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Romance Studies Faculty Books

Our Dead World

Overview

Translated by Jessica Sequeira
 
From the publisher:

A young woman suffers a mental breakdown because of her repressive and religious mother. A group of children is fascinated by the sudden death of a friend. A drug trafficking couple visits Paris at the same time as a psychopathic cannibal. A mysterious wave travels through a university campus, driving students to suicide. A photographer witnesses a family’s surface composure shatter during a portrait session. A worker on Mars sees ghostly animals in the desert and longs for an impossible return to Earth. A plastic surgeon botches an operation and hides on a sugar cane plantation where indigenous slavery is practiced.

Horror and the fantastic mark the unstable realism of Our Dead World, in which altered states of consciousness, marginalized peoples, animal bodies, and tensions between tradition and modernity are recurring themes. Liliana Colanzi’s stories explore those moments when the civilized voice of the ego gives way to the buzzing of the subconscious, and repressed indigenous history destabilizes the colonial legacy still present in contemporary Latin America.

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Left-Wing Melancholia

Overview

From the publisher:

The fall of the Berlin Wall marked the end of the Cold War but also the rise of a melancholic vision of history as a series of losses. For the political left, the cause lost was communism, and this trauma determined how leftists wrote the next chapter in their political struggle and how they have thought about their past since. Throughout the twentieth century, argues Left-Wing Melancholia, from classical Marxism to psychoanalysis to the advent of critical theory, a culture of defeat and its emotional overlay of melancholy have characterized the leftist understanding of the political in history and in theoretical critique.

Drawing on a vast and diverse archive in theory, testimony, and image and on such thinkers as Karl Marx, Walter Benjamin, Theodor W. Adorno, and others, the intellectual historian Enzo Traverso explores the varying nature of left melancholy as it has manifested in a feeling of guilt for not sufficiently challenging authority, in a fear of surrendering in disarray and resignation, in mourning the human costs of the past, and in a sense of failure for not realizing utopian aspirations. Yet hidden within this melancholic tradition are the resources for a renewed challenge to prevailing regimes of historicity, a passion that has the power to reignite the dialectic of revolutionary thought.

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The Techne of Giving

Overview

From the publisher:

Over the last five years, corporations and individuals have given more money, more often, to charitable organizations than ever before. What could possibly be the downside to inhabiting a golden age of gift-giving? That question lies at the heart of Timothy Campbell’s account of contemporary giving and its social forms. In a milieu where gift-giving dominates, nearly everything given and received becomes the subject of a calculus—gifts from God, from benefactors, from those who have. Is there another way to conceive of generosity? What would giving and receiving without gifts look like?

A lucid and imaginative intervention in both European philosophy and film theory, The Techne of Giving investigates how we hold the objects of daily life—indeed, how we hold ourselves—in relation to neoliberal forms of gift-giving. Even as instrumentalism permeates giving, Campbell articulates a resistant techne locatable in forms of generosity that fail to coincide with biopower’s assertion that the only gifts that count are those given and received. Moving between visual studies, Winnicottian psychoanalysis, Foucauldian biopower, and apparatus theory, Campbell makes a case for how to give and receive without giving gifts. In the conversation between political philosophy and classic Italian films by Visconti, Rossellini, and Antonioni, the potential emerges of a generous form of life that can cross between the visible and invisible, the fated and the free.

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Fuel

Overview

From the publisher:

Undoing the dream of free, clean power from A to Z

Fuel is an idiosyncratic, speculative dictionary of fuels, real and imagined, historical and futuristic, hopeless and utopian. Drawing on literature, film, and scientific treatises—most produced long before “climate change” was in circulation—Fuel argues for a distinction between energy and fuel as it endeavors to undo the dream that we can simply switch to renewables and all will be golden.

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Norte

Overview

Translated by Valerie Miles

From the publisher:

Three unconnected people travel north, each passing in isolation over one of the most troubled and controversial dividing lines in the world: the Mexico‒US border. But in a melee of language and blood, their stories and the stories of those they meet—of a young serial killer, a waitress and graphic novelist and her lover (and former professor), and an outsider artist in a mental institution—gradually begin to coalesce. Daring in both its protagonists and its structure, Edmundo Paz Soldán’s Norte is a fast-paced, vivid, and operatic blending of distinct voices. Together, they lay bare the darkness of the line over which these souls—like so many others—have passed.

A prominent member of a new generation of Latin American writers, Paz Soldán stands in defiant opposition to the magical realism of the past century, instead grounding his work in political, economic, and historical realities. Norte is no exception; it is a tale of displacement and the very human costs of immigration. Shocking with its violence even as it thrills with its language, confounding rather than cowering under the cliché of the murderous, drug-dealing immigrant, Norte is a disquieting, imperative work—an undeniable reflection of our fragmented modern world.

