
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Consulting an extensive archive of early modern literature, Joy of the Worm asserts that voluntary death in literature is not always a matter of tragedy.

In this study, Drew Daniel identifies a surprisingly common aesthetic attitude that he calls "joy of the worm," after Cleopatra's embrace of the deadly asp in Shakespeare's play--a pattern where voluntary death is imagined as an occasion for humor, mirth, ecstatic pleasure, even joy and celebration.

Daniel draws both a historical and a conceptual distinction between "self-killing" and "suicide." Standard intellectual histories of suicide in the early modern period have understandably emphasized attitudes of abhorrence, scorn, and severity toward voluntary death. Daniel reads an archive of literary scenes and passages, dating from 1534 to 1713, that complicate this picture. In their own distinct responses to the surrounding attitude of censure, writers including Shakespeare, Donne, Milton, and Addison imagine death not as sin or sickness, but instead as a heroic gift, sexual release, elemental return, amorous fusion, or political self-rescue. "Joy of the worm" emerges here as an aesthetic mode that shades into schadenfreude, sadistic cruelty, and deliberate "trolling," but can also underwrite powerful feelings of belonging, devotion, and love.

LECTURES ON DOSTOEVSKY

LECTURES ON DOSTOEVSKY

By: Frank, Joseph
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From the author of the definitive biography of Fyodor Dostoevsky, never-before-published lectures that provide an accessible introduction to the Russian writer's major works

Joseph Frank (1918-2013) was perhaps the most important Dostoevsky biographer, scholar, and critic of his time. His never-before-published Stanford lectures on the Russian novelist's major works provide an unparalleled and accessible introduction to some of literature's greatest masterpieces. Presented here for the first time, these illuminating lectures begin with an introduction to Dostoevsky's life and literary influences and go on to explore the breadth of his career--from Poor Folk, The Double, and The House of the Dead to Notes from Underground, Crime and Punishment, The Idiot, and The Brothers Karamazov. Written in a conversational style that combines literary analysis and cultural history, Lectures on Dostoevsky places the novels and their key characters and scenes in a rich context. Bringing Joseph Frank's unmatched knowledge and understanding of Dostoevsky's life and writings to a new generation of readers, this remarkable book will appeal to anyone seeking to understand Dostoevsky and his times.

The book also includes Frank's favorite review of his Dostoevsky biography, Joseph Frank's Dostoevsky by David Foster Wallace, originally published in the Village Voice.

MAKING SENSE IN LIFE & LITERATURE

MAKING SENSE IN LIFE & LITERATURE

By: Gumbrecht, Hans Ulrich
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NEW SHORT STORY THEORIES

NEW SHORT STORY THEORIES

By: May, Charles E
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The first edition of May's Short Story Theories (1976) opened with an essay entitled, "The Short Story: An Underrated Art." Almost two decades later, the short story suffers no such slight. Publishers and critics have become increasingly interested in the form, which has enjoyed a renaissance led by such writers as Raymond Carver, Tobias Wolff, Ann Beattie, Bobbie Ann Mason, and Mary Robison. An important part of this revival of interest, Short Story Theories has continued to attract a strong and loyal audience among students and teachers. The New Short Story Theories includes a few basic pieces from the earlier volume - Poe's Hawthorne review, Brander Matthew's extension and formalization of Poe's theories, and essays by Randall Jarrell, Elizabeth Bowen, and Nadine Gordimer - but most of the essays are new to the collection.
ON MODERN POETRY

ON MODERN POETRY

By: Mazzoni, Guido
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An incisive, unified account of modern poetry in the Western tradition, arguing that the emergence of the lyric as a dominant verse style is emblematic of the age of the individual.

