Numinous spaces in British literature from William Wordsworth to Samuel Beckett -- Jesus figures in American literature from Ralph Waldo Emerson to Edward Albee -- Using Bakhtin's definitions to discover ethical voices in Solzhenitsyn and Tolstoy -- René Girard's categories of scapegoats in literature of the American South -- Hopkins's metaphysics of nature as sacred disclosure -- The book of job as mirrored in Hopkins's metaphysics -- Beckett's mythos of the absence of God.
This book examines the complex and varied ways in which fictions relate to the real world, and offers a precise account of how imaginative works of literature can use fictional content to explore matters of universal human interest. While rejecting the traditional view that literature is important for the truths that it imparts, the authors also reject attempts to cut literature off altogether from real human concerns. Their detailed account of fictionality, mimesis, and cognitive value, founded on (...) the methods of analytical philosophy, restores to literature its distinctive status among cultural practices. The authors also explore metaphysical and skeptical views, prevalent in modern thought, according to which the world itself is a kind of fiction, and truth no more than a social construct. They identify different conceptions of fiction in science, logic, epistemology, and make-believe, and thereby challenge the idea that discourse per se is fictional and that different modes of discourse are at root indistinguishable. They offer rigorous analyses of the roles of narrative, imagination, metaphor, and "making" in human thought processes. Both in their methods and in their conclusions, Lamarque and Olsen aim to restore rigor and clarity to debates about the values of literature, and to provide new, philosophically sound foundations for a genuine change of direction in literary theorizing. (shrink)
This paper examines the complexity and fluidity of maternal identity through an examination of narratives about "real motherhood" found in children's literature. Focusing on the multiplicity of mothers in adoption, I question standard views of maternity in which gestational, genetic and social mothering all coincide in a single person. The shortcomings of traditional notions of motherhood are overcome by developing a fluid and inclusive conception of maternal reality as authored by a child's own perceptions.
Figuring Animals is a collection of fifteen essays concerning the representation of animals in literature, the visual arts, philosophy, and cultural practice. At the turn of the new century, it is helpful to reconsider our inherited understandings of the species, some of which are still useful to us. It is also important to look ahead to new understandings and new dialogue, which may contribute to the survival of us all. The contributors to this volume participate in this dialogue in (...) a variety of ways--through personal experience, natural history, cultural studies, philosophical inquiry, art history, literary analysis, film studies, and theoretical imagining, and through a combination of these trains of thought. The essays expose weaknesses in western epistemological frames of reference that for centuries have limited our views and, thus, our experiences of animal being, including our own. (shrink)
The book is about three things. First, how Ancient thinkers perceived humans as like or unlike other animals; second about the justification for taking a humane attitude towards natural things; and third about how moral claims count as true, and how they can be discovered or acquired. Was Aristotle was right to see continuity in the psychological functions of animal and human souls? The question cannot be settled without taking a moral stance. As we can either focus on continuity or (...) on discontinuities, how should natural science draw the boundaries? Moral agents act and react in a world that they see under a certain description, and there is no value free science that can settle what is the correct description. This book asks us to think about where moral justification could come from, and suggests that the supposed ‘moral status’ of the object cannot provide the answer. For the moral status of the object is a product of our own imagination, and once we see that, we also see that there remains the question where we ought to have the will to see it. Furthermore, since the perception of moral truth involves the development of imagination and will, the means to attain it will be better served by engagement with poetry and literature than with enquiries that seek to exclude the engagement of the imagination, or any appeal to the beauty of nature or the love of one's fellow creatures. (shrink)
Machine generated contents note: Acknowledgments; Introduction: scales of identification; 1. Democratic expansionism, gothic geographies, and Charles Brockden Brown; 2. Urban apartments, global cities: the enlargement of private space in Poe and James; 3. Cultural orphans: domesticity, missionaries, and China from Stowe to Sui Sin Far; 4. 'The Checkered Globe': cosmopolitan despair in the American Pacific; 5. Literature and regional production; Epilogue: scales of resistance.
