• Literary theory
      October 2018

      Literature and the Remains of the Death Penalty

      by Kamuf, Peggy

      Jacques Derrida has written that “the modern history of the institution named literature in Europe over the last three or four centuries is contemporary with and indissociable from a contestation of the death penalty.” How, Kamuf asks, does literature contest the death penalty today, particularly in the United States, where it remains the last of its kind in a nation that professes to be a democracy? What resources do fiction, narrative, and poetic language supply in the age of the remains of the death penalty? Following a lucid account of Derrida’s approach to the death penalty, Kamuf pursues these questions across literary texts by George Orwell, Robert Coover, Norman Mailer, Franz Kafka, and Charles Baudelaire. The readings address a range of questions that haunt the death penalty: the “mysteries” of witness; secrecy and public display; the undecidable relation of capital punishment and suicide; the sovereign powers of death and of pardon; and ways performative literary language can “play the law.” In relation to the death penalties they represent, these literary survivals may be seen as the ashes or remains of the phantasm that the death penalty has always been, the phantasm of calculating and ending finitude. A major contribution to the field of law and society, this book makes the case for literature as a space for contesting the death penalty, a case that scholars and activists working across a range of traditions will need to confront.

    • Literature & Literary Studies
      May 2019

      Women and the City in French Literature and Culture

      Reconfiguring the Feminine in the Urban Environment

      by Siobhán McIlvanney, Gillian Ni Cheallaigh

      This collection of essays contains critical analysis, from a female perspective, of a selection of films, journals and novels from the French medieval period to the Franco-Algerian present, and gives us a strikingly original view of the relationship between women and the cities that they increasingly call ‘home’.

    • Literature & Literary Studies
      July 2019

      Horror and Religion

      New literary approaches to Theology, Race and Sexuality

      by Eleanor Beal, Jonathan Greenaway

      Horror and Religion is an edited collection of essays offering structured discussions of spiritual and theological conflicts in horror from the late-sixteenth to the twenty-first century. Contributors explore the various ways that horror and religion have interacted over themes of race and sexuality.

    • Literary theory
      March 2019

      The Tongue-Tied Imagination

      Decolonizing Literary Modernity in Senegal

      by Tobias Warner

      To readers interested in the world literature debate, the book opens new directions by investigating how the emergence of literary modernity is entangled with other textualities.

    • Literary theory
      January 2018

      Antebellum Posthuman

      Race and Materiality in the Mid-Nineteenth Century

      by Ellis, Cristin

      From the eighteenth-century abolitionist motto “Am I Not a Man and a Brother?” to the Civil Rights-era declaration “I AM a Man,” antiracism has engaged in a struggle for the recognition of black humanity. It has done so, however, even as the very definition of the human has been called into question by the biological sciences. While this conflict between liberal humanism and biological materialism animates debates in posthumanism and critical race studies today, Antebellum Posthuman argues that it first emerged as a key question in the antebellum era. In a moment in which the authority of science was increasingly invoked to defend slavery and other racist policies, abolitionist arguments underwent a profound shift, producing a new, materialist strain of antislavery. Engaging the works of Douglass, Thoreau, and Whitman, and Dickinson, Cristin Ellis identifies and traces the emergence of an antislavery materialism in mid-nineteenth century American literature, placing race at the center of the history of posthumanist thought. Turning to contemporary debates now unfolding between posthumanist and critical race theorists, Ellis demonstrates how this antebellum posthumanism highlights the difficulty of reconciling materialist ontologies of the human with the project of social justice.

    • Literary theory
      January 2018

      Antebellum Posthuman

      Race and Materiality in the Mid-Nineteenth Century

      by Ellis, Cristin

      From the eighteenth-century abolitionist motto “Am I Not a Man and a Brother?” to the Civil Rights-era declaration “I AM a Man,” antiracism has engaged in a struggle for the recognition of black humanity. It has done so, however, even as the very definition of the human has been called into question by the biological sciences. While this conflict between liberal humanism and biological materialism animates debates in posthumanism and critical race studies today, Antebellum Posthuman argues that it first emerged as a key question in the antebellum era. In a moment in which the authority of science was increasingly invoked to defend slavery and other racist policies, abolitionist arguments underwent a profound shift, producing a new, materialist strain of antislavery. Engaging the works of Douglass, Thoreau, and Whitman, and Dickinson, Cristin Ellis identifies and traces the emergence of an antislavery materialism in mid-nineteenth century American literature, placing race at the center of the history of posthumanist thought. Turning to contemporary debates now unfolding between posthumanist and critical race theorists, Ellis demonstrates how this antebellum posthumanism highlights the difficulty of reconciling materialist ontologies of the human with the project of social justice.