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The Refusal of Politics

Overview

Translated by Cory Browning

From the publisher:

Denounces contemporary politics through an engagement with political theory, the arts and what it is to live well

Laurent Dubreuil provocatively proposes an extremist rethinking of the limits of politics – toward a break from politics, the political and policies. Rather than yet another re-articulation, he calls for a refusal of politics, suggesting a form of apolitics that would make our lives more liveable.

The first chapter situates the refusal of politics in relation to different contemporary theoretical attempts to renew politics, and makes the case for a greater rupture. The second moment takes up what is liveable in life by way of apolitical experience, in contrast to appropriations of the collective, including a discussion of the arts. Finally, Dubreuil draws up an incomplete inventory of means: forms of existence – often frail and fleeting – that make an exit toward atopia.

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The End of Jewish Modernity

Overview

Translated by David Fernbach

From the publisher:

Jewish modernity flourished between the age of Enlightenment and World War II—and in fact was a major driver of intellectual, scientific, social, literary, and artistic progress in that period. But the age of Jewish modernity is over.

That’s the argument that historian Enzo Traverso mounts in this provocative book. With great sensitivity and nuance, he teases out the fundamentally conservative turn that the mainstream of Jewish thought has taken in the years since World War II, revealing its roots in the Holocaust and the establishment of the United Nations and Israel as the new poles of Jewish communal life. Building his argument on a highly original reading of Hannah Arendt’s writings on Jewishness and politics, Traverso offers both an elegy to a lost tradition and a damning intellectual history of the present.

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The Task of the Cleric

Overview

From the publisher:

Composed in early thirteenth-century Iberia, the Libro de Alexandre was Spain’s first vernacular version of the Romance of Alexander and the first poem in the corpus now known as the mester de clerecía. These learned works, written by clergy and connected with both school and court, were also tools for the articulation of sovereignty in an era of prolonged military and political expansion.

In The Task of the Cleric, Simone Pinet considers the composition of the Libro de Alexandre in the context of cartography, political economy, and translation. Her discussion sheds light on how clerics perceived themselves and on the connections between literature and these other activities. Drawing on an extensive collection of early cartographic materials, much of it rarely considered in conjunction with the romance, Pinet offers an original and insightful view of the mester de clerecía and the changing role of knowledge and the clergy in thirteenth-century Iberia.

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Ghostly Landscapes

Overview

From the publisher:

In Ghostly Landscapes: Film, Photography, and the Aesthetics of Haunting in Contemporary Spanish Culture, Patricia M. Keller analyses the aesthetics of haunting and the relationship between ideology and image production by revisiting twentieth-century Spanish history through the camera’s lens.  Through its vision she demonstrates how the traumatic losses of the Spanish Civil War and their systematic denial and burial during the fascist dictatorship have constituted fertile territory for the expressions of loss, uncanny return, and untimeliness that characterize the aesthetic presence of the ghost.

Examining fascist documentary newsreels, countercultural art films from the Spanish New Wave, and conceptual landscape photographs created since the transition to democracy, Keller reveals how haunting serves to mourn loss, redefine space and history, and confirm the significance of lives and stories previously hidden or erased. Her richly illustrated book constitutes a significant reevaluation of fascist and post-fascist Spanish visual culture and a unique theorization of haunting as an aesthetic register inextricably connected to the visual and the landscape.

 

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Fire and Blood: European Civil War 1914-1945

Overview

From the publisher:

Fire and Blood looks at the European crisis of the two world wars as a single historical sequence: the age of the European Civil War (1914–1945). Its overture was played out in the trenches of the Great War; its coda on a ruined continent. It opened with conventional declarations of war and finished with “unconditional surrender.” Proclamations of national unity led to eventual devastation, with entire countries torn to pieces. During these three decades of deepening conflicts, a classical interstate conflict morphed into a global civil war, abandoning rules of engagement and fought by irreducible enemies rather than legitimate adversaries, each seeking the annihilation of its opponents. It was a time of both unchained passions and industrial, rationalized massacre. Utilizing multiple sources, Enzo Traverso depicts the dialectic of this era of wars, revolutions and genocides. Rejecting commonplace notions of “totalitarian evil,” he rediscovers the feelings and reinterprets the ideas of an age of intellectual and political commitment when Europe shaped world history with its own collapse.

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The Ethical Dimension of the "Decameron"

Overview

From the publisher:

With The Ethical Dimension of the “Decameron” Marilyn Migiel, author of A Rhetoric of the “Decameron” (winner of the MLA’s 2004 Marraro Prize), returns to Giovanni Boccaccio’s masterpiece, this time to focus on the dialogue about ethical choices that the Decameron creates with us and that we, as individuals and as groups, create with the Decameron.