The term “virtual reality” was first coined by Antonin Artaud to describe a value-adding characteristic of certain types of theatrical performances. The expression has more recently come to refer to a broad range of incipient digital technologies that many current philosophers regard as a serious threat to human autonomy and well-being. Their concerns, which are formulated most succinctly in “brain in a vat”-type thought experiments and in Robert Nozick's famous “experience machine” argument, reflect a fundamental misunderstanding of the way (...) that such technologies would probably have to work. They also considerably underestimate the positive contributions that virtual reality (VR) technologies could make to the growth of human knowledge. Here, we examine and critique Nozick's claim that no reasonable person would want to plug into his hypothetical experience machine in light of a broadly enactivist understanding of how future VR technologies might be expected to function. We then sketch out a tentative theory of the phenomenon of truth in fiction, in order to characterize some of the distinct epistemic opportunities that VR technologies promise to provide. (shrink)
German classicist's monumental study of the origins of European thought in Greek literature and philosophy. Brilliant, widely influential. Includes "Homer's View of Man," "The Olympian Gods," "The Rise of the Individual in the Early Greek Lyric," "Pindar's Hymn to Zeus," "Myth and Reality in Greek Tragedy," and "Aristophanes and Aesthetic Criticism.".
The 2001 terrorist attacks on USAmarked a crucial moment in the debates referring to the provocations of the new millennium, concerning the rapport between civilizations. The characterization of our time as « the age of terror » reflects more than a rapport “barbarism” - “civilization”, “culture” - “inculture”, “sacred” - “lay”, a clash of ethic and religious fundamentalisms. Literally analyses, born from the ashes of the twin towers, were and are confined to look at the rapport between the Occidental and (...) the Oriental world as one between two incompatible cultures. Their meeting, in the postcolonial and deteritorialisation epoch, is seen as one exclusively violent. But literature offers another battle field, one that proves that beyond our crushing world people, no matter what their culture is, are living the same anguishes of the meeting with the Other and feel the same threats of difference. The literary perspective, by sublimating reality, offers a fresh image of the man at the beginning of the new millennium and the enantiomorphic clash between fundamentalisms. The disease of our times, denounced by the 9/11 texts, is malign and is called over-simplification. (shrink)
Robert Abrams argues that new concepts of space and landscape emerged in mid-nineteenth-century American writing, marking a linguistic and interpretative limit to American expansion. Abrams supports the radical elements of antebellum writing, where writers from Hawthorne to Rebecca Harding Davis disputed the naturalizing discourses of mid-nineteenth century society. Whereas previous critics find in antebellum writing a desire to convert chaos into an affirmative, liberal agenda, Abrams contends that authors of the 1840s and 50s deconstructed more than they constructed.
While individuals presented in central texts of the period are indeed often alone or separated from others, Yousef regards this isolation as a problem the texts attempt to illuminate, rather than a condition they construct as normative or ...