    • Literary theory
      December 2018

      Ecological Form

      System and Aesthetics in the Age of Empire

      by Hensley, Nathan

      Ecological Form brings together leading voices in nineteenth-century ecocriticism to suture the lingering divide between postcolonial and ecocritical approaches. Together, these essays show how Victorian thinkers used aesthetic form to engage problems of system, interconnection, and dispossession that remain our own. The authors reconsider Victorian literary structures in light of environmental catastrophe; coordinate “natural” questions with sociopolitical ones; and underscore the category of form as a means for generating environmental—and therefore political—knowledge. Moving from the elegy and the industrial novel to the utopian romance, the scientific treatise, and beyond, Ecological Form demonstrates how nineteenth-century thinkers conceptualized the circuits of extraction and violence linking Britain to its global network. Yet the book’s most pressing argument is that this past thought can be a resource for reimagining the present.

    • Literary theory
      December 2018

      Ecological Form

      System and Aesthetics in the Age of Empire

      by Hensley, Nathan

      Ecological Form brings together leading voices in nineteenth-century ecocriticism to suture the lingering divide between postcolonial and ecocritical approaches. Together, these essays show how Victorian thinkers used aesthetic form to engage problems of system, interconnection, and dispossession that remain our own. The authors reconsider Victorian literary structures in light of environmental catastrophe; coordinate “natural” questions with sociopolitical ones; and underscore the category of form as a means for generating environmental—and therefore political—knowledge. Moving from the elegy and the industrial novel to the utopian romance, the scientific treatise, and beyond, Ecological Form demonstrates how nineteenth-century thinkers conceptualized the circuits of extraction and violence linking Britain to its global network. Yet the book’s most pressing argument is that this past thought can be a resource for reimagining the present.

    • Literary theory
      December 2018

      Ecological Form

      System and Aesthetics in the Age of Empire

      by Hensley, Nathan

      Ecological Form brings together leading voices in nineteenth-century ecocriticism to suture the lingering divide between postcolonial and ecocritical approaches. Together, these essays show how Victorian thinkers used aesthetic form to engage problems of system, interconnection, and dispossession that remain our own. The authors reconsider Victorian literary structures in light of environmental catastrophe; coordinate “natural” questions with sociopolitical ones; and underscore the category of form as a means for generating environmental—and therefore political—knowledge. Moving from the elegy and the industrial novel to the utopian romance, the scientific treatise, and beyond, Ecological Form demonstrates how nineteenth-century thinkers conceptualized the circuits of extraction and violence linking Britain to its global network. Yet the book’s most pressing argument is that this past thought can be a resource for reimagining the present.

    • Literary theory
      December 2018

      Ecological Form

      System and Aesthetics in the Age of Empire

      by Hensley, Nathan

      Ecological Form brings together leading voices in nineteenth-century ecocriticism to suture the lingering divide between postcolonial and ecocritical approaches. Together, these essays show how Victorian thinkers used aesthetic form to engage problems of system, interconnection, and dispossession that remain our own. The authors reconsider Victorian literary structures in light of environmental catastrophe; coordinate “natural” questions with sociopolitical ones; and underscore the category of form as a means for generating environmental—and therefore political—knowledge. Moving from the elegy and the industrial novel to the utopian romance, the scientific treatise, and beyond, Ecological Form demonstrates how nineteenth-century thinkers conceptualized the circuits of extraction and violence linking Britain to its global network. Yet the book’s most pressing argument is that this past thought can be a resource for reimagining the present.

    • Literary theory
      October 2017

      Expectation

      Philosophy, Literature

      by Nancy, Jean-Luc

      Expectation is a major volume of Jean-Luc Nancy’s writings on literature, written across three decades but, for the most part, previously unavailable in English. More substantial than literary criticism, these essays collectively negotiate literature’s relation to philosophy. Nancy pursues such questions as literature’s claims to truth, the status of narrative, the relation of poetry and prose, and the unity of a book or of a text, and he addresses a number of major European writers, including Dante, Sterne, Rousseau, Hölderlin, Proust, Joyce, and Blanchot. The final section offers a number of impressive pieces by Nancy that completely merge his concerns for philosophy and literature and philosophy-as-literature. These include a lengthy parody of Valéry’s “La Jeune Parque,” several original poems by Nancy, and a beautiful prose-poetic discourse on an installation by Italian artist Claudio Parmiggiani that incorporates the Faust theme. Opening with a substantial Introduction by Jean-Michel Rabaté that elaborates Nancy’s importance as a literary thinker, this book constitutes the most substantial statement to date by one of today’s leading philosophers on a discipline that has been central to his work across his career.

