This is a brief reply to Herbert A. Simon's fine paper ``Literary Criticism: A Cognitive Approach'', Stanford Humanties Review, Special Supplement (``Bridging the Gap'' Where Cognitive Science Meets Literary Criticism), vol. 4, no. 1, pp. 1-26, Spring 1994.
From its dissonant musics to its surrealist spectacles (the urinal is a violin!), Modernist art often seems to give more frustration than pleasure to its audience. In Untwisting the Serpent, Daniel Albright shows that this perception arises partly because we usually consider each art form in isolation, even though many of the most important artistic experiments of the Modernists were collaborations involving several media--Igor Stravinsky's The Rite of Spring is a ballet, Gertrude Stein's Four Saints in Three Acts is an (...) opera, and Pablo Picasso turned his cubist paintings into costumes for Parade. Focusing on collaborations with a musical component, Albright views these works as either figures of dissonance that try to retain the distinctness of their various media (e.g. Guillaume Apollinaire's Les Mamelles de Tiresias ) or figures of consonance that try to lose themselves in some total effect (e.g. Arnold Schoenberg's Erwartung ). In so doing he offers a fresh picture of Modernism, and provides a compelling model for the analysis of all artistic collaborations. Untwisting the Serpent is the recipient of the 2001 Susanne M. Glasscock Humanities Book Prize for Interdisciplinary Scholarship of the Center for Humanities Research at Texas A&M University. (shrink)
I discuss Dante’s understanding that human existence is “ordered by two final goals” and how this understanding defines philosophy’s and theology’s respective scopes of authority in guiding human conduct. I show that, while Dante devalues the philosophical authority associated with the traditional Aristotelian emphasis on the significance of contemplative activity, he does so in order to highlight philosophy’s ethico-political authority to guide human conduct toward its “earthly beatitude.” Moreover, I argue that, although Dante subordinates earthly beatitude to spiritual beatitude, he (...) nonetheless maintains that philosophy’s authority to reveal a path to spiritual beatitude requires its fundamental independence from theology. (shrink)
I discuss Dante’s understanding that human existence is “ordered by two final goals” and how, for Dante, this understanding defines philosophy’s and revelation’s respective scopes of authority in guiding human conduct. Specifically, I show that, although Dante subordinates our earthly beatitude to spiritual beatitude in a way that seems to suggest the subordination of the authority of philosophy to that of revelation, he in fact limits philosophy’s scope to an arena in which its authority is not only legitimate but also (...) crucial to the cultivation of the higher, spiritual beatitude of human activity. (shrink)
The study of identity crosses all disciplinary borders to address such issues as the multiple interactions of race, class, and gender in feminist, lesbian, and gay studies, postcolonialism and globalization, and the interrelation of nationalism and ethnicity in ethnic and area studies. Identities will help disrupt the cliche-ridden discourse of identity by exploring the formation of identities and problem of subjectivity. Leading scholars in literary criticism, anthropology, sociology, and philosophy explore such topics as "Gypsies" in the Western imagination, the mobilization (...) of the West in Chinese television, the lesbian identity and the woman's gaze in fashion photography, and the regulation of black women's bodies in early 20th-century urban areas. This collection of twenty articles brings together the special issue of Critical Inquiry entitled "Identities" (Summer 1992), two other previously published essays, and five previously published critical responses and rejoinders, all of which is interrogated in two new essays by Michael Gorra and Judith Butler. Contributors include Elizabeth Abel, Kwame Anthony Appiah, Akeel Bilgrami, Daniel Boyarin, Jonathan Boyarin, Judith Butler, Hazel V. Carby, Xiaomei Chen, Diana Fuss, Henry Louis Gates, Jr., Avery Gordon, Michael Gorra, Cheryl Herr, Saree S. Makdisi, Walter Benn Michaels, Christopher Newfield, Gananath Obeyesekere, Molly Anne Rothenberg, Gayatri Chakravorty Spivak, Sara Suleri, Katie Trumpener, and Joseph Valente. (shrink)
Incessantly cited by critics, Bakhtin's work none the less remains relatively unavailable: partly through lack of suitable editions, partly because no individual text conveys all the key concepts or arguments. This anthology provides in a convenient format a good selection of the writing by Bakhtin and of that attributed to Voloshinov and Medvedev. It introduces readers to the aspects most relevant to literary and cultural studies and gives a focused sense of Bakhtin's central ideas and the underlying cohesiveness of his (...) thinking. (shrink)
Widely recognized as the finest definition of existentialist Philosophy, this book introduced existentialism to America in 1958. Barrett discusses the views of 19th and 20th century existentialists Kierkegaard, Nietzsche, Heidegger, and Sartre and interprets the impact of their thinking on literature, art, and philosophy.
