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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: Sat, 17 Feb 2018 06:00:00 GMT

 



On Life, Death, and This and That of the Rest

Thu, 15 Feb 2018 06:00:00 GMT

The Lectures on Poetics Series at the University of Frankfurt VI has hosted many illustrious speakers at its lectern, including Ingeborg Bachmann, Theodor Adorno, and Heinrich Böll. At the beginning of 2007, Urs Widmer—described by the Independent as “one of the living greats of Swiss literature”—spoke to more than twelve hundred students and enthusiasts, sharing the sum of his understandings of poets and their timeless creations.In On Life, Death, and This and That of the Rest, English language readers will gain access to Widmer’s historic talks for the first time through Donal McLaughlin’s excellent translation. Here, Widmer imparts his views on the poet as deviant and as sufferer, and as the conduit for the dream of singing to the imagination in the nameless voice of the people. Here, one of our finest living writers shares his experience of life as an author and as a devotee of the printed word with a new and enthusiastic readership.


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Fascism and Modernist Literature in Norway

Thu, 15 Feb 2018 06:00:00 GMT

This book illuminates the convergence of literature and politics in interwar Norway by focusing on Nobel laureate Knut Hamsun and poets Åsmund Sveen and Rolf Jacobsen—all of whom collaborated with the Nazi occupiers—alongside anti-fascist writer Sigurd Hoel. Dean Krouk shows that for Hamsun, Sveen, and Jacobsen, fascism played into their countercultural leanings and discontent with modernity. In contrast, Hoel’s opposition to Nazism grew into a wider anti-authoritarian inquiry. Krouk’s book is a timely reminder of the perennial value of clear-eyed intellectual practice in the face of fascism.


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Posthuman Gothic

Thu, 15 Feb 2018 06:00:00 GMT

An edited collection of thirteen chapters, Posthuman Gothic explores the various ways in which posthuman thought intersects with Gothic textuality and mediality. The texts and media under discussion—from I am Legend to In the Flesh; from Star Trek to The Truman Show—transgress the boundaries of genre and move beyond the traditional scope of the Gothic. These texts, the contributors argue, destabilize our conception of what it means to be human. Drawing on key texts of both Gothic and posthumanist theory, the contributors analyze varied themes: posthuman vampire and zombie narratives; genetically modified posthumans; the posthuman in video games, film, and television; the posthuman as a return to nature; the posthuman’s relation to classic monster narratives; and posthuman biohorror and theories of prometheanism and accelerationism. In its entirety, this book is the first attempt to address the complex intersections of the posthuman and the Gothic in contemporary literature and media.  


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Engagement in Twenty-First-Century French and Francophone Culture

Thu, 15 Feb 2018 06:00:00 GMT

Composed of eleven essays and a contextualizing introduction, Engagement in 21st Century French and Francophone Culture reassesses the relationships between different types of cultural production and society as they play out in the twenty-first century. Together, the contributors demonstrate how French and Francophone writers, artists, intellectuals, and filmmakers have used their work to confront unforeseen and unprecedented challenges in a politically uncertain post-9/11 world. With a focus on both the development of different cultural forms and on the particular crises that have attracted the attention of cultural practitioners, this volume maps and analyzes the ways in which cultural texts of all kinds are being used to respond to, engage with, and challenge crises in the contemporary Francophone world.  


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Fonte Gaia from Renaissance to Modern Times

Thu, 15 Feb 2018 06:00:00 GMT

This book details the history of the beautiful Fonte Gaia in Siena, Italy. Created in the fifteenth century, the fountain was eventually replaced by a copy in the nineteenth century—a copy which itself is now old enough to need preservation. This book looks at the Italian Renaissance through the fate of the fountain, showing how both the Risorgimento and Purism have shaped our perceptions of the period and its art.  


