This essay offers up a provocative new theoretical tack on the topic area of the dialectic of capital, the dialectic of cruelty, and the dialectic of power and of their intricate and self-differential inter-relationships and forms of being, under late capitalism, as delineated in selected narratives of two major Occidental novelists, Henry James and his key paper friend, Honoré de Balzac; it does so from a genuinely inter-disciplinary perspective that draws from heterogeneous waves of critical theory broadly conceived, having thus something to say to contemporary culture both of general and of academic interest alike.
Key concepts elucidated and fleshed out in the work for the first time in a volume-length and systematic way in the study of the humanities, in order to get the show on the road, include the theoretical notions and arguments of true power and capital as ‘un-power’, ‘non-power’, ‘un-capital’, and ‘non-capital’; other suchlike examples punctuate the essay that attempt to meet precise theoretical and practical requirements for a twenty-first century increasingly submitted to the logic of capitalist power. The present study also thus offers new ways of thinking about the enormous and age-long subject of big power and capital that would, in the final tally, want to align itself with such prophetic traditions of thought as what Gilles Deleuze and Félix Guattari, for example, have termed ‘the New Earth’.
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“The Dialectics of Late Capital and Power: James, Balzac and Critical Theory successfully presents new ways of discussing late-nineteenth and twentieth century conceptions of power and wealth as ‘un-power’, ‘non-power’, un-capital’, and ‘non-capital’ in a way that these terms are germane in a twenty-first century context. Eric S. Roraback has shed new light on theories and texts that experts typically question as to why they are still important in the postmodern world. Roraback’s answer to this question is that the parallel between wealth and power is one that must be dismantled in order to achieve non-violence.”—Gerardo Del Guercio, GRAAT online, 2015“This book makes fascinating and long-overdue connections between Balzac’s and Henry James’s literary treatment of money - money both as an economic fact and as a metaphor and symbol. Dr Roraback’s astute analysis is pioneering, and should be read by all experts on these two authors as well as by anyone who has an interest in the post-1800 novel”.--Alison Finch, Professor and Senior Research Fellow, Churchill College, University of Cambridge, author of Women’s Writing in Nineteenth-Century French (Cambridge Studies in French) (Cambridge University Press) “very sensitively and well written […] a most interesting project”--Stephen A. Erickson, Professor of Philosophy and the E. Wilson Lyon Chair of Humanities, Pomona College, author of The (Coming) Age of Thresholding (Kluwer Academic Publishers) “an important new vision of Henry James […] Roraback’s compelling use of contemporary theory pitches his book to a wide reading audience [...] an important work of literary scholarship, which will contribute significantly to a number of intellectual fields”--Henry B. Wonham, Professor of English, University of Oregon, co-editor Tales of Henry James (Norton Publishing Company)
Erik Sherman Roraback teaches critical theory, international cinema, James Joyce and U.S. literature in Charles University (est. 1348) and in F.A.M.U. (The Academy of Performing Arts, Film and TV School) at Prague. He holds degrees from the University of Oxford (D.Phil.) and from Pomona College (B.A.) and has been Visiting Professor at the Université de Provence. He has published scholarly articles on such subjects as Michelangelo Antonioni and Spinoza, Orson Welles’s Mr. Arkadin/Confidential Report, buildings of St. Petersburg, Inter-cultural Studies, Walter Benjamin, Maurice Blanchot, Deleuze and Leibniz, Joyce’s Finnegans Wake, Modernity and the Baroque, Jean-Luc Nancy and Community, the 120-year Czech and Slovak reception of Henry James, Thomas Pynchon, and on U.S. Literature in scholarly journals such as Pynchon Notes and in scholarly presses such as The Continuum Publishing Company. The author has also given invited lectures at The Evergreen State College, Kansas State University, University College-Cork, Universität Konstanz, University of Oxford and Universität Wien.