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Preview: University of Chicago Press: New Titles in Literature and Literary Criticism

University of Chicago Press: New Titles in Literature and Literary Criticism: General Criticism and Critical Theory



The latest new books in Literature and Literary Criticism: General Criticism and Critical Theory



Published: Tue, 21 Nov 2017 06:00:00 GMT

 



Paraliterary

Thu, 16 Nov 2017 06:00:00 GMT

Literature departments are staffed by, and tend to be focused on turning out, “good” readers—attentive to nuance, aware of history, interested in literary texts as self-contained works. But the vast majority of readers are, to use Merve Emre’s tongue-in-cheek term, “bad” readers. They read fiction and poetry to be moved, distracted, instructed, improved, engaged as citizens. How should we think about those readers, and what should we make of the structures, well outside the academy, that generate them? We should, Emre argues, think of such readers not as non-literary but as paraliterary—thriving outside the institutions we take as central to the literary world. She traces this phenomenon to the postwar period, when literature played a key role in the rise of American power. At the same time as American universities were producing good readers by the hundreds, many more thousands of bad readers were learning elsewhere to be disciplined public communicators, whether in diplomatic and ambassadorial missions, private and public cultural exchange programs, multinational corporations, or global activist groups. As we grapple with literature’s diminished role in the public sphere, Paraliterary suggests a new way to think about literature, its audience, and its potential, one that looks at the civic institutions that have long engaged readers ignored by the academy.  


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Finance in America

Thu, 16 Nov 2017 06:00:00 GMT

The economic crisis of 2008 led to an unprecedented focus on the world of high finance—and revealed it to be far more arcane and influential than most people could ever have imagined. Any hope of avoiding future crises, it’s clear, rest on understanding finance itself.             To understand finance, however, we have to learn its history, and this book fills that need. Kevin R. Brine, an industry veteran, and Mary Poovey, an acclaimed historian, show that finance as we know it today emerged gradually in the late nineteenth century and only coalesced after World War II, becoming ever more complicated—and ever more central to the American economy. The authors explain the models, regulations, and institutions at the heart of modern finance and uncover the complex and sometimes surprising origins of its critical features, such as corporate accounting standards, the Federal Reserve System, risk management practices, and American Keynesian and New Classic monetary economics. This book sees finance through its highs and lows, from pre-Depression to post-Recession, exploring the myriad ways in which the practices of finance and the realities of the economy influenced one another through the years.             A masterwork of collaboration, Finance in America lays bare the theories and practices that constitute finance, opening up the discussion of its role and risks to a broad range of scholars and citizens.  


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Hidden Hitchcock

Thu, 16 Nov 2017 06:00:00 GMT

No filmmaker has more successfully courted mass-audience understanding than Alfred Hitchcock, and none has been studied more intensively by scholars. In Hidden Hitchcock, D. A. Miller does what seems impossible: he discovers what has remained unseen in Hitchcock’s movies, a secret style that imbues his films with a radical duplicity. Focusing on three films—Strangers on a Train, Rope, and The Wrong Man—Miller shows how Hitchcock anticipates, even demands a “Too-Close Viewer.” Dwelling within us all and vigilant even when everything appears to be in good order, this Too-Close Viewer attempts to see more than the director points out, to expand the space of the film and the duration of the viewing experience. And, thanks to Hidden Hitchcock, that obsessive attention is rewarded. In Hitchcock’s visual puns, his so-called continuity errors, and his hidden appearances (not to be confused with his cameos), Miller finds wellsprings of enigma.Hidden Hitchcock is a revelatory work that not only shows how little we know this best known of filmmakers, but also how near such too-close viewing comes to cinephilic madness.  


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Crossing between Tradition and Modernity

Wed, 15 Nov 2017 06:00:00 GMT

Crossing Between Tradition and Modernity presents thirteen essays written in honor of Milena Doleželová-Velingerová (1932–2012), a member of the Prague School of Sinology and an important scholar of Chinese literature who was at the forefront in introducing literary theory into sinology. Doleželová-Velingerová was that rare scholar who wrote with equal knowledge and skill about both modern and premodern Chinese literature. The essays emulate Doleželová-Velingerová’s scholarship in terms of treating a broad range of historical periods, literary genres, and topics—from Tang travel essays to cultural identity in postcolonial Hong Kong. Organized into two parts, “Language, Structure, and Genre,” and “Identities and Self-Representations,” the essays are motivated by an abiding concern with issues of language, narrative structure, and the complex nature of literary meaning that were at the heart of Doleželová-Velingerová’s work.