Maintaining that we can examine this dialogue to gain insights into our values, our biases and our decision-making processes, Migiel offers a view of the Decameron as sticky and thorny. According to Migiel, the Decameron catches us as we move through it, obligating us to reveal ourselves, inviting us to reflect on how we form our assessments, and calling upon us to be mindful of our responsibility to judge patiently and carefully. Migiel’s focus remains unabashedly on the experience of readers, on the meanings they find in the Decameron, and on the ideological assumptions they have about the way that a literary text such as the Decameron works. She offers that, rather than thinking about the Decameron as “teaching” readers, we should think about it “testing” them.

Throughout, Migiel engages in the masterful in-depth rhetorical analyses, delivered in lively and readable prose, that are her trademark. Whether she is examining the Italian of the Decameron, translations of the Italian into English, commentaries by scholars, newspaper articles, or student essays, she asks us always to maintain an ethical engagement with the words of others.

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Freedom from Liberation

Overview

From the publisher:

By exploring the complexities of enslavement in the autobiography of Cuban slave-poet Juan Francisco Manzano (1797–1854), Gerard Aching complicates the universally recognized assumption that a slave's foremost desire is to be freed from bondage. As the only slave narrative in Spanish that has surfaced to date, Manzano's autobiography details the daily grind of the vast majority of slaves who sought relief from the burden of living under slavery. Aching combines historical narrative and literary criticism to take the reader beyond Manzano's text to examine the motivations behind anticolonial and antislavery activism in pre-revolution Cuba, when Cuba's Creole bourgeoisie sought their own form of freedom from the colonial arm of Spain.

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Segundas oportunidades

Overview

From the publisher:

La literatura de Edmundo Paz Soldán está hecha de paisajes en ruinas y del permanente juego con los géneros, mezclando elementos fantásticos con el horror. A sus personajes los anima la secreta necesidad de reinventarse, muchas veces a tientas, en un país, en una sociedad o en un mundo que se resquebraja. No debe extrañar, entonces, que como crítico y ensayista se mueva por territorios poblados por escritores excéntricos: Mario Levrero, Jorge Ibargüengoitia, Hilda Hilst y Salvador Benesdra entre los latinoamericanos; Arthur Machen, Charles Portis y Shirley Jackson en lengua inglesa; Bruno Schulz, Nikolái Leskov y Mircea Cărtărescu entre los centroeuropeos.


Ellos son, en buena medida, los protagonistas de este libro que abre las puertas y ventanas de esa vieja  iglesia conformada por las lecturas canónicas, para contagiarnos de entusiasmo, curiosidad y pasión por autores a los que les ha costado traspasar las fronteras de sus países o que, si bien gozaron en algún momento de cierto éxito, han sido arrasados por la avalancha de novedades. Asimismo, Segundas oportunidades  contiene un atlas para entender al propio autor: sus textos sobre el género policial, la ciencia ficción y el arte del cómic están íntimamente relacionados con su biografía, de la que en este libro conocemos, por lo demás, detalles reveladores.

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The Intellective Space

Overview

From the publisher:

A daring exploration of the space between language and thought

According to Laurent Dubreuil, we humans both say more than we think and think more than we say. Dubreuil’s particular interest is the intellective space, where thought and knowledge are performed and shared. In The Intellective Space he explores the nature and limits of thought, arguing that something in thinking bypasses cognitive structures

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Sul Confine: Interferenze letterarie franco-italiane

Overview

Edited by K.E. von Wittelsbach

From the publisher:

Nazioni vicine, cugine; nazioni nemiche-amiche. Da sempre Italia e Francia si occhieggiano al di là e al di qua delle Alpi, un po’ gelose un po’ ammirate, come tra amanti. Si studiano, si imitano, si “scambiano” genio, bellezza, arte, idee, letteratura e anche la lingua; si pensi a quante parole francesi sono ormai entrate a far parte dell’italiano.

Di questo antico e fitto legame e intreccio di culture, questo volume indaga le interferenze nelle letterature dei due paesi. Composto da cinque saggi discussi durante la conferenza della American Association of Teachers of Italian (AATI) che si è tenuta a Strasburgo nel 2013, il libro può essere idealmente diviso in due sezioni: la prima analizza l’influenza della lingua francese su alcune opere prodotte in Sicilia, mentre la seconda studia il ruolo della lingua italiana all’estero nei secoli scorsi.