    • Literary theory
      October 2017

      Expectation

      Philosophy, Literature

      by Nancy, Jean-Luc

      Expectation is a major volume of Jean-Luc Nancy’s writings on literature, written across three decades but, for the most part, previously unavailable in English. More substantial than literary criticism, these essays collectively negotiate literature’s relation to philosophy. Nancy pursues such questions as literature’s claims to truth, the status of narrative, the relation of poetry and prose, and the unity of a book or of a text, and he addresses a number of major European writers, including Dante, Sterne, Rousseau, Hölderlin, Proust, Joyce, and Blanchot. The final section offers a number of impressive pieces by Nancy that completely merge his concerns for philosophy and literature and philosophy-as-literature. These include a lengthy parody of Valéry’s “La Jeune Parque,” several original poems by Nancy, and a beautiful prose-poetic discourse on an installation by Italian artist Claudio Parmiggiani that incorporates the Faust theme. Opening with a substantial Introduction by Jean-Michel Rabaté that elaborates Nancy’s importance as a literary thinker, this book constitutes the most substantial statement to date by one of today’s leading philosophers on a discipline that has been central to his work across his career.

    • Literary theory
      October 2017

      Flashpoints for Asian American Studies

      by Schlund-Vials, Cathy J.

      Emerging from mid-century social movements, Civil Rights Era formations, and anti-war protests, Asian American studies is now an established field of transnational inquiry, diasporic engagement, and rights activism. These histories and origin points analogously serve as initial moorings for Flashpoints for Asian American Studies, a collection that considers–almost fifty years after its student protest founding--the possibilities of and limitations inherent in Asian American studies as historically entrenched, politically embedded, and institutionally situated interdiscipline. Unequivocally, Flashpoints for Asian American Studies investigates the multivalent ways in which the field has at times and—more provocatively, has not—responded to various contemporary crises, particularly as they are manifest in prevailing racist, sexist, homophobic, and exclusionary politics at home, ever-expanding imperial and militarized practices abroad, and neoliberal practices in higher education.

    • Literary theory
      October 2017

      Flashpoints for Asian American Studies

      by Schlund-Vials, Cathy J.

      Emerging from mid-century social movements, Civil Rights Era formations, and anti-war protests, Asian American studies is now an established field of transnational inquiry, diasporic engagement, and rights activism. These histories and origin points analogously serve as initial moorings for Flashpoints for Asian American Studies, a collection that considers–almost fifty years after its student protest founding--the possibilities of and limitations inherent in Asian American studies as historically entrenched, politically embedded, and institutionally situated interdiscipline. Unequivocally, Flashpoints for Asian American Studies investigates the multivalent ways in which the field has at times and—more provocatively, has not—responded to various contemporary crises, particularly as they are manifest in prevailing racist, sexist, homophobic, and exclusionary politics at home, ever-expanding imperial and militarized practices abroad, and neoliberal practices in higher education.

    • Literary theory
      October 2017

      Flashpoints for Asian American Studies

      by Schlund-Vials, Cathy J.

      Emerging from mid-century social movements, Civil Rights Era formations, and anti-war protests, Asian American studies is now an established field of transnational inquiry, diasporic engagement, and rights activism. These histories and origin points analogously serve as initial moorings for Flashpoints for Asian American Studies, a collection that considers–almost fifty years after its student protest founding--the possibilities of and limitations inherent in Asian American studies as historically entrenched, politically embedded, and institutionally situated interdiscipline. Unequivocally, Flashpoints for Asian American Studies investigates the multivalent ways in which the field has at times and—more provocatively, has not—responded to various contemporary crises, particularly as they are manifest in prevailing racist, sexist, homophobic, and exclusionary politics at home, ever-expanding imperial and militarized practices abroad, and neoliberal practices in higher education.

    • Literary theory
      October 2017

      Flashpoints for Asian American Studies

      by Schlund-Vials, Cathy J.

      Emerging from mid-century social movements, Civil Rights Era formations, and anti-war protests, Asian American studies is now an established field of transnational inquiry, diasporic engagement, and rights activism. These histories and origin points analogously serve as initial moorings for Flashpoints for Asian American Studies, a collection that considers–almost fifty years after its student protest founding--the possibilities of and limitations inherent in Asian American studies as historically entrenched, politically embedded, and institutionally situated interdiscipline. Unequivocally, Flashpoints for Asian American Studies investigates the multivalent ways in which the field has at times and—more provocatively, has not—responded to various contemporary crises, particularly as they are manifest in prevailing racist, sexist, homophobic, and exclusionary politics at home, ever-expanding imperial and militarized practices abroad, and neoliberal practices in higher education.

