by Elizabeth Abel
About the book: Signs of the Times traces the career of Jim Crow signs—simplified in cultural memory to the “colored/white” labels that demarcated the public spaces of the American South—from their intellectual and political origins in the second half of the nineteenth century through their dismantling by civil rights activists in the 1960s and ’70s. In this beautifully written, meticulously researched book, Elizabeth Abel assembles a variegated archive of segregation signs and photographs that translated a set of regional practices into a national conversation about race. Abel also brilliantly investigates the semiotic system through which segregation worked to reveal how the signs functioned in particular spaces and contexts that shifted the grounds of race from the somatic to the social sphere.
by Charles Altieri
About the book: Written by a leading critic, this invigorating introduction to modernist American poetry conveys the excitement that can be generated by a careful reading of modernist poems. Encourages readers to identify with the modernists’ sense of the revolutionary possibilities of their art. Embraces four generations of modernist American poets up through to the 1980s. Gives readers a sense of the ambitions, the disillusionments and the continuities of modernist poetry. Includes close readings of particular poems which show how readers can use these works to connect with what concerns them.
by Charles Altieri
About the book: Charles Altieri, one of our foremost analysts of modernism, has in his recent work argued for the importance of the affects, which philosophy has too long subordinated to cognition and ethics. In Wallace Stevens and the Demands of Modernity, Altieri focuses his attention on modernist poetry, especially that of Wallace Stevens. He argues that critics have failed to appreciate the degree to which modernist poetry, like modernist art, breaks from the epistemology that arose from cultures of empiricism. If we recognize the limits of that authority we can also recognize the close positive affinities between how we feel and how we value.Nineteenth-century writing wanted to build values out of ways of looking at what could be established as fact. Early modernist poetry, particularly that of Stevens and Pound, labors to adapt Nietzschean attitudes toward poetry. Then Stevens embarked on an imaginative journey to find in linguistic activity itself a sufficient model for how we compose values. In both stages of his career facts must be respected, but they will not bear values simply by virtue of their connectedness to the world. We have to understand the constructive power taking place on intimate levels as we pursue that connectedness. Stevens matters, Altieri argues, because of the range and depth and intelligence by which he explores what such connectedness might involve. Stevens offers elaborate and moving experiments exploring how imaginative writing can help human beings grapple with questions about values that are at the very heart of our common experience.
by Charles Altieri
About the book: Much current theorizing about literature involves efforts to renew our sense of aesthetic values in reading. Such is the case with new formalism as well as recent appeals to the notion of “surface reading.” While sympathetic to these efforts, Charles Altieri believes they ultimately fall short because too often they fail to account for the values that engage literary texts in the social world. In Reckoning with the Imagination, Altieri argues for a reconsideration of the Kantian tradition of Idealist ethics, which he believes can restore much of the power of the arguments for the role of aesthetics in art. Altieri finds a perspective for that restoration in a reading of Wittgenstein’s later work that stresses Wittgenstein’s parallel criticisms of the spirit of empiricism. Altieri begins by offering a phenomenology of imagination, because we cannot fully honor art if we do not link it to a distinctive, socially productive force. That force emerges in two quite different but equally powerful realizations in his reading of John Ashbery’s “Instruction Manual,” which explicitly establishes a model for a postromantic view of imagination, and William Butler Yeats’s “Leda and the Swan.” He then turns to Wittgenstein with chapters on the role of display as critique of Enlightenment thinking, the honoring of qualities like sensitivity and the ability to attune to the actions of others, the role of expression in the building of models, and the contrast between ethical and confessional modes of judgment. Finally, Altieri produces his own model of aesthetic experience as participatory valuation and makes an extended argument for the social significance of appreciation as a way to escape the patterns of resentment fundamental to our current mode of politics. A masterful work by one of our foremost literary and philosophical theorists, Reckoning with the Imagination will breathe new life into ongoing debates over the value of aesthetic experience.