Nello specifico, il saggio di Chiel Monzone analizza i francesismi presenti nell’opera del poeta siciliano Domenico Tempio, Daniela Bombara ha svolto un’interessante e approfondita analisi del Romanticismo in Sicilia partendo dalle riscritture di Paul et Virginie, mentre Elisabetta Gaia Guarasci ha incentrato il suo lavoro sull’influenza che Stendhal e Baudelaire hanno avuto su Tomasi di Lampedusa durante la stesura del Gattopardo. La seconda sezione è composta dal saggio di Simone Ventura, che analizza le prime traduzioni transalpine del Decameron, e dall’intervento di Emanuela Pecchioli in cui si discute l’influenza che l’artista-attore italiano del Settecento Antonio Riccoboni ha avuto su Diderot.

Il testo si propone come un utilissimo strumento sull’analisi linguistica incentrato sulle influenze reciproche tra la lingua italiana e quella francese.

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Breaching the Frame: The Rise of Contemporary Art in Brazil and Japan

Overview

From the publisher:

Circa 1960, artists working at the margins of the international art world breached the frame of canvas painting and ruptured the institutional frame of art. Members of the Brazilian Neoconcrete group, such as Hélio Oiticica and Lygia Clark, and their counterparts in Japan, such as Akasegawa Genpei and the Kansai-based Gutai Art Association, challenged the boundaries between art and non-art, between fiction and reality, between visual artwork and its discursive frame. In place of the indefinitely deferred promise of a revolution of the senses, artists called for “direct action” here and now. Pedro Erber situates the beginnings of these profound transformations of art in the politically charged debates on realism and abstraction and in the experiments of 1950s concrete poetry. He shows how artists and critics in Brazil and Japan brought modern painting to a point of crisis that paved the way for the radical experiments of the 1960s generation. In contrast to the “dematerialization” of the art object promoted by New York–based critics and conceptual artists in the late 1960s, avant-garde artists and poets in Brazil and Japan embraced materiality as intrinsic and fundamental to their highly conceptual practices. Breaching the Frame explores their uncannily contemporaneous trajectories, tracing the emergence of participatory practices and theories that challenged the limits of aesthetic contemplation and redefined the politics of spectatorship.

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Wrestling with the Angel: Experiments in Symbolic Life

Overview

From the publisher:

Wrestling with the Angel is a meditation on contemporary political, legal, and social theory from a psychoanalytic perspective. It argues for the enabling function of formal and symbolic constraints in sustaining desire as a source of creativity, innovation, and social change.

The book begins by calling for a richer understanding of the psychoanalytic concept of the symbolic and the resources it might offer for an examination of the social link and the political sphere. The symbolic is a crucial dimension of social coexistence but cannot be reduced to the social norms, rules, and practices with which it is so often collapsed. As a dimension of human life that is introduced by language—and thus inescapably "other" with respect to the laws of nature—the symbolic is an undeniable fact of human existence. Yet the same cannot be said of the forms and practices that represent and sustain it. In designating these laws, structures, and practices as "fictions," Jacques Lacan makes clear that the symbolic is a dimension of social life that has to be created and maintained and that can also be displaced, eradicated, or rendered dysfunctional. The symbolic fictions that structure and support the social tie are therefore historicizable, emerging at specific times and in particular contexts and losing their efficacy when circumstances change. They are also fragile and ephemeral, needing to be renewed and reinvented if they are not to become outmoded or ridiculous. Therefore the aim of this study is not to call for a return to traditional symbolic laws but to reflect on the relationship between the symbolic in its most elementary or structural form and the function of constraints and limits.

McNulty analyzes examples of "experimental" (as opposed to "normative") articulations of the symbolic and their creative use of formal limits and constraints not as mere prohibitions or rules but as "enabling constraints" that favor the exercise of freedom. The first part examines practices that conceive of subjective freedom as enabled by the struggle with constraints or limits, from the transference that structures the "minimal social link" of psychoanalysis to constrained relationships between two or more people in the context of political and social movements. Examples discussed range from the spiritual practices and social legacies of Moses, Jesus, and Teresa of Avila to the political philosophy of Hannah Arendt and Jacques Rancière. The second part is devoted to legal and political debates surrounding the function of the written law. It isolates the law's function as a symbolic limit or constraint as distinct from its content and representational character. The analysis draws on Mosaic law traditions, the political theology of Paul, and twentieth-century treatments of written law in the work of Carl Schmitt, Walter Benjamin, Sigmund Freud, Pierre Legendre, and Alain Badiou. In conclusion, the study considers the relationship between will and constraint in Kant's aesthetic philosophy and in the experimental literary works of the collective Oulipo.

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Biopolitics

Overview

Edited by Timothy Campbell and Adam Sitze

From the publisher:

This anthology collects the texts that defined the concept of biopolitics, which has become so significant throughout the humanities and social sciences today. The far-reaching influence of the biopolitical—the relation of politics to life, or the state to the body—is not surprising given its centrality to matters such as healthcare, abortion, immigration, and the global distribution of essential medicines and medical technologies.