    • Literary theory
      March 2018

      Last Things

      Disastrous Form from Kant to Hujar

      by Khalip, Jacques

      With the “arrival” of the so-called era of the Anthropocene, certain contemporary theoretical approaches have led us to think that we are only now properly beginning to speculate on an inhuman world that is not for us, as well as confronting our fears and anxieties around ecological, political, social, and philosophical extinction. Reflections on apocalypse and disaster, however, were not foreign to what we historically call romanticism, but in Last Things, Jacques Khalip begins with the “end of things” differently, treating lastness otherwise than either a privation or a conclusion. He emphasizes quieter and non-emphatic modes of thinking the end of the world of thought itself. Without fear, foreshadowing, or catastrophe, Khalip explores lastness as a form, structure, or unit that marks the limits of our life and world, and he reads the fate of romanticism (and romantic studies) within the key of the last. Although this is a reading one could never wish for, it is one, Khalip argues, that we urgently have to make today. The book is not an elegy to the human, or to romanticism; rather, it polemically argues that we should read romanticism as a negative force that exceeds theories, narratives, and figures of survival and sustainability. Each chapter explores a diverse range of romantic and contemporary materials: poetry by John Clare, Emily Dickinson, John Keats, Percy Shelley, and William Wordsworth; philosophical texts by William Godwin, David Hume, Immanuel Kant, and Jean-Jacques Rousseau; paintings by Hubert Robert, Caspar David Friedrich, and Paterson Ewen; installations by Tatsuo Miyajima and James Turrell; and photography by John Dugdale, Peter Hujar, and Joanna Kane. Shuttling between different temporalities, Last Things undertakes an original reorganization of romantic thought for contemporary culture. It examines an “archive” that is on the side of disappearance, perishing, the inhuman, and lastness.

    • Literary theory
      March 2018

      Last Things

      Disastrous Form from Kant to Hujar

      by Khalip, Jacques

      The arrival of the Anthropocene brings the suggestion that we are only now beginning to speculate on an inhuman world that is not for us, only now confronting fears and anxieties of ecological, political, social, and philosophical extinction. While pointing out that reflections on disaster were not foreign to what we historically call romanticism, Last Things pushes romantic thought toward an altogether new way of conceiving the “end of things,” one that treats lastness as neither privation nor conclusion. Through quieter, non-emphatic modes of thinking the end of human thought, Khalip explores lastness as what marks the limits of our life and world. Reading the fate of romanticism—and romantic studies—within the key of the last, Khalip refuses to elegize or celebrate our ends, instead positing romanticism as a negative force that exceeds theories, narratives, and figures of survival and sustainability. Each chapter explores a range of romantic and contemporary materials: poetry by John Clare, Emily Dickinson, John Keats, Percy Shelley, and William Wordsworth; philosophical texts by William Godwin, David Hume, Immanuel Kant, and Jean-Jacques Rousseau; paintings by Hubert Robert, Caspar David Friedrich, and Paterson Ewen; installations by Tatsuo Miyajima and James Turrell; and photography by John Dugdale, Peter Hujar, and Joanna Kane. Shuttling between temporalities, Last Things undertakes an original reorganization of romantic thought for contemporary culture. It examines an archive on the side of disappearance, perishing, the inhuman, and lastness.

    • Literary theory
      March 2018

      Last Things

      Disastrous Form from Kant to Hujar

      by Khalip, Jacques

      With the “arrival” of the so-called era of the Anthropocene, certain contemporary theoretical approaches have led us to think that we are only now properly beginning to speculate on an inhuman world that is not for us, as well as confronting our fears and anxieties around ecological, political, social, and philosophical extinction. Reflections on apocalypse and disaster, however, were not foreign to what we historically call romanticism, but in Last Things, Jacques Khalip begins with the “end of things” differently, treating lastness otherwise than either a privation or a conclusion. He emphasizes quieter and non-emphatic modes of thinking the end of the world of thought itself. Without fear, foreshadowing, or catastrophe, Khalip explores lastness as a form, structure, or unit that marks the limits of our life and world, and he reads the fate of romanticism (and romantic studies) within the key of the last. Although this is a reading one could never wish for, it is one, Khalip argues, that we urgently have to make today. The book is not an elegy to the human, or to romanticism; rather, it polemically argues that we should read romanticism as a negative force that exceeds theories, narratives, and figures of survival and sustainability. Each chapter explores a diverse range of romantic and contemporary materials: poetry by John Clare, Emily Dickinson, John Keats, Percy Shelley, and William Wordsworth; philosophical texts by William Godwin, David Hume, Immanuel Kant, and Jean-Jacques Rousseau; paintings by Hubert Robert, Caspar David Friedrich, and Paterson Ewen; installations by Tatsuo Miyajima and James Turrell; and photography by John Dugdale, Peter Hujar, and Joanna Kane. Shuttling between different temporalities, Last Things undertakes an original reorganization of romantic thought for contemporary culture. It examines an “archive” that is on the side of disappearance, perishing, the inhuman, and lastness.

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