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Image Science

Tue, 30 Jan 2018 06:00:00 GMT

Almost thirty years ago, W. J. T. Mitchell’s Iconology helped launch the interdisciplinary study of visual media, now a central feature of the humanities. Along with his subsequent Picture Theory and What Do Pictures Want?, Mitchell’s now-classic work introduced such ideas as the pictorial turn, the image/picture distinction, the metapicture, and the biopicture. These key concepts imply an approach to images as true objects of investigation—an “image science.” Continuing with this influential line of thought, Image Science gathers Mitchell’s most recent essays on media aesthetics, visual culture, and artistic symbolism. The chapters delve into such topics as the physics and biology of images, digital photography and realism, architecture and new media, and the occupation of space in contemporary popular uprisings. The book looks both backward at the emergence of iconology as a field and forward toward what might be possible if image science can indeed approach pictures the same way that empirical sciences approach natural phenomena. Essential for those involved with any aspect of visual media, Image Science is a brilliant call for a method of studying images that overcomes the “two-culture split” between the natural and human sciences.


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Alice in Space

Fri, 26 Jan 2018 06:00:00 GMT

In Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland and Through the Looking-Glass, Lewis Carroll created fantastic worlds that continue to delight and trouble readers of all ages today. Few consider, however, that Carroll conceived his Alice books during the 1860s, a moment of intense intellectual upheaval, as new scientific, linguistic, educational, and mathematical ideas flourished around him and far beyond. Alice in Space reveals the contexts within which the Alice books first lived, bringing back the zest to jokes lost over time and poignancy to hidden references. Gillian Beer explores Carroll’s work through the speculative gaze of Alice, for whom no authority is unquestioned and everything can speak. Parody and Punch, evolutionary debates, philosophical dialogues, educational works for children, math and logic, manners and rituals, dream theory and childhood studies—all fueled the fireworks. While much has been written about Carroll’s biography and his influence on children’s literature, Beer convincingly shows him at play in the spaces of Victorian cultural and intellectual life, drawing on then-current controversies, reading prodigiously across many fields, and writing on multiple levels to please both children and adults in different ways. With a welcome combination of learning and lightness, Beer reminds us that Carroll’s books are essentially about curiosity, its risks and pleasures. Along the way, Alice in Space shares Alice’s exceptional ability to spark curiosity in us, too.


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Interacting with Print

Fri, 26 Jan 2018 06:00:00 GMT

A thorough rethinking of a field deserves to take a shape that is in itself new. Interacting with Print delivers on this premise, reworking the history of print through a unique effort in authorial collaboration. The book itself is not a typical monograph—rather, it is a “multigraph,” the collective work of twenty-two scholars who together have assembled an alphabetically arranged tour of key concepts for the study of print culture, from Anthologies and Binding to Publicity and Taste. Each entry builds on its term in order to resituate print and book history within a broader media ecology throughout the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries. The central theme is interactivity, in three senses: people interacting with print; print interacting with the non-print media that it has long been thought, erroneously, to have displaced; and people interacting with each other through print. The resulting book will introduce new energy to the field of print studies and lead to considerable new avenues of investigation.  


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Edge of Irony

Fri, 26 Jan 2018 06:00:00 GMT

Among the brilliant writers and thinkers who emerged from the multicultural and multilingual world of the Austro-Hungarian Empire were Joseph Roth, Robert Musil, and Ludwig Wittgenstein. For them, the trauma of World War I included the sudden loss of the geographical entity into which they had been born: in 1918, the empire was dissolved overnight, leaving Austria a small, fragile republic that would last only twenty years before being annexed by Hitler’s Third Reich. In this major reconsideration of European modernism, Marjorie Perloff identifies and explores the aesthetic world that emerged from the rubble of Vienna and other former Habsburg territories—an “Austro-Modernism” that produced a major body of drama, fiction, poetry, and autobiography. Perloff explores works ranging from Karl Kraus’s drama The Last Days of Mankind and Elias Canetti’s memoir The Tongue Set Free to Ludwig Wittgenstein’s notebooks and Paul Celan’s lyric poetry. Throughout, she shows that Austro-Modernist literature is characterized less by the formal and technical inventions of a modernism familiar to us in the work of  Joyce and Pound, Dada and Futurism, than by a radical irony beneath a seemingly conventional surface, an acute sense of exile, and a sensibility more erotic and quixotic than that of its German contemporaries. Skeptical and disillusioned, Austro-Modernism prefers to ask questions rather than formulate answers.