Between the end of the eighteenth century and the beginning of the twentieth, poetry in the West was transformed. The now-common idea that poetry mostly corresponds with the lyric in the modern sense--a genre in which a first-person speaker talks self-referentially--was foreign to ancient, medieval, and Renaissance poetics. Yet in a relatively short time, age-old habits gave way. Poets acquired unprecedented freedom to write obscurely about private experiences, break rules of meter and syntax, use new vocabulary, and entangle first-person speakers with their own real-life identities. Poetry thus became the most subjective genre of modern literature.

On Modern Poetry reconstructs this metamorphosis, combining theoretical reflections with literary history and close readings of poets from Giacomo Leopardi to Louise Glück. Guido Mazzoni shows that the evolution of modern poetry involved significant changes in the way poetry was perceived, encouraged the construction of first-person poetic personas, and dramatically altered verse style. He interprets these developments as symptoms of profound historical and cultural shifts in the modern period: the crisis of tradition, the rise of individualism, the privileging of self-expression and its paradoxes. Mazzoni also reflects on the place of poetry in mass culture today, when its role has been largely assumed by popular music.

The result is a rich history of literary modernity and a bold new account of poetry's transformations across centuries and national traditions.

ON PSYCHOLOGICAL PROSE

ON PSYCHOLOGICAL PROSE

By: Ginzburg, Lydia
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Comparable in importance to Mikhail Bakhtin, Lydia Ginzburg distinguished herself among Soviet literary critics through her investigation of the social and historical elements that relate verbal art to life in a particular culture. Her work speaks directly to those Western critics who may find that deconstructionist and psychoanalytical strategies by themselves are incapable of addressing the full meaning of literature. Here, in her first book to be translated into English, Ginzburg examines the reciprocal relationship between literature and life by exploring the development of the image of personality as both an aesthetic and social phenomenon. Showing that the boundary between traditional literary genres and other kinds of writing is a historically variable one, Ginzburg discusses a wide range of Western texts from the eighteenth century onward--including familiar letters and other historical and social documents, autobiographies such as the Memoires of Saint-Simon, Rousseau's Confessions, and Herzen's My Past and Thoughts, and the novels of Stendhal, Flaubert, Turgenev, and Tolstoi. A major portion of the study is devoted to Tolstoi's contribution to the literary investigation of personality, especially in his epic panorama of Russian life, War and Peace, and in Anna Karenina.
ON SEAMUS HEANEY

ON SEAMUS HEANEY

By: Foster, Roy
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A vivid and original account of one of Ireland's greatest poets by an acclaimed Irish historian and literary biographer

The most important Irish poet of the postwar era, Seamus Heaney rose to prominence as his native Northern Ireland descended into sectarian violence. A national figure at a time when nationality was deeply contested, Heaney also won international acclaim, culminating in the Nobel Prize for Literature in 1995. In On Seamus Heaney, leading Irish historian and literary critic R. F. Foster gives an incisive and eloquent account of the poet and his work against the background of a changing Ireland.

Drawing on unpublished drafts and correspondence, Foster provides illuminating and personal interpretations of Heaney's work. Though a deeply charismatic figure, Heaney refused to don the mantle of public spokesperson, and Foster identifies a deliberate evasiveness and creative ambiguity in his poetry. In this, and in Heaney's evocation of a disappearing rural Ireland haunted by political violence, Foster finds parallels with the other towering figure of Irish poetry, W. B. Yeats. Foster also discusses Heaney's cosmopolitanism, his support for dissident poets abroad, and his increasing focus in his later work on death and spiritual transcendence. Above all, Foster examines how Heaney created an extraordinary connection with an exceptionally wide readership, giving him an authority and power unique among contemporary writers.

Combining a vivid account of Heaney's life and a compelling reading of his entire oeuvre, On Seamus Heaney extends our understanding of the man as it enriches our appreciation of his poetry.