by Joel B. Altman
About the book: Shakespeare’s dramatis personae exist in a world of supposition, struggling to connect knowledge that cannot be had, judgments that must be made, and actions that need to be taken. For them, probability—what they and others might be persuaded to believe—governs human affairs, not certainty. Yet negotiating the space of probability is fraught with difficulty. Here, Joel B. Altman explores the problematics of probability and the psychology of persuasion in Renaissance rhetoric and Shakespeare’s theater.Focusing on the Tragedy of Othello, Altman investigates Shakespeare’s representation of the self as a specific realization of tensions pervading the rhetorical culture in which he was educated and practiced his craft. In Altman’s account, Shakespeare also restrains and energizes his audiences’ probabilizing capacities, alternately playing the skeptical critic and dramaturgic trickster. A monumental work of scholarship by one of America’s most respected scholars of Renaissance literature, The Improbability of Othello contributes fresh ideas to our understanding of Shakespeare’s conception of the self, his shaping of audience response, and the relationship of actors to his texts.
by Oliver Arnold
About the book: The new practices and theories of parliamentary representation that emerged during Elizabeth's and James' reigns shattered the unity of human agency, redefined the nature of power, transformed the image of the body politic, and unsettled constructs and concepts as fundamental as the relation between presence and absence. In The Third Citizen, Oliver Arnold argues that recovering the formation of political representation as an effective ideology should radically change our understanding of early modern political culture, Shakespeare's political art, and the way Anglo-American critics, for whom representative democracy is second nature, construe both. In magisterial readings of Titus Andronicus, Julius Caesar, Coriolanus, and the First Tetralogy, Arnold discovers a new Shakespeare who was neither a conservative apologist for monarchy nor a prescient, liberal champion of the House of Commons but instead a radical thinker and artist who demystified the ideology of political representation in the moment of its first flowering. Shakespeare believed that political representation produced (and required for its reproduction) a new kind of subject and a new kind of subjectivity, and he fashioned a new kind of tragedy to represent the loss of power, the fall from dignity, the false consciousness, and the grief peculiar to the experiences of representing and of being represented. Representationalism and its subject mark the beginning of political modernity; Shakespeare’s tragedies greet political representationalism with skepticism, bleakness, and despair.
by William Shakespeare,Oliver O. Arnold
About the book: Handsomely produced and affordably priced, Julius Caesar, A Longman Cultural Edition presents this classic work in provocative and illuminating contexts-cultural, critical, and literary.
by Fry, Russell and the Epistemology of Modernism THE PHANTOM TABLE: WOOLF, FRY, RUSSELL AND THE EPISTEMOLOGY OF MODERNISM by Banfield, Ann (Author) on Dec-01-2006 Paperback The Phantom Table: Woolf
About the book: This study is a major reappraisal of Virginia Woolf's relationship to Bloomsbury and the aesthetic and philosophical developments of her time. Through extensive archival research, Ann Banfield offers the first full analysis of Woolf's engagement with the theories of a remarkable trinity of thinkers: G. E. Moore, Bertrand Russell, and Roger Fry.
by Stephen M. Best
About the book: In this study of literature and law before and since the Civil War, Stephen M. Best shows how American conceptions of slavery, property, and the idea of the fugitive were profoundly interconnected. The Fugitive's Properties uncovers a poetics of intangible, personified property emerging out of antebellum laws, circulating through key nineteenth-century works of literature, and informing cultural forms such as blackface minstrelsy and early race films.Best also argues that legal principles dealing with fugitives and indebted persons provided a sophisticated precursor to intellectual property law as it dealt with rights in appearance, expression, and other abstract aspects of personhood. In this conception of property as fleeting, indeed fugitive, American law preserved for much of the rest of the century slavery's most pressing legal imperative: the production of personhood as a market commodity. By revealing the paradoxes of this relationship between fugitive slave law and intellectual property law, Best helps us to understand how race achieved much of its force in the American cultural imagination. A work of ambitious scope and compelling cross-connections, The Fugitive's Properties sets new agendas for scholars of American literature and legal culture.
About the book: This volume introduces students to the most important figures, movements and trends in post-war British and Irish poetry. An historical overview and critical introduction to the poetry published in Britain and Ireland over the last half-century Introduces students to figures including Philip Larkin, Ted Hughes, Seamus Heaney, and Andrew Motion Takes an integrative approach, emphasizing the complex negotiations between the British and Irish poetic traditions, and pulling together competing tendencies and positions Written by critics from Britain, Ireland, and the United States Includes suggestions for further reading and a chronology, detailing the most important writers, volumes and events