Michel Foucault gave new and unprecedented meaning to the term "biopolitics" in his 1976 essay "Right of Death and Power over Life." In this anthology, that touchstone piece is followed by essays in which biopolitics is implicitly anticipated as a problem by Hannah Arendt and later altered, critiqued, deconstructed, and refined by major political and social theorists who explicitly engaged with Foucault's ideas. By focusing on the concept of biopolitics, rather than applying it to specific events and phenomena, this Reader provides an enduring framework for assessing the central problematics of modern political thought.

Contributors. Giorgio Agamben, Hannah Arendt, Alain Badiou, Timothy Campbell, Gilles Deleuze, Roberto Esposito, Michel Foucault, Donna Haraway, Michael Hardt, Achille Mbembe, Warren Montag, Antonio Negri, Jacques Rancière, Adam Sitze, Peter Sloterdijk, Paolo Virno, Slavoj Žižek

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Empire of Language: Toward a Critique of (Post)colonial Expression

Overview

From the publisher:

The relationship between power and language has been a central theme in critical theory for decades now, yet there is still much to be learned about the sheer force of language in the world in which we live. In Empire of Language, Laurent Dubreuil explores the power-language phenomenon in the context of European and, particularly, French colonialism and its aftermath. Through readings of the colonial experience, he isolates a phraseology based on possession, in terms of both appropriation and haunting, that has persisted throughout the centuries. Not only is this phraseology a legacy of the past, it is still active today, especially in literary renderings of the colonial experience—but also, and more paradoxically, in anticolonial discourse. This phrase shaped the teaching of European languages in the (former) empires, and it tried to configure the usage of those idioms by the "Indigenes." Then, scholarly disciplines have to completely reconsider their discursive strategies about the colonial, if, at least, they attempt to speak up.

Dubreuil ranges widely in terms of time and space, from the ancien régime through the twentieth century, from Paris to Haiti to Quebec, from the Renaissance to the riots in the banlieues. He examines diverse texts, from political speeches, legal documents, and colonial treatises to anthropological essays, poems of the Négritude, and contemporary rap, ever attuned to the linguistic strategies that undergird colonial power. Equally conversant in both postcolonial criticism and poststructuralist scholarship on language, but also deeply grounded in the sociohistorical context of the colonies, Dubreuil sets forth the conditions for an authentically postcolonial scholarship, one that acknowledges the difficulty of getting beyond a colonialism—and still maintains the need for an afterward.

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Improper Life: Technology and Biopolitics from Heidegger to Agamben

Overview

From the publisher:

How biopolitics can get beyond its obsession with death

Has biopolitics actually become thanatopolitics, a field of study obsessed with death? Timothy C. Campbell argues that a “crypto-thanatopolitics” can be teased out of Heidegger’s critique of technology and that some of the leading scholars of biopolitics have been substantively influenced by Heidegger’s thought. Campbell articulates a corrective biopolitics that can begin with rereadings of Foucault, Freud, and Gilles Deleuze.

"Broadening biopower beyond its Nazi encampments in order to build a critique of liberalism, Timothy C. Campbell argues that modern politics captures life through invasive technologies of communication and consumption that promise protection from mortality, disability, boredom, and loneliness. Campbell links mass media and bioengineering to the birth of a global petty bourgeoisie defined by a terrifying lack of distance and the relentless dismantling of community. This compelling, powerfully argued book should be read by anyone interested in the futures of collective life in the age of smart bombs and cloud computing." — Julia Reinhard Lupton, author of Thinking with Shakespeare: Essays on Politics and Life

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Archipelagoes

Overview

From the publisher:

An insular turn in late medieval and early modern culture central to the emergence of modern fiction

Archipelagoes examines insularity as the space for adventure in the Spanish book of chivalry, much like the space of the forest in French chivalric romance. In this innovative work, Simone Pinet explores the emergence of insularity as a privileged place for the location of adventure in Spanish literature in tandem with the cartographic genre of the isolario.

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Gender and Scientific Discourse in Early Modern Culture

Overview

Edited by Kathleen Long

From the publisher:

In the wake of new interest in alchemy as more significant than a bizarre aberration in rational Western European culture, this collection examines both alchemical and medical discourses in the larger context of early modern Europe. How do early scientific discourses infiltrate other cultural domains such as literature, philosophy, court life, and the conduct of households? How do these new contexts deflect scientific pursuits into new directions, and allow a larger participation in the elaboration of scientific methods and perspectives? Might there have been a scientific subculture, particularly surrounding alchemy, which allowed women to participate in scientific pursuits long before they were admitted in an investigative capacity into official academic settings? This volume poses those questions, as a starting point for a broader discussion of scientific subcultures and their relationship to the restructuring and questioning of gender roles.

