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WhetherAligned with the mechanismwhereby the spirit is borne aloftthrough song comes againthe question: whether. And not soothedso much as opened by the boysoprano's Sanctus, what movesin the mind as the throat constrictsin sympathy, one note peeledfrom the last, fine as paper slippedfrom a garlic bulb, veined,translucent, is whether-as ifwound through the spiralingamplitude, purpled, fretted,one voice suspendedin concentration of prayer or terrorwills itself above faltering,more perfect since time mustsoon break it. And made it.Whether and by whatever impossiblearrangement of stars, harmonies,correspondences through whichthe music finds the spirit and likea blade slits and releases,circulates the questionthrough the phrase, the delicateengine-as if it matters: the songrises, everything goes with it.The poems in Crocus take as their starting points the interior universes created by myth, art, andmemory, and through the exploration of these terrains create new ways of understanding the ordinary.
Dwelling with Negatives, Embodying Philosophy's Others
Exploring the risks, ambiguities, and unstable conceptual worlds of contemporary thought, Crossover Queries brings together the wide-ranging writings, across twenty years, of one of our most important philosophers.Ranging from twentieth-century European philosophy-the thought of Heidegger, Foucault, Derrida, Levinas, Janicaud, and others-to novels and artworks, music and dance, from traditional Jewish thought to Jain andBuddhist metaphysics, Wyschogrod's work opens radically new vistas while remaining mindful that the philosopher stands within and is responsible to a philosophical legacy conditioned by the negative.Rather than point to a Hegelian dialectic of overcoming negation or to a postmetaphysical exhaustion, Wyschogrod treats negative moments as opening novel spaces for thought. She probes both the desire for God and an ethics grounded in the interests of the other person, seeing these as moments both of crossing over and of negation. Alert to the catastrophes that have marked our times, she exposes the underlying logical structures of nihilatory forces that have been exerted to exterminate whole peoples. Analyzing the negationsof biological research and cultural images of mechanized and robotic bodies, she shows how they contest the body as lived in ordinary experience.Crossover Queries brings together important essays on a remarkable range of topics by one of our most insightful cultural critics. Commenting on philosophical and theological issues that have shaped the recent past as well as scientific and technological questions that will preoccupy us in the near future, Wyschogrod consistently alerts us to the urgency of problems whose importance few recognize. To avoid the challenge these essays pose is to avoid responsibility for a future that appears to be increasingly fragile.-Mark C. Taylor, Columbia University
The Greek Left and the Terror of the State
WINNER OF THE 2011 VICTOR TURNER PRIZE, Society for Humanistic Anthropology WINNER OF THE 2011 EDMUND KEELEY BOOK PRIZE, Modern Greek Studies Association HONORABLE MENTION IN ARCHEOLOGY & ANTHROPOLOGY, 2009 Prose Awards This book simultaneously tells a story-or rather, stories-and a history. The stories are those of Greek Leftists as paradigmatic figures of abjection, given that between 1929 and 1974 tens of thousands of Greek dissidents were detained and tortured in prisons, places of exile, and concentration camps. They were sometimes held for decades, in subhuman conditions of toil and deprivation.The history is that of how the Greek Left was constituted by the Greek state as a zone of danger. Legislation put in place in the early twentieth century postulated this zone. Once the zone was created, there was always the possibility-which came to be a horrific reality after the Greek Civil War of 1946 to 1949-that the state would populate it with its own citizens. Indeed, the Greek state started to do so in 1929, by identifying ever-increasing numbers of citizens as Leftistsand persecuting them with means extending from indefinite detention to execution. In a striking departure from conventional treatments, Neni Panourgi\~ places the Civil War in a larger historical context, within ruptures that have marked Greek society for centuries. She begins the story in 1929, when the Greek state set up numerous exile camps on isolated islands in the Greek archipelago. The legal justification for these camps drew upon laws reaching back to 1871-originally directed at controlling brigands-that allowed the death penalty for those accused and the banishment of their family members and anyone helping to conceal them. She ends with the 2004 trial of the Revolutionary Organization 17 November.Drawing on years of fieldwork, Panourgi\~ uses ethnographic interviews, archival material, unpublished personal narratives, and memoirs of political prisoners and dissidents to piece together the various microhistories of a generation, stories that reveal how the modern Greek citizen was created as a fraught political subject.Her book does more than give voice to feelings and experiences suppressed for decades. It establishes a history for the notion of indefinite detention that appeared as a legal innovation with the Bush administration. Part of its roots, Panourgi\~ shows, lie in the laboratory that Greece provided for neo-colonialism after the Truman Doctrine and under the Marshall Plan.