This paper discusses the background in reality of the Heroikos (Dialogue concerning Heroes), which is ascribed to Philostratus of Athens, and is mainly devoted to the hero Protesilaos. After a summary of the work, the paper considers it from four aspects. The time of writing falls after 217 (the second victory at Olympia of the athlete Helix of Phoenicia); there may be a reference to events in Thessaly under the emperor Alexander Severus (222-235). If the author is the well-known (...) Philostratus, then such a date also implies a dramatic date in the author¿s own time. This is corroborated by two series of references which appear to run from the comparatively recent past to the present. One of these concerns bones of heroes, while the other concerns athletes to whom the hero Protesilaos had given advice in the form of oracles. The geographical setting of the dialogue is Elaious in the Thracian Chersonese. The evidence for the cult of Protesilaos on the territory of Elaious comes from literature, notably Herodotus, from coins of the time of Commodus, and from modern observations, notably a vivid account given by Heinrich Schliemann. While Philostratus¿ description of the cult-place at Elaious appears very accurate, his account of the Island of Achilles in the Pontus is less so. Finally, the paper considers the Heroikos in the context of contemporary belief about heroes and their powers. Another work probably by the same author, the Life of Apollonius of Tyana, is adduced to assess the credulity of readers in Philostratus¿ time and later. Documents and literature of the imperial period show that even dead contemporaries could be regarded as heroes, who were still influential even from beyond the grave. The references to Protesilaos in literature (Pausanias, Lucian) strongly suggest that he was regarded as issuing oracles in the form of dreams, and this too accords with beliefs about heroes both in the Hellenistic period and in the Roman. (shrink)
Applying ideas drawn from contemporary critical theory, this book historicizes psychoanalysis through a new and significant theorization of the Gothic. The central premise is that the nineteenth-century Gothic produced a radical critique of accounts of sublimity and Freudian psychoanalysis. This book makes a major contribution to an understanding of both the nineteenth century and the Gothic discourse which challenged the dominant ideas of that period. Writers explored include Mary Shelley, Edgar Allan Poe, Robert Louis Stevenson, and Bram Stoker.
Introduction -- The muse of paralysis -- Horizon of conquest: Eugene Fromentin's Algerian narratives -- Slow progress: Jean Paulhan and Madagascar -- Frustration: Michel Leiris -- Atopia: Roland Barthes -- The wake of Ulysses.
In this study, Alan Paskow first asks why fictional characters, such as Hamlet and Anna Karenina, matter to us and how they emotionally affect us. He then applies these questions to painting, demonstrating that certain paintings beckon us to view their contents as real. What we visualise in paintings, he argues, is not simply in our heads but in our world. No one would assert that the paintings themselves are in our heads; nor would anyone deny that they are in (...) our world. Paskow also situates the phenomenological approach to the experience of painting in relation to contemporary schools of thought, particularly Marxist, feminist, and deconstructionist. (shrink)
This essay analyzes the representations of time and memory in Holocaust literature through a comparative study of Charlotte Delbo’s memoir Days and Memory and Ida Fink’s three stories “A Scrap of Time,” “A Second Scrap of Time,” and “Traces.” Although both the writers make use of time and memory to represent the Holocaust, their ways of representation vary significantly. Memory and time are used in Delbo to show the timelessness in complex layers of memory and to recreate a (...) class='Hi'>reality through inventive narrative style. Whereas, in Fink, they are used to delineate the scraps of time in the ruins of memory and to create a tragic domestic reality through conventional narrativity. Moreover, this essay cautions against the danger of misrepresentation of memory as “amnesia,” often represented in the canonical postmodernist views of memory. (shrink)
Media attention to retracted research suggests that a substantial number of papers are corrupted by misinformation. In reality, every paper contains misinformation; at issue is whether the balance of correct versus incorrect information is acceptable. This paper postulates that analysis of retracted research papers can provide insight into medical misinformation, although retracted papers are not a random sample of incorrect papers. Error is the most common reason for retraction and error may be the principal cause of misinformation as well. (...) Still, one-quarter of retracted papers are fraudulent, and misinformation may also arise through fraud. This paper hypothesises that error and fraud are the main sources of misinformation and that error is more common than fraud. Retraction removes misinformation from the literature; bias is non-retracted misinformation. Bias arises when scientific impropriety results in false research findings. Impropriety can involve experimental design, data collection, data analysis, or data presentation. Yet impropriety also arises through earnest error or statistical naiveté; not all bias is fraud. Several measures are proposed to minimise misinformation in the medical literature, including: greater detail in the clinical trial registry, with rigorous definition of inclusion and exclusion criteria and primary endpoints; clear statistical criteria for every aspect of clinical trials, especially sample size; responsibility for data integrity that accrues to all named authors; increased transparency as to how the costs of research were paid; and greater clarity as to the reasons for retraction. Misinformation can arise without malicious intent; authors of incorrect papers are owed a presumption of incompetence, not malice. (shrink)