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Sanctity and Pornography in Medieval Culture

Overview

by Cary Howie and Bill Burgwinkle

From the publisher:

Sanctity and pornography in medieval culture exposes the complexity of bodily exposure in medieval devotion and contemporary pornographic cultures. Through readings of texts and images, sacred and profane, from preimodern France and Italy as well as Anglo-American modernity, the book makes a case for paying closer attention to the surfaces of our bodies and the desires that those surfaces can articulate and arouse.

From the Old French life of Saint Alexis to the work of writer-filmmaker Miranda July, from Wakefield Poole to Pietro Aretino, these are texts and images that diminish the distance between premodern Europe and contemporary California, between the sacred and the profane, as they demonstrate how, in the end as in the beginning, the surface of things is never simple.

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Alchemical Mercury: A Theory of Ambivalence

Overview

From the publisher:

How can we account, in a rigorous way, for alchemy's ubiquity? We think of alchemy as the transformation of a base material (usually lead) into gold, but "alchemy" is a word in wide circulation in everyday life, often called upon to fulfill a metaphoric duty as the magical transformation of materials. Almost every culture and time has had some form of alchemy. This book looks at alchemy, not at any one particular instance along the historical timeline, not as a practice or theory, not as a mode of redemption, but as a theoretical problem, linked to real gold and real production in the world. What emerges as the least common denominator or "intensive property" of alchemy is ambivalence, the impossible and paradoxical coexistence of two incompatible elements. Alchemical Mercurymoves from antiquity, through the golden age of alchemy in the Dutch seventeenth century, to conceptual art, to alternative fuels, stopping to think with writers such as Dante, Goethe, Hoffmann, the Grimm Brothers, George Eliot, and Marx. Eclectic and wide-ranging, this is the first study to consider alchemy in relation to literary and visual theory in a comprehensive way.

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Racine: From Ancient Myth to Tragic Modernity

Overview

From the publisher:

Seeing Racine’s tragic oeuvre as a rewriting of the evolving legacy of the Oedipus legend

A study of all of the major tragedies of Jean Racine, France’s preeminent dramatist—and, according to many, its greatest and most representative author—Mitchell Greenberg’s work offers an exploration of Racinian tragedy to explain the enigma of the plays’ continued fascination. Greenberg shows how Racine uses myth, in particular the legend of Oedipus, to achieve his emotional power.

"Racine is a rich and ambitious psychoanalytic study of Jean Racine’s tragedies. Mitchell Greenberg brings to his interpretation of these plays an impressively thorough knowledge of psychoanalysis, in both its clinical and anthropological dimensions, and he uses that knowledge to provide an innovative, original interpretation of the material." -- Jay Caplan, Amherst College

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Claustrophilia: The Erotics of Enclosure in Medieval Literature

Overview

From the publisher:

Through extended readings of English, French, and Italian writers of the Thirteenth and Fourteenth centuries, Claustrophilia shows that medieval enclosures actually make room for desires and communities that a poetics of pure openness would exclude.

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The Hostess: Hospitality, Feminitity, and the Expropriation of Identity

Overview

From the publisher:

The meaning of hospitality in Western thought—from the Bible to Derrida

In The Hostess, Tracy McNulty asks, What are the implications for personhood of sharing a person—a wife or daughter—as an act of hospitality? Combining critical readings of the Bible and Pierre Klossowski's trilogy The Laws of Hospitality, the writings of Kant and Nietzsche, and the work of Freud and Lacan, she contends hospitality involves the boundary between the proper and the improper.

The Hostess is an outstanding piece of scholarship and a compelling read. Because her study is responsible to both historical tradition and contemporary theoretical concerns alike, Tracy McNulty confronts some of today's perplexing sociocultural problems: questions of borders, immigrants, 'guest' workers, hostility, commerce, and more. — Juliet Flower MacCannell, author of The Hysteric's Guide to the Future Female Subject

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Hermaphrodites in Renaissance Europe

Overview

From the publisher:

Kathleen Long explores the use of the hermaphrodite in early modern culture wars, both to question traditional theorizations of gender roles and to reaffirm those views. These cultural conflicts were fueled by the discovery of a new world, by the Reformation and the backlash against it, by nascent republicanism directed against dissolute kings, and by the rise of empirical science and its subsequent confrontation with the traditional university system. For the Renaissance imagination, the hermaphrodite came to symbolize these profound and intense changes that swept across Europe, literally embodying these conflicts. Focusing on early modern France, with references to Switzerland and Germany, this work traces the symbolic use of the hermaphrodite across a range of disciplines and domains - medical, alchemical, philosophical, poetic, fictional, and political - and demonstrates how these seemingly disparate realms interacted extensively with each other in this period, also across national boundaries. This widespread use and representation of the hermaphrodite established a ground on which new ideas concerning sex and gender could be elaborated by subsequent generations, and on which a wide range of thought concerning identity, racial, religious, and national as well as gender, could be deployed.