In this book, Teodolinda Barolini explores the sources of Italian literary culture in the figures of its lyric poets and its three crowns: Dante, Petrarch, and Boccaccio. Barolini views the origins of Italian literary culture through four prisms: the ideological/philosophical, the intertextual/multicultural, the structural/formal, and the social.The essays in the first section treat the ideology of love and desire from the early lyric tradition to the Inferno and its antecedents in philosophy and theology. In the second, Barolini focuses on Dante as heir to both the Christian visionary and the classical pagan traditions (with emphasis on Vergil and Ovid). The essays in the third part analyze the narrative character of Dante's Vita nuova, Petrarch's lyric sequence, and Boccaccio's Decameron. Barolini also looks at the cultural implications of the editorial history of Dante's rime and at what sparso versus organico spells in the Italian imaginary. In the section on gender, she argues that the didactic texts intended for women's use and instruction, as explored by Guittone, Dante, and Boccaccio-but not by Petrarch-were more progressive than the courtly style for which the Italian tradition is celebrated.Moving from the lyric origins of the Divine Comedy in Dante and the Lyric Pastto Petrarch's regressive stance on gender in Notes toward a Gendered History of Italian Literature-and encompassing, among others, Giacomo da Lentini, Guido Cavalcanti, and Guittone d'Arezzo-these sixteen essays by one of our leading critics frame the literary culture of thirteenth-and fourteenth-century Italy in fresh, illuminating ways that will prove useful and instructive to students and scholars alike.
Literature and Learning Not to Read
Reading is good for us. The reading of literature, we are told, enlarges our horizons, extends our experience beyond our own lives. But the moral and political dangers that attend the association of reading with experience have long been understood. And is that association even valid? What if precisely our most important literary texts are constructed so as to challenge or disrupt it? This book is a radical criticism of the concept of reading,especially of the concept of thereader, as commonly used in literary criticism. Bennett starts with the point that readingdoes not name a single, identifiable type of experience or class of experiences. Her then sketches in broad terms the historical provenance of thereader, in an argument that includes discussions of Dante, Boccaccio, Cervantes, Marlowe, and German idealist philosophy. In two concluding chapters on modern German novellas, he suggests that most major European literary works since the eighteenth century are written in direct opposition to the central concepts by which criticism has sought to lay hold of them.
Mediocrity, Dirtiness, Adulthood, Literature
Almost all twentieth-century philosophy stresses the immanence of death in human life-as drive (Freud), as the context of Being (Heidegger), as the essence of our defining ethics (Levinas), or as language (de Man, Blanchot). In Death's Following, John Limon makes use of literary analysis (of Sebald, Bernhard, and Stoppard), cultural analysis, and autobiography to argue that death is best conceived as always transcendentally beyond ourselves, neither immanent nor imminent. Adapting Kierkegaard's variations on the theme of Abraham's near-sacrifice of Isaac while refocusing the emphasis onto Isaac, Limon argues that death should be imagined as if hiding at the end of an inexplicable journey to Moriah. The point is not to evade or ignore death but to conceive it more truly, repulsively, and pervasively in its camouflage: for example, in jokes, in logical puzzles, in bowdlerized folk songs. The first of Limon's two key concepts is adulthood: the prolonged anti-ritual for experiencing the full distance on the look of death. His second is dirtiness, as theorized in a Jewish joke, a logical exemplum, and T. S. Eliot's "Ash Wednesday": In each case, unseen dirt on foreheads suggests the invisibility of inferred death. Not recognizing death immediately or admitting its immanence and imminence is for Heidegger the defining characteristic of the "they," humanity in its inauthentic social escapism. But Limon vouches throughout for the mediocrity of the "they" in its dirty and ludicrous adulthood. Mediocrity is the privileged position for previewing death, in Limon's opinion: practice for being forgotten. In refusing the call of twentieth-century philosophy to face death courageously, Limon urges the ethical and aesthetic value of mediocre anti-heroism.
