Cover

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Title Page, Copyright, Dedication

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Contents

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pp. vii-viii

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Acknowledgments

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pp. ix-xii

In chapter 2 of this book, I cite Stephen Jay Gould’s remarkable description of the encyclopedic procedure of Darwin’s work. “Whenever he introduces a major subject,” Gould writes, “Darwin fires a volley of disparate facts, all related to the argument at hand—usually the claim that a particular phenomenon originated as a product of history. ...

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Introduction: Materialist Literature

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pp. xiii-xxvi

In his critique of what he calls “the modernist project” and I call Enlightenment modernism, Bruno Latour argues that “matter is not given but a recent historical creation” (1999, 207). “Philosophers and sociologists of techniques,” he writes, ...

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1. Intangible Materialism

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pp. 1-34

Intangible Materialism examines the possibility of a conception of materialism and matter beyond the reductionism of Cartesian mechanics and its heirs. It aims at substantiating Norbert Wiener’s assertion that information is as basic to any contemporary concept of materialism as matter and energy are to that concept in classical science. ...

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2. The Faces of Consilience: Levels of Understanding and the Negative Science of Semiotics

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pp. 35-70

At the beginning of Stephen Gaukroger’s masterful intellectual biography of Descartes, he tells a remarkable story. “Since the eighteenth century,” he writes, ...

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3. Material Voices: Tourette Syndrome, Neurobiology, and the Affect of Poetry

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pp. 71-96

In this chapter, I examine the relationship of poetry to the neurobiological condition known as Tourette syndrome in order to describe a kind of physiological materialism that situates itself within the hierarchy of levels of organization I examined in the preceding chapter. ...

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4. The History of the Hand: Peirce’s Index, Attention, and the Power of Narrative

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pp. 97-126

Chapter 3 examines the relationship between physiological materialism of voice and the formal affective elements of poetry; this chapter examines the relationship between the evolutionary materialism of the hand and the elements of literary narrative. ...

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5. Pain, Memory, and Religious Suffering: Materiality and the Subject of Poetry

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pp. 127-170

In this chapter, I describe the relations among pain, memory, and religious suffering. In doing so, I take up, in another register, the physiology of voices I examined in Tourette syndrome, the communality and semiotics I examined in the evolution of the work of our hands, and the hierarchy of materialism I am tracing throughout Intangible Materialism altogether. ...

Notes

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pp. 171-206

Bibliography

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pp. 207-220

Index

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pp. 221-244

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About the Author

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Ronald Schleifer is George Lynn Cross Research Professor of English and adjunct professor in the College of Medicine at the University of Oklahoma. ...