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Mana of Mass Society

Tue, 24 Oct 2017 05:00:00 GMT

  We often invoke the “magic” of mass media to describe seductive advertising or charismatic politicians. In The Mana of Mass Society, William Mazzarella asks what happens to social theory if we take that idea seriously. How would it change our understanding of publicity, propaganda, love, and power?   Mazzarella reconsiders the concept of “mana,” which served in early anthropology as a troubled bridge between “primitive” ritual and the fascination of mass media. Thinking about mana, Mazzarella shows, means rethinking some of our most fundamental questions: What powers authority? What in us responds to it? Is the mana that animates an Aboriginal ritual the same as the mana that energizes a revolutionary crowd, a consumer public, or an art encounter? At the intersection of anthropology and critical theory, The Mana of Mass Society brings recent conversations around affect, sovereignty, and emergence into creative contact with classic debates on religion, charisma, ideology, and aesthetics.


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Perfect Wave

Mon, 23 Oct 2017 05:00:00 GMT

When Dave Hickey was twelve, he rode the surfer’s dream: the perfect wave. And, like so many things in life we long for, it didn’t quite turn out----he shot the pier and dashed himself against the rocks of Sunset Cliffs in Ocean Beach, which just about killed him.   Fortunately, for Hickey and for us, he survived, and continues to battle, decades into a career as one of America’s foremost critical iconoclasts, a trusted, even cherished no-nonsense voice commenting on the all-too-often nonsensical worlds of art and culture. Perfect Wave brings together essays on a wide range of subjects from throughout Hickey’s career, displaying his usual breadth of interest and powerful insight into what makes art work, or not, and why we care. With Hickey as our guide, we travel to Disneyland and Vegas, London and Venice. We discover the genius of Karen Carpenter and Waylon Jennings, learn why Robert Mitchum matters more than Jimmy Stewart, and see how the stillness of Antonioni speaks to us today. Never slow to judge—or to surprise us in doing so—Hickey powerfully relates his wincing disappointment in the later career of his early hero Susan Sontag, and shows us the appeal to our commonality that we’ve been missing in Norman Rockwell. With each essay, the doing is as important as what’s done; the pleasure of reading Dave Hickey lies nearly as much in spending time in his company as in being surprised to find yourself agreeing with his conclusions.   Bookended by previously unpublished personal essays that offer a new glimpse into Hickey’s own life—including the aforementioned slam-bang conclusion to his youthful surfing career—Perfect Wave is not a perfect book. But it’s a damn good one, and a welcome addition to the Hickey canon.  


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Stendhal

Mon, 09 Oct 2017 05:00:00 GMT

Victor Brombert is a lion in the study of French literature, and in this classic of literary criticism, he turns his clear and perspicacious gaze on the works of one of its greatest authors—Stendhal. Best remembered for his novels The Red and the Black and The Charterhouse of Parma, Stendhal is a writer of extraordinary insight into psychology and the many shades of individual and political liberty. Brombert has spent a lifetime reading and teaching Stendhal and here, by focusing on the seemingly contradictory themes of inner freedom and outer constraint within Stendhal’s writings, he offers a revealing analysis of both his work and his life. For Brombert, Stendhal’s work is deeply personal; elsewhere, he has written about the myriad connections between Stendhal’s ironic inquiries into identity and his own boyhood in France on the brink of World War II. Proceeding via careful and nuanced readings of passages from Stendhal’s fiction and autobiography, Brombert pays particular attention to style, tone, and meaning. Paradoxically, Stendhal’s heroes often feel most free when in prison, and in a statement of stunning relevance for our contemporary world, Brombert contends that Stendhal is far clearer than any writer before him on the “crisis and contradictions of modern humanism that . . . render political freedom illusory.” Featuring a new introduction in which Brombert explores his earliest encounters with Stendhal—the beginnings of his “affair” during a year spent as a Fulbright scholar in Rome—Stendhal remains a spirited, elegant, and resonant account.


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What Editors Do

Fri, 06 Oct 2017 05:00:00 GMT

Editing is an invisible art where the very best work goes undetected. Editors strive to create books that are enlightening, seamless, and pleasurable to read, all while giving credit to the author. This makes it all the more difficult to truly understand the range of roles they inhabit while shepherding a project from concept to publication. In What Editors Do, Peter Ginna gathers essays from twenty-seven leading figures in book publishing about their work. Representing both large houses and small, and encompassing trade, textbook, academic, and children’s publishing, the contributors make the case for why editing remains a vital function to writers—and readers—everywhere. Ironically for an industry built on words, there has been a scarcity of written guidance on how to actually approach the work of editing. This book will serve as a compendium of professional advice and will be a resource both for those entering the profession (or already in it) and for those outside publishing who seek an understanding of it. It sheds light on how editors acquire books, what constitutes a strong author-editor relationship, and the editor’s vital role at each stage of the publishing process—a role that extends far beyond marking up the author’s text. This collection treats editing as both art and craft, and also as a career. It explores how editors balance passion against the economic realities of publishing. What Editors Do shows why, in the face of a rapidly changing publishing landscape, editors are more important than ever.