Charles Bernheimer described decadence as a "stimulant that bends thought out of shape, deforming traditional conceptual molds." In this posthumously published work, Bernheimer succeeds in making a critical concept out of this perennially fashionable, rarely understood term. Decadent Subjects is a coherent and moving picture of fin de siècle decadence. Mature, ironic, iconoclastic, and thoughtful, this remarkable collection of essays shows the contradictions of the phenomenon, which is both a condition and a state of mind. In seeking to show why (...) people have failed to give a satisfactory account of the term decadence, Bernheimer argues that we often mistakenly take decadence to represent something concrete, that we see as some sort of agent. His salutary response is to return to those authors and artists whose work constitutes the topos of decadence, rereading key late nineteenth-century authors such as Nietzsche, Zola, Hardy, Wilde, Moreau, and Freud to rediscover the very dynamics of the decadent. Through careful analysis of the literature, art, and music of the fin de siècle including a riveting discussion of the many faces of Salome, Bernheimer leaves us with a fascinating and multidimensional look at decadence, all the more important as we emerge from our own fin de siècle. (shrink)
Maurice Blanchot, the eminent literary and cultural critic, has had a vast influence on contemporary French writers—among them Jean Paul Sartre and Jacques Derrida. From the 1930s through the present day, his writings have been shaping the international literary consciousness. The Space of Literature , first published in France in 1955, is central to the development of Blanchot's thought. In it he reflects on literature and the unique demand it makes upon our attention. Thus he explores the process of reading (...) as well as the nature of artistic creativity, all the while considering the relation of the literary work to time, to history, and to death. This book consists not so much in the application of a critical method or the demonstration of a theory of literature as in a patiently deliberate meditation upon the literary experience, informed most notably by studies of Mallarme;, Kafka, Rilke, and Hölderlin. Blanchot's discussions of those writers are among the finest in any language. (shrink)
Take a strip of paper with 'once upon a time there'‚ written on one side and 'was a story that began'‚ on the other. Twisting the paper and joining the ends produces John Barth’s story Frame-Tale, which prefixes 'once upon a time there was a story that began'‚ to itself. I argue that the ability to understand this sentence cannot be explained by tacit knowledge of a recursive theory of truth in English.
From Romanticism to Critical Theory explores the philosophical roots of literary theory through the traditions of German philosophy that started with the Romantic reactions to Kant. Andrew Bowie traces the continuation of the Romantic tradition, culminating in Heidegger's approaches to art and truth, the work of Adorno and Benjamin and the Frankfurt School's Critical Theory.
Recently, a number of Anglo-American philosophers of very different sorts--pragmatists, metaphysicians, philosophers of language, philosophers of law, moral philosophers--have taken a reflective rather than merely recreational interest in literature. Does this literary turn mean that philosophy is coming to an end or merely down to earth? In this collection of essays, one of the most insightful of contemporary literary theorists investigates the intersection of literature and philosophy, analyzing the emerging preferences for practice over theory, particulars over universals, events over structures, (...) inhabitants over spectators, an ethics of responsibility over a morality of rules, and a desire for intimacy with the world instead of simply a disengaged knowledge of it. (shrink)
This article explores and defends some of f r leavis's ideas about the nature of reasoning in literary criticism. In particular, It examines leavis's contention that the validity of literary criticism does not wait upon a theoretical defence of its canons of judgments of standards. It aims to show that this eschewal of theoretical thought is rationally justifiable and that the form of reasoning leavis advocates for literary criticism has respectable parallels elsewhere, Not least in philosophy itself. Throughout, Reference is (...) made to the work of wittgenstein and john wisdom for elucidation and justification of leavis's point of view. (shrink)