Conversations with Contemporary Thinkers
This important book brings together in one volume a collection of illuminating encounters with some of the most important philosophers of our age-by one of its most incisive and innovative critics.For more than twenty years, Richard Kearney has been in conversation with leading philosophers, literary theorists, anthropologists, and religious scholars. His gift is eliciting memorably clear statements about their work from thinkers whose writings can often be challenging in their complexity. Here, he brings together twenty-one originally published extraordinary conversations-his 1984 collection Dialogues: The Phenomenological Heritage, his 1992 Visions of Europe: Conversations on the Legacy and Future of Europe, and his 1995 States of Mind: Dialogues with Contemporary Thinkers. Featured interviewees include Stanislas Breton, Umberto Eco, Hans-Georg Gadamer, Herbert Marcus, George Steiner, Julia Kristeva, Emmanuel Levinas, and Jean-Fran?ois Lyotard. To this classic core, he adds recent interviews, previously unpublished, with Paul Ricoeur, Jean-Luc Marion, Jacques Derrida, and George DumZzil, as well as six colloquies about his own work.Wide-ranging and accessible, these interviews provide a fascinating guide to the ideas, concerns, and personalities of thinkers who have shaped modern intellec-tual life. This book will be an essential point of entry for students, teachers, scholars, and anyone seeking to understand contemporary culture.ContentsPrefacePart One: Recent DebatesJacques Derrida: Terror, Religion, and the New PoliticsJean-Luc Marion: The Hermeneutics of RevelationPaul Ricour: (a) On Life Stories (b) On The Crisis of Authority (c) The Power of the Possible (d) Imagination, Testimony, and TrustGeorges Dumzil: Myth, Ideology, SovereigntyPart Two: From Dialogues: The Phenomenological Heritage, 1984Emmanuel Levinas: Ethics of the InfiniteHerbert Marcuse: The Philosophy of Art and PoliticsPaul Ricour: (a) The Creativity of Language (b) Myth as the Bearer of Possible WorldsStanislas Breton: Being, God, and the Poetics of RelationJacques Derrida: Deconstruction and the OtherPart Three: From States of Mind, 1995Julia Kristeva: Strangers to Ourselves: The Hope of the SingularHans Georg Gadamer: Text MattersJean-Franois Lyotard: What Is Just?George Steiner: Culture-The Price You PayPaul Ricour: Universality and the Power of DifferenceUmberto Eco: Chaosmos: The Return to the Middle AgesPart Four: Colloquies with Richard KearneyVillanova Colloquy: Against OmnipotenceAthens Colloquy: Between Selves and OthersHalifax Colloquy: Between Being and God Stony Brook Colloquy: Confronting ImaginationBoston Colloquy: Theorizing the GiftDublin Colloquy: Thinking Is DangerousAppendix: Philosophy as Dialogue
Latina/o Theology and Philosophy
This anthology gathers the work of three generations of Latina/o theologians and philosopher who have taken up the task of decolonizing epistemology by transforming their respective disciplines from the standpoint liberation thought and of what has been called the “decolonial turn” in social theory, theology, and philosophy. At the heart of this collection is the unveiling of subjugated knowledge elaborated by Latina/o scholars who take seriously their social location and that of their communities of accountability and how these impact the development of a different episteme. Refusing to continue to allow to be made invisible by the dominant discourse, this group of scholars show the unsuspecting and original ways in which Latina/o social and historical loci in the US are generative places for the creation of new matrixes of knowledge. The book articulates a new point of departure for the self-understanding of Latina/os, for other marginalized and oppress groups, and for all those seeking to engage the move beyond coloniality as it continues to be present in this age of globalization.
Sovereignty and Public Life in Antebellum American Writing
What is the hangman but a servant of law? And what is that law but an expression of public opinion? And if public opinion be brutal and thou a component part thereof, art thou not the hangman's accomplice?Writing in 1842, Lydia Maria Child articulates a crisis in the relationship of democracy to sovereign power that continues to occupy political theory today. Is sovereignty, with its reliance on singular and exceptional power, fundamentally inimical to democracy? Or might a more fully realized democracy distribute, share, and popularize sovereignty, thus blunting its exceptional character and its basic violence? In Democracy's Spectacle, Jennifer Greiman looks to an earlier moment in the history of American democracy's vexed interpretation of sovereignty to argue that such questions about the popularization of sovereign power shaped debates about political belonging and public life in the antebellum United States. In an emergent democracy that was also an expansionist slave society, Greiman argues, the problems that sovereignty posed were less concerned with a singular and exceptional power lodged in the state than with a power over life and death that involved all Americans intimately.Drawing on Alexis de Tocqueville's analysis of the sovereignty of the people in Democracy in America, along with work by Gustave de Beaumont, Lydia Maria Child, Nathaniel Hawthorne, and Herman Melville, Greiman tracks the crises of sovereign power as it migrates out of the state to become a constitutive feature of the public sphere. Greiman brings together literature and political theory, as well as materials on antebellum performance culture, antislavery activism, and penitentiary reform, to argue that the antebellum public sphere, transformed by its empowerment, emerges as a spectacle with investments in both punishment and entertainment.
Written in the wake of Jacques Derrida's death in 2004, Derrida From Now On attempts both to do justice to the memory of Derrida and to demonstrate the continuing significance of his work for contemporary philosophy and literary theory. If Derrida's thought is to remain relevant for us today, it must be at once understood in its original context and uprooted and transplanted elsewhere. Michael Naas thus begins with an analysis of Derrida's attachment to the French language, to Europe, and to European secular thought, before turning to Derrida's long engagement with the American context and to the ways in which deconstruction allows us to rethink the history, identity, and promise of post-9/11 America. Taking as its point of departure several of Derrida's later works (from Faith and Knowledgeand The Work of Mourning to Rogues and Learning to Live Finally), the book demonstrates how Derrida's analyses of the phantasms of sovereignty, the essential autoimmunity of democracy or religion, or the impossible mourning of the nation-state can help us to understand what is happening today in American culture, literature, and politics. Though Derrida's thought has always lived on only by being translated elsewhere, his disappearance will have driven home this necessity with a new force and an unprecedented urgency. Derrida From Now On is an effect of this force and an attempt to respond to this urgency.