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Dissemination

Fri, 01 Sep 2017 05:00:00 GMT

"The English version of Dissemination [is] an able translation by Barbara Johnson . . . . Derrida's central contention is that language is haunted by dispersal, absence, loss, the risk of unmeaning, a risk which is starkly embodied in all writing. The distinction between philosophy and literature therefore becomes of secondary importance. Philosophy vainly attempts to control the irrecoverable dissemination of its own meaning, it strives—against the grain of language—to offer a sober revelation of truth. Literature—on the other hand—flaunts its own meretriciousness, abandons itself to the Dionysiac play of language. In Dissemination—more than any previous work—Derrida joins in the revelry, weaving a complex pattern of puns, verbal echoes and allusions, intended to 'deconstruct' both the pretension of criticism to tell the truth about literature, and the pretension of philosophy to the literature of truth."—Peter Dews, New Statesman


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Work of Mourning

Fri, 01 Sep 2017 05:00:00 GMT

Jacques Derrida is, in the words of the New York Times, "perhaps the world's most famous philosopher—if not the only famous philosopher." He often provokes controversy as soon as his name is mentioned. But he also inspires the respect that comes from an illustrious career, and, among many who were his colleagues and peers, he inspired friendship. The Work of Mourning is a collection that honors those friendships in the wake of passing. Gathered here are texts—letters of condolence, memorial essays, eulogies, funeral orations—written after the deaths of well-known figures: Roland Barthes, Paul de Man, Michel Foucault, Louis Althusser, Edmond Jabès, Louis Marin, Sarah Kofman, Gilles Deleuze, Emmanuel Levinas, Jean-François Lyotard, Max Loreau, Jean-Marie Benoist, Joseph Riddel, and Michel Servière. With his words, Derrida bears witness to the singularity of a friendship and to the absolute uniqueness of each relationship. In each case, he is acutely aware of the questions of tact, taste, and ethical responsibility involved in speaking of the dead—the risks of using the occasion for one's own purposes, political calculation, personal vendetta, and the expiation of guilt. More than a collection of memorial addresses, this volume sheds light not only on Derrida's relation to some of the most prominent French thinkers of the past quarter century but also on some of the most important themes of Derrida's entire oeuvre-mourning, the "gift of death," time, memory, and friendship itself. "In his rapt attention to his subjects' work and their influence upon him, the book also offers a hesitant and tangential retelling of Derrida's own life in French philosophical history. There are illuminating and playful anecdotes—how Lyotard led Derrida to begin using a word-processor; how Paul de Man talked knowledgeably of jazz with Derrida's son. Anyone who still thinks that Derrida is a facetious punster will find such resentful prejudice unable to survive a reading of this beautiful work."—Steven Poole, Guardian "Strikingly simpa meditations on friendship, on shared vocations and avocations and on philosophy and history."—Publishers Weekly


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Spurs

Fri, 01 Sep 2017 05:00:00 GMT

Nietzsche has recently enjoyed much scrutiny from the nouveaux critiques. Jacques Derrida, the leader of that movement, here combines in his strikingly original and incisive fashion questions of sexuality, politics, writing, judgment, procreation, death, and even the weather into a far-reaching analysis of the challenges bequeathed to the modern world by Nietzsche. Spurs, then, is aptly titled, for Derrida's "deconstructions" of Nietzsche's meanings will surely act as spurs to further thought and controversy. This dual-language edition offers the English-speaking reader who has some knowledge of French an opportunity to examine the stylistic virtuosity of Derrida's writing—of particular significance for his analysis of "the question of style."


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Given Time

Fri, 01 Sep 2017 05:00:00 GMT

Is giving possible? Is it possible to give without immediately entering into a circle of exchange that turns the gift into a debt to be returned? This question leads Jacques Derrida to make out an irresolvable paradox at what seems the most fundamental level of the gift's meaning: for the gift to be received as a gift, it must not appear as such, since its mere appearance as gift puts it in the cycle of repayment and debt.Derrida reads the relation of time to gift through a number of texts: Heidegger's Time and Being, Mauss's The Gift, as well as essays by Benveniste and Levi-Strauss that assume Mauss's legacy. It is, however, a short tale by Baudelaire, "Counterfeit Money," that guides Derrida's analyses throughout. At stake in his reading of the tale, to which the second half of this book is devoted, are the conditions of gift and forgiveness as essentially bound up with the movement of dissemination, a concept that Derrida has been working out for many years. For both readers of Baudelaire and students of literary theory, this work will prove indispensable.