ORWELL'S ROSES

ORWELL'S ROSES

By: Solnit, Rebecca
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Longlisted for the PEN/Jacqueline Bograd Weld Award for Biography

"An exhilarating romp through Orwell's life and times and also through the life and times of roses." --Margaret Atwood

"A captivating account of Orwell as gardener, lover, parent, and endlessly curious thinker." --Claire Messud, Harper's

"Nobody who reads it will ever think of Nineteen Eighty-Four in quite the same way."--Vogue

A lush exploration of roses, pleasure, and politics, and a fresh take on George Orwell as an avid gardener whose political writing was grounded in his passion for the natural world

"In the year 1936 a writer planted roses." So begins Rebecca Solnit's new book, a reflection on George Orwell's passionate gardening and the way that his involvement with plants, particularly flowers, and the natural world illuminates his other commitments as a writer and antifascist, and the intertwined politics of nature and power.

Sparked by her unexpected encounter with the surviving roses he planted in 1936, Solnit's account of this understudied aspect of Orwell's life explores his writing and his actions--from going deep into the coal mines of England, fighting in the Spanish Civil War, critiquing Stalin when much of the international left still supported him (and then critiquing that left), to his analysis of the relationship between lies and authoritarianism. Through Solnit's celebrated ability to draw unexpected connections, readers encounter the photographer Tina Modotti's roses and her Stalinism, Stalin's obsession with forcing lemons to grow in impossibly cold conditions, Orwell's slave-owning ancestors in Jamaica, Jamaica Kincaid's critique of colonialism and imperialism in the flower garden, and the brutal rose industry in Colombia that supplies the American market. The book draws to a close with a rereading of Nineteen Eighty-Four that completes her portrait of a more hopeful Orwell, as well as a reflection on pleasure, beauty, and joy as acts of resistance.

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POLITICS AND THE NOVEL

By: Howe, Irving, Comp
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Politics and the Novel clarifies the role of revolutionary ideas in fiction, establishing the role of the political novel, and tracing the growth of this novel into the 20th century. Examples are drawn from such classics as Stendhal's The Red and the Black, Dostoevsky's The Possessed, Conrad's The Secret Agent and Turgenev's Fathers and Sons.
PRINCIPLE AND PROPENSITY: Experience and Religion in the Nineteenth-Century British American Bildungsroman

PRINCIPLE AND PROPENSITY: Experience and Religion in the Nineteenth-Century British American Bildungsroman

By: Bennett, Kelsey L
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Scholars have traditionally relied upon the assumption that the nineteenth-century bildungsroman in the Goethean tradition is an intrinsically secular genre exclusive to Europe, incompatible with the literature of a democratically based culture. By combining intellectual history with genre criticism, Principle and Propensity provides a critical reassessment of the bildungsroman, beginning with its largely overlooked theological premises: bildung as formation of the self in the image of God. Kelsey L. Bennett examines the dynamic differences, tensions, and possibilities that arise as interest in spiritual growth, or self-formation, collides with the democratic and quasi-democratic culture in the nineteenth-century British and American bildungsroman.

Beginning with the idea that interest in an individual's moral and psychological growth, or bildung, originated as a religious exercise in the context of Protestant theological traditions, Bennett shows how these traditions found ways into the bildungsroman, the literary genre most closely concerned with the relationship between individual experience and self-formation.

Part 1 of Principle and Propensity examines the attributes of parallel national traditions of spiritual self-formation as they convened under the auspices of the international revival movements: the Evangelical Revival, the Great Awakening, and the renewal of Pietism in Germany, led respectively by John Wesley, Jonathan Edwards, and Count Nikolaus Ludwig Zinzendorf. Further it reveals the ways in which spiritual self-formation and the international revival movements coalesce in the bildungsroman prototype, Johann Wolfgang von Goethe's Wilhelm Meisters Lehrjahre (Wilhelm Meister's Apprenticeship). Part 2 in turn explores the ways these traditions manifest themselves in the nineteenth-century bildungsroman in England and the United States through Jane Eyre, David Copperfield, Pierre, and Portrait of a Lady.