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Cervantes in Algiers: A Captive's Tale

Overview

Returning to Spain after fighting in the Battle of Lepanto and other Mediterranean campaigns against the Turks, the soldier Miguel de Cervantes was captured by Barbary pirates and taken captive to Algiers. The five years he spent in the Algerian bagnios or prison-houses (1575-1580) made an indelible impression on his works. From the first plays and narratives written after his release to his posthumous novel, the story of Cervantes's traumatic experience continuously speaks through his writings. Cervantes in Algiers offers a comprehensive view of his life as a slave and, particularly, of the lingering effects this traumatic experience had on his literary production.

No work has documented in such vivid and illuminating detail the socio-political world of sixteenth-century Algiers, Cervantes's life in the prison-house, his four escape attempts, and the conditions of his final ransom. Garces's portrait of a sophisticated multi-ethnic culture in Algiers, moreover, is likely to open up new discussions about early modern encounters between Christians and Muslims. By bringing together evidence from many different sources, historical and literary, Garces reconstructs the relations between Christians, Muslims, and renegades in a number of Cervantes's writings.

The idea that survivors of captivity need to repeat their story in order to survive (an insight invoked from Coleridge to Primo Levi to Dori Laub) explains not only Cervantes's storytelling but also the book that theorizes it so compellingly. As a former captive herself (a hostage of Colombian guerrillas), the author reads and listens to Cervantes with another ear.

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The Matter of Desire

Overview

From the publisher:

The Matter of Desire is the story of Pedro, a Bolivian-American political scientist who teaches at a university in upstate New York. Having become entangled in an erotically charged romance with Ashley, a beautiful red-headed graduate student, he returns to Bolivia to seek answers to his own life by investigating the mysteries of his father's past. Trapped between two cultures, Pedro ultimately finds himself in an existential dilemma of tragic dimensions. The Matter of Desire combines elements of the political thriller and the family mystery with a torrid illicit love affair and brilliantly elucidates the complex relationship between Latin America and the United States.

Publication Year

The Montesi Scandal

Overview

The Montesi Scandal: The Death of Wilma Montesi and the Birth of the Paparazzi in Fellini's Rome

From the publisher:

Early on a windy morning in April 1953, the body of a young woman washed up on a beach outside of Rome. Her name was Wilma Montesi, and, as the papers reported, she had left her home in the city center a day earlier, alone. The police called her death an accidental drowning. But the public was not convinced. In the cafés around the Via Veneto, people began to speak-of the son of a powerful politician, lavish parties, movie stars, orgies, drugs.

How this news item of everyday life exploded into one of the greatest scandals of a modern democracy is the story Karen Pinkus tells in The Montesi Scandal. Wilma's death brought to the surface every simmering element of Italian culture: bitter aspiring actresses, corrupt politicians, nervous Jesuits in sunglasses, jaded princes. Italians of all types lined up to testify-in court or to journalists of varying legitimacy-about the death of the middle-class carpenter's daughter, in the process creating a media frenzy and the modern culture of celebrity. Witnesses sold their stories to the tabloids, only to retract them. They posed for pictures, pretending to shun the spotlight. And they in turn became celebrities in their own right. 

Pinkus takes us through the alleys and entryways of Rome in the 1950s, linking Wilma's death to the beginnings of the dolce vita, now synonymous with modern Roman life. Pinkus follows the first paparazzi on their scooters as they shoot the protagonists and gives us an insider's view of the stories and trials that came to surround this lonely figure that washed up on the shores of Ostia. Full of the magnificent paparazzi photos of the protagonists in the drama and film stills from the era's landmark movies, The Montesi Scandal joins true crime with "high" culture in an original form, one true to both the period and the cinematic conception of life it created. More than a meditation of the intricate ties among movies, paparazzo photography, and Italian culture, The Montesi Scandalnarrates Wilma's story and its characters as the notes for an unrealized film, but one that, as the reader discovers, seems impossible to produce.

Publication Year

A Rhetoric of the Decameron

Overview

From the publisher:

Both a passionate denunciation of masculinist readings of the Decameron and a meticulous critique of previous feminist analyses, Marilyn Migiel's A Rhetoric of the Decameron offers a sophisticated re-examination of the representations of women, men, gender identity, sexuality, love, hate, morality, and truth in Boccaccio's masterpiece. The Decameron stages an ongoing, dynamic, and spirited debate about issues as urgent now as in the fourteenth century - a debate that can only be understood if the Decameron's rhetorical objectives and strategies are completely reconceived.