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Telling It Like It Wasn’t

Wed, 24 Jan 2018 06:00:00 GMT

Inventing counterfactual histories is a common pastime of modern day historians, both amateur and professional. We speculate about an America ruled by Jefferson Davis, a Europe that never threw off Hitler, or a second term for JFK. These narratives are often written off as politically inspired fantasy or as pop culture fodder, but in Telling It Like It Wasn’t, Catherine Gallagher takes the history of counterfactual history seriously, pinning it down as an object of dispassionate study. She doesn’t take a moral or normative stand on the practice, but focuses her attention on how it works and to what ends—a quest that takes readers on a fascinating tour of literary and historical criticism. Gallagher locates the origins of contemporary counterfactual history in eighteenth-century Europe, where the idea of other possible historical worlds first took hold in philosophical disputes about Providence before being repurposed by military theorists as a tool for improving the art of war. In the next century, counterfactualism became a legal device for deciding liability, and lengthy alternate-history fictions appeared, illustrating struggles for historical justice. These early motivations—for philosophical understanding, military improvement, and historical justice—are still evident today in our fondness for counterfactual tales. Alternate histories of the Civil War and WWII abound, but here, Gallagher shows how the counterfactual habit of replaying the recent past often shapes our understanding of the actual events themselves. The counterfactual mode lets us continue to envision our future by reconsidering the range of previous alternatives. Throughout this engaging and eye-opening book, Gallagher encourages readers to ask important questions about our obsession with counterfactual history and the roots of our tendency to ask “What if…?”


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Transmedium

Thu, 18 Jan 2018 06:00:00 GMT

If you attend a contemporary art exhibition today, you’re unlikely to see much traditional painting or sculpture. Indeed, artists today are preoccupied with what happens when you leave behind assumptions about particular media—such as painting, or woodcuts—and instead focus on collisions between them, and the new forms and ideas that those collisions generate.   Garrett Stewart in Transmedium dubs this new approach Conceptualism 2.0, an allusion in part to the computer images that are so often addressed by these works. A successor to 1960s Conceptualism, which posited that a material medium was unnecessary to the making of art, Conceptualism 2.0 features artworks that are transmedial, that place the aesthetic experience itself deliberately at the boundary between often incommensurable media. The result, Stewart shows, is art whose forced convergences break open new possibilities that are wholly surprising, intellectually enlightening, and often uncanny.  


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Senses of Style

Fri, 12 Jan 2018 06:00:00 GMT

In an age of interpretation, style eludes criticism. Yet it does so much tacit work: telling time, telling us apart, telling us who we are. What does style have to do with form, history, meaning, our moment’s favored categories? What do we miss when we look right through it? Senses of Style essays an answer. An experiment in criticism, crossing four hundred years and composed of nearly four hundred brief, aphoristic remarks, it is a book of theory steeped in examples, drawn from the works and lives of two men: Sir Thomas Wyatt, poet and diplomat in the court of Henry VIII, and his admirer Frank O’Hara, the midcentury American poet, curator, and boulevardier. Starting with puzzle of why Wyatt’s work spoke so powerfully to O’Hara across the centuries, Jeff Dolven ultimately explains what we talk about when we talk about style, whether in the sixteenth century, the twentieth, or the twenty-first.


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Taste

Fri, 15 Dec 2017 06:00:00 GMT

Our taste buds are a powerful way for humans to know beauty and experience beautiful things. In Taste, Italian philosopher Giorgio Agamben takes a close look at why the sense of taste has not historically been appreciated as a means to know and experience pleasure or why it has always been considered inferior to actual theoretical knowledge.  Taste, Agamben argues, is a category that has much to reveal to the contemporary world. Taking a step into the history of philosophy and reaching to the very origins of aesthetics, Agamben critically recovers the roots of one of Western culture’s cardinal concepts. Agamben is the rare writer whose ideas and works have a broad appeal across many fields, and with Taste he turns his critical eye to the realm of Western art and aesthetic practice. This volume will not only engage the author’s devoted fans in philosophy, sociology, and literary criticism, but also his growing audience among art theorists and historians.  


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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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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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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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