Though Wilhelm Meisters Lehrjahre was a library staple for most serious writers in nineteenth-century England and in the United States, Bennett shows how writers such as Charlotte Brontë, Charles Dickens, Herman Melville, and Henry James also drew on their own religious traditions of self-formation, adding richness and distinction to the received genre.

PROMISE AND PERIL OF THINGS

PROMISE AND PERIL OF THINGS

By: Li, Wai-Yee
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Our relationship with things abounds with paradoxes. People assign value to objects in ways that are often deeply personal or idiosyncratic yet at the same time rooted in specific cultural and historical contexts. How do things become meaningful? How do our connections with the world of things define us? In Ming and Qing China, inquiry into things and their contradictions flourished, and its depth and complexity belie the notion that material culture simply reflects status anxiety or class conflict.


Wai-yee Li traces notions of the pleasures and dangers of things in the literature and thought of late imperial China. She explores how aesthetic claims and political power intersect, probes the objective and subjective dimensions of value, and questions what determines authenticity and aesthetic appeal. Li considers core oppositions-people and things, elegance and vulgarity, real and fake, lost and found-to tease out the ambiguities of material culture. With examples spanning the late sixteenth to the mid-eighteenth centuries, she shows how relations with things can both encode and resist social change, political crisis, and personal loss.


The Promise and Peril of Things reconsiders major works such as The Plum in the Golden Vase, The Story of the Stone, Li Yu's writings, and Wu Weiye's poetry and drama, as well as a host of less familiar texts. It offers new insights into Ming and Qing literary and aesthetic sensibilities, as well as the intersections of material culture with literature, intellectual history, and art history.

READING VOICES: Literature and the Phonotext

READING VOICES: Literature and the Phonotext

By: Stewart, Garrett
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"At last, a scrupulous and sustained--'earsighted'--study of that shadowy yet vital intersection of sound and sense without which literary reading remains a disembodied exercise. . . . Stewart immerses us brilliantly in the poststructural method of a 'phonemic' analysis."--Geoffrey H. Hartman, author of Saving the Text "Stunningly articulate. . . . Alongside brilliant exegeses of passsages from the major English poets, Stewart offers new and dazzling interpretations of the 'poetics of prose' in such novelists as Dickens, Lawrence, Joyce, and Woolf. The book is a tour de force, no doubt about it. In my opinion, Reading Voices will have not only a wide but a lasting reception."--Hayden White, author of Metahistory "This is exciting, virtuoso work in a playfully imaginative hermeneutic mode. Stewart's ear hears fascinating and compelling things, things which have a delightfully rich and thematically complex bearing on much larger textual issues."--Paul Fry, author of The Reach of Criticism "A truly original book. . . . The first work in years to bring together linguistically informed criticism with more philosophically oriented literary theory. The resulting vision of literature is odd, personal, passionate, even outlandish. Not only is Stewart himself and extraordinary stylist, but his work suggests a breakthrough in stylistic criticism so radical as to revitalize the entire field."--Jay Clayton, author of Romantic Vision and the Novel
SEEDS OF TIME

SEEDS OF TIME

By: Jameson, Fredric
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In three parts, Jameson presents the postmodern problem of Utopia, attempting to diagnose the cultural present and to open a perspective on the future of a world that is all but impossible to predict with any certainty -- a telling of the future, as Jameson calls it, with an imperfect deck.
SENSE OF AN ENDING: Studies in the Theory of Fiction