The question of modernity has provoked a vigorous debate in the work of thinkers from Hegel to Habermas. Our own self-styled postmodern age has seen no end to this debate, which now receives a major and wide-ranging intervention from the theorist and critic Anthony J. Cascardi. Offering an historical account of the origins and transformations of the rational subject or self as it is represented in Descartes, Cervantes, Pascal, Hobbes and the Don Juan myth, he carries his argument across the (...) fields of epistemology, literature, political science, religion and psychology. The modern subject proves to be positioned within conflicting discourses, in a culture characterised by its 'detotalised totality'. Max Weber's concept of 'world disenchantment' enables Cascardi to make a searching critique of modernity's sense of its absoluteness, divorced from an archaic, 'enchanted' world. He advocates in its place a more fruitful relationship between historical analysis and theoretical speculation, offering constructive new alternatives to current orthodoxy regarding subjectivity and modernity. (shrink)
Cefalu offers the first sustained assessment of the ways in which recent contemporary philosophy and cultural theory -- including the work of Giorgio Agamben, Alain Badiou, Eric Santner, Slavoj Žižek, and Alenka Zupancic -- can illuminate Early Modern literature and culture. The book argues that when selected Early Modern devotional poets set out to represent subject-God relations, they often encounter some sublime aspect of God that, in Slovenian-Lacanian terms, seems "Other" to himself. This divine Other, while sometimes presented directly as (...) a void or empty place, is more often filled in and presented instead as some form of divine excess. While Donne, and to a lesser extent Traherne, disavow those numinous aspects of God that might subsist beneath such excesses, Crashaw, and especially Milton, attempt to represent the intimate relationship between any creature’s and God's intrinsic alterity. Cefalu introduces new ways of theorizing not only seventeenth-century religious ideologies, but also the nature of Early Modern subjectivity. (shrink)
Introduction: Laughter as an expression of human nature in the Middle Ages and the early modern period: literary, historical, theological, philosophical, and psychological reflections -- Judith Hagen. Laughter in Procopius's wars -- Livnat Holtzman. "Does God really laugh?": appropriate and inappropriate descriptions of God in Islamic traditionalist theology -- Daniel F. Pigg. Laughter in Beowulf: ambiguity, ambivalence, and group identity formation -- Mark Burde. The parodia sacra problem and medieval comic studies -- Olga V. Trokhimenko. Women's laughter and gender politics (...) in medieval conduct discourse -- Madelon Köhler-Busch. Pushing decorum: uneasy laughter in Heinrich von Dem Türlîn's Diu crône -- Connie L. Scarborough. Laughter and the comic in a religious text -- John Sewell. The son rebelled and so the father made man alone: ridicule and boundary maintenance in The Nizzahon vetus -- Birgit Wiedl. Laughing at the beast: the judensau: anti-Jewish propaganda and humor from the Middle Ages to the early modern period -- Fabian Alfie. Yes . . . but was it funny? Cecco Angiolieri, Rustico Filippi and Giovanni Boccaccio -- Nicolino Applauso. Curses and laughter in medieval Italian comic poetry -- Feargal Béarra. Tromdhámh guaire: a context for laughter and audience in early modern Ireland -- Jean E. Jost. Humorous transgression in the non-conformist fabliaux: a Bakhtinian analysis of three comic tales -- Gretchen Mieszkowski. Chaucerian comedy: Troilus and Criseyde -- Sarah Gordon. Laughing and eating in the fabliaux -- Christine Bousquet-Labouérie. Laughter and medieval stalls -- Scott L. Taylor. Esoteric humor and the incommensurability of laughter -- Jean N. Goodrich. The function of laughter in The second shepherds' play -- Albrecht Classen. Laughing in late-medieval verse and prose narratives -- Rosa Alvarez perez. The workings of desire: Panurge and the dogs -- Elizabeth Chesney Zegura. Laughing out loud in the Heptaméron: a reassessment of Marguerite de Navarre's ambivalent humor -- Lia B. Ross. You had to be there: the elusive humor of the Sottie -- Kyle Diroberto. Sacred parody in Robert Greene's Groatsworth of wit -- Martha Moffitt Peacock. The comedy of the shrew: theorizing humor in early modern Netherlandish art -- Jessica Tvordi. The comic personas of Milton's Prolusion VI: negotiating masculine identity through self-directed humor -- John Alexander. Ridentum dicere verum (using laughter to speak the truth): laughter and the language of the early modern clown "pickelhering" in German literature of the late seventeenth century (1675-1700) -- Thomas Willard. Andreae's ludibrium: Menippean satire in The chymische hochzeit -- Diane Rudall. The comic power of illusion-allusion -- Allison P. Coudert. Laughing at credulity and superstition in the long eighteenth century. (shrink)