Addressing herself equally to those who argue for a proto-feminist Boccaccio - a quasi-liberal champion of women's autonomy - and to those who argue for a positivistically secure historical Boccaccio who could not possibly anticipate the concerns of the twenty-first century, Migiel challenges readers to pay attention to Boccaccio's language, to his pronouns, his passives, his echolalia, his patterns of repetition, and his figurative language. She argues that human experience, particularly in the sexual realm, is articulated differently by the Decameron's male and female narrators, and refutes the notion that the Decameron offers an undifferentiated celebration of Eros. Ultimately, Migiel contends, the stories of the Decameron suggest that as women become more empowered, the limitations on them, including the threat of violence, become more insistent.

Publication Year

Masking and Power: Carnival and Popular Culture in the Caribbean

Overview

From the publisher:

An ambitious reassessment of the political uses of masking.

Focusing on masking as a socially significant practice in Caribbean cultures, Gerard Aching’s analysis articulates masking, mimicry, and misrecognition as a means of describing and interrogating strategies of visibility and invisibility in Cuba, Trinidad and Tobago, Martinique, and beyond.

Cultural Studies of the Americas Series, volume 8

"This book offers a useful account of how visual and verbal masks in Caribbean societies both conceal and reveal identities and social relations. Perhaps the greatest strength is that it cuts across three of the linguistic divisions of the region." — New West Indian Guide

Publication Year

Baroque Bodies: Psychoanalysis and the Culture of French Absolutism

Overview

Mitchell Greenberg explores the significance of fantasies of the body in seventeenth-century France through provocative and subtle readings of some of the most intriguing texts of the period.

Beginning with an eloquent invocation of the status of the king in classical France, Greenberg surveys the complex sociopolitical history of Louis XIV's reign, analyzing both Moliere and the entire corpus of Racine. The central chapters of Baroque Bodies deal with such fascinating texts as the Memoires of the abbe de Choisy (the first existing account of a male cross-dresser); two founding texts of the modern pornographic genre, L'ecole des filles and L'academie des dames; and the "autobiography" of Marie de l'Incarnation, the famous "mystic" and founder of the first Ursuline convent in Canada.

In addition to his richly nuanced readings, Greenberg integrates into his argument material from a broad array of disciplines, including psychoanalysis, feminism, epistemology, and history. He also points out the implications of his argument for the political, theological, and historical thought of the period, moving effortlessly from witch trials in France to discussions of bodies in Renaissance English literary criticism to the works of Bakhtin, Foucault, Freud, and Lacan.

Publication Year

Canonical States, Canonical Stages: Oedipus, Othering, and Seventeenth-Century Drama

Overview

From the publisher:

"Greenberg offers a powerful interpretation of the classical stage in its relationship to the emergence of absolutism in Europe....The originality and strength of the book reside in its fascinating integration of texts dealing with political theory, psychoanalysis, history, and literature....This book is one of the most important contributions to date on the study of the European classical stage." --Marie-Hélène Huet, University of Virginia

"Greenberg offers a powerful interpretation of the classical stage in its relationship to the emergence of absolutism in Europe....The originality and strength of the book reside in its fascinating integration of texts dealing with political theory, psychoanalysis, history, and literature....This book is one of the most important contributions to date on the study of the European classical stage." --Marie-Hélène Huet, University of Virginia

"Greenberg’s erudition, conceptualization, and rigorous argumentation establish Canonical States, Canonical Stages as a model for the psychoanalytic study of comparative drama. . . . No other work has demonstrated so well the complex interdependence of the sexual and the political in this masculine drama. . . . Readers will leave this book with a solid appreciation of the role of psychoanalytic relations in the production of the absolutist ideology." — Timothy Murray, Cornell University

Publication Year

Corneille, Classicism and The Ruses of Symmetry

Overview

From the publisher:

Professor Greenberg's lucid study examines the themes of authority, power and sexuality in Corneille's major plays, drawing on the work of Foucault, and Freudian and feminist critics. He begins by considering the question of myth and of a 'pre-historical' cultural memory in Médée, and proceeds to a detailed analysis of each of the four best-known tragedies: Le Cid, Horace, Cinna, and Polyeucte. A concluding chapter discusses two middle-period plays and Suréna, Corneille's last tragedy. Professor Greenberg argues that the formal symmetries of classical tragedy reflect a desire for control in the realm of both politics and sexuality. He also seeks to show how these principles of symmetry are challenged or undermined in various ways by the plays themselves. The result is an exacerbation of sexual and political desire which invests Cornelian tragedy with its peculiar power and involves us so deeply in its world.

Publication Year

Fictions féminines : Mme de Staël et les voix de la Sibylle

Overview

Publication Year