SENSE OF AN ENDING: Studies in the Theory of Fiction

By: Kermode, Frank
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Frank Kermode is one of our most distinguished critics of English literature. Here, he contributes a new epilogue to his collection of classic lectures on the relationship of fiction to age-old concepts of apocalyptic chaos and crisis. Prompted by the approach of the millennium, he revisits the book which brings his highly concentrated insights to bear on some of the most unyielding philosophical and aesthetic enigmas. Examining the works of writers from Plato to William Burrows, Kermode shows how they have persistently imposed their "fictions" upon the face of eternity and how these have reflected the apocalyptic spirit. Kermode then discusses literature at a time when new fictive explanations, as used by Spenser and Shakespeare, were being devised to fit a world of uncertain beginning and end. He goes on to deal perceptively with modern literature with "traditionalists" such as Yeats, Eliot, and Joyce, as well as contemporary "schismatics," the French "new novelists," and such seminal figures as Jean-Paul Sartre and Samuel Beckett. Whether weighing the difference between modern and earlier modes of apocalyptic thought, considering the degeneration of fiction into myth, or commenting on the vogue of the Absurd, Kermode is distinctly lucid, persuasive, witty, and prodigal of ideas.
TRANSLATING MYSELF AND OTHERS

TRANSLATING MYSELF AND OTHERS

By: Lahiri, Jhumpa
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Luminous essays on translation and self-translation by the award-winning writer and literary translator

Translating Myself and Others is a collection of candid and disarmingly personal essays by Pulitzer Prize-winning author Jhumpa Lahiri, who reflects on her emerging identity as a translator as well as a writer in two languages.

With subtlety and emotional immediacy, Lahiri draws on Ovid's myth of Echo and Narcissus to explore the distinction between writing and translating, and provides a close reading of passages from Aristotle's Poetics to talk more broadly about writing, desire, and freedom. She traces the theme of translation in Antonio Gramsci's Prison Notebooks and takes up the question of Italo Calvino's popularity as a translated author. Lahiri considers the unique challenge of translating her own work from Italian to English, the question "Why Italian?," and the singular pleasures of translating contemporary and ancient writers.

Featuring essays originally written in Italian and published in English for the first time, as well as essays written in English, Translating Myself and Others brings together Lahiri's most lyrical and eloquently observed meditations on the translator's art as a sublime act of both linguistic and personal metamorphosis.

VICTORIES NEVER LAST

VICTORIES NEVER LAST

By: Zaretsky, Robert
$22.50
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A timely and nuanced book that sets the author's experience as a nursing home volunteer during the pandemic alongside the wisdom of great thinkers who confronted their own plagues.

In any time of disruption or grief, many of us seek guidance in the work of great writers who endured similar circumstances. During the first year of the COVID-19 pandemic, historian and biographer Robert Zaretsky did the same while also working as a volunteer in a nursing home in south Texas. In Victories Never Last Zaretsky weaves his reflections on the pandemic siege of his nursing home with the testimony of six writers on their own times of plague: Thucydides, Marcus Aurelius, Michel de Montaigne, Daniel Defoe, Mary Shelley, and Albert Camus, whose novel The Plague provides the title of this book.

Zaretsky delves into these writers to uncover lessons that can provide deeper insight into our pandemic era. At the same time, he goes beyond the literature to invoke his own experience of the tragedy that enveloped his Texas nursing home, one which first took the form of chronic loneliness and then, inevitably, the deaths of many residents whom we come to know through Zaretsky's stories. In doing so, Zaretsky shows the power of great literature to connect directly to one's own life in a different moment and time.

For all of us still struggling to comprehend this pandemic and its toll, Zaretsky serves as a thoughtful and down-to-earth guide to the many ways we can come to know and make peace with human suffering.

WANDERING SPIRITS

WANDERING SPIRITS

By: Strassberg, Richard E
$34.95
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Dreams have been taken seriously in China for at least three millennia. Wandering Spirits is a translation and study of the most comprehensive work on dream culture in traditional China-Lofty Principles of Dream Interpretation (Mengzhan yizhi), compiled in 1562 by Chen Shiyuan and periodically reprinted up to the modern era. The best introduction to the diversity of ideas held by the educated class about dreams, this unique treatise compiles various theories, Chen's own comments concerning the nature of dreams and their role in waking life, and almost seven hundred examples assembled from a wide range of literary sources. This annotated translation is accompanied by a full-length introduction that surveys the evolution of Chinese dream culture and the role of Chen Shiyuan and his encyclopedia.