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Writing and Difference

Fri, 25 Aug 2017 05:00:00 GMT

First published in 1967, Writing and Difference, a collection of Jacques Derrida's essays written between 1959 and 1966, has become a landmark of contemporary French thought. In it we find Derrida at work on his systematic deconstruction of Western metaphysics. The book's first half, which includes the celebrated essay on Descartes and Foucault, shows the development of Derrida's method of deconstruction. In these essays, Derrida demonstrates the traditional nature of some purportedly nontraditional currents of modern thought—one of his main targets being the way in which "structuralism" unwittingly repeats metaphysical concepts in its use of linguistic models. The second half of the book contains some of Derrida's most compelling analyses of why and how metaphysical thinking must exclude writing from its conception of language, finally showing metaphysics to be constituted by this exclusion. These essays on Artaud, Freud, Bataille, Hegel, and Lévi-Strauss have served as introductions to Derrida's notions of writing and différence—the untranslatable formulation of a nonmetaphysical "concept" that does not exclude writing—for almost a generation of students of literature, philosophy, and psychoanalysis. Writing and Difference reveals the unacknowledged program that makes thought itself possible. In analyzing the contradictions inherent in this program, Derrida goes on to develop new ways of thinking, reading, and writing,—new ways based on the most complete and rigorous understanding of the old ways. Scholars and students from all disciplines will find Writing and Difference an excellent introduction to perhaps the most challenging of contemporary French thinkers—challenging because Derrida questions thought as we know it.


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Gift of Death, Second Edition & Literature in Secret

Fri, 25 Aug 2017 05:00:00 GMT

The Gift of Death, Jacques Derrida’s most sustained consideration of religion, explores questions first introduced in his book Given Time about the limits of the rational and responsible that one reaches in granting or accepting death, whether by sacrifice, murder, execution, or suicide. Derrida analyzes Czech philosopher Jan Patocka’s Heretical Essays in the Philosophy of History and develops and compares his ideas to the works of Heidegger, Lévinas, and Kierkegaard. One of Derrida’s major works, The Gift of Death resonates with much of his earlier writing, and this highly anticipated second edition is greatly enhanced by David Wills’s updated translation. This new edition also features the first-ever English translation of Derrida’s Literature in Secret. In it, Derrida continues his discussion of the sacrifice of Isaac, which leads to bracing meditations on secrecy, forgiveness, literature, and democracy. He also offers a reading of Kafka’s Letter to His Father and uses the story of the flood in Genesis as an embarkation point for a consideration of divine sovereignty. “An important contribution to the critical study of ethics that commends itself to philosophers, social scientists, scholars of religion . . . [and those] made curious by the controversy that so often attends Derrida.”—Booklist, on the first edition


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Archive Fever

Fri, 25 Aug 2017 05:00:00 GMT

In Archive Fever, Jacques Derrida deftly guides us through an extended meditation on remembrance, religion, time, and technology—fruitfully occasioned by a deconstructive analysis of the notion of archiving. Intrigued by the evocative relationship between technologies of inscription and psychic processes, Derrida offers for the first time a major statement on the pervasive impact of electronic media, particularly e-mail, which threaten to transform the entire public and private space of humanity. Plying this rich material with characteristic virtuosity, Derrida constructs a synergistic reading of archives and archiving, both provocative and compelling."Judaic mythos, Freudian psychoanalysis, and e-mail all get fused into another staggeringly dense, brilliant slab of scholarship and suggestion."—The Guardian"[Derrida] convincingly argues that, although the archive is a public entity, it nevertheless is the repository of the private and personal, including even intimate details."—Choice"Beautifully written and clear."—Jeremy Barris, Philosophy in Review"Translator Prenowitz has managed valiantly to bring into English a difficult but inspiring text that relies on Greek, German, and their translations into French."—Library Journal


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What Do You Think, Mr. Ramirez?

Wed, 23 Aug 2017 05:00:00 GMT

Geoffrey Galt Harpham’s book takes its title from a telling anecdote. A few years ago Harpham met a Cuban immigrant on a college campus, who told of arriving, penniless and undocumented, in the 1960s and eventually earning a GED and making his way to a community college. In a literature course one day, the professor asked him, “Mr. Ramirez, what do you think?” The question, said Ramirez, changed his life because “it was the first time anyone had asked me that.” Realizing that his opinion had value set him on a course that led to his becoming a distinguished professor.             That, says Harpham, was the midcentury promise of American education, the deep current of commitment and aspiration that undergirded the educational system that was built in the postwar years, and is under extended assault today. The United States was founded, he argues, on the idea that interpreting its foundational documents was the highest calling of opinion, and for a brief moment at midcentury, the country turned to English teachers as the people best positioned to train students to thrive as interpreters—which is to say as citizens of a democracy. Tracing the roots of that belief in the humanities through American history, Harpham builds a strong case that, even in very different contemporary circumstances, the emphasis on social and cultural knowledge that animated the midcentury university is a resource that we can, and should, draw on today.  


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