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Incapacity

Wittgenstein, Anxiety, and Performance Behavior

Spencer Golub

In this highly original study of the nature of performance, Spencer Golub uses the insights of Ludwig Wittgenstein into the way language works to analyze the relationship between the linguistic and the visual in the work of a broad range of dramatists, novelists, and filmmakers, among them Richard Foreman, Mac Wellman, Peter Handke, David Mamet, and Alfred Hitchcock. Like Wittgenstein, these artists are concerned with the limits of language’s representational capacity. For Golub, it is these limits that give Wittgenstein’s thought a further, very personal significance—its therapeutic quality with respect to the Obsessive Compulsive Disorder from which he suffers.

Underlying what Golub calls “performance behavior” is Wittgenstein’s notion of “pain behavior”—that which gives public expression to private experience. Golub charts new directions for exploring the relationship between theater and philosophy, and even for scholarly criticism itself.

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Infinite Phenomenology

The Lessons of Hegel's Science of Experience

John Russon

Infinite Phenomenology builds on John Russon’s earlier book, Reading Hegel’s Phenomenology, to offer a second reading of Hegel’s Phenomenology of Spirit. Here again, Russon writes in a lucid, engaging style and, through careful attention to the text and a subtle attunement to the existential questions that haunt human life, he demonstrates how powerfully Hegel’s philosophy can speak to the basic questions of philosophy. In addition to original studies of all the major sections of the Phenomenology, Russon discusses complementary texts by Hegel, namely, the Philosophy of Spirit, the Philosophy of Right, and the Science of Logic. He concludes with an appendix that discusses the reception and appropriation of Hegel’s Phenomenology in twentieth-century French philosophy. As with Russon’s earlier work, Infinite Phenomenology will remain essential reading for those looking to engage Hegel’s essential, yet difficult, text.

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An Innocent Abroad

Lectures in China

J. Hillis Miller

Since 1988, J. Hillis Miller has traveled to China to lecture on literary theory, especially the role of globalization in literary theory. Over time, he has assisted in the development of distinctively Chinese forms of literary theory, Comparative Literature, and World Literature. The fifteen lectures gathered in An Innocent Abroad span both time and geographic location, reflecting his work at universities across China for more than twenty-five years. More important, they reflect the evolution of Miller’s thinking and of the lectures’ contexts in China as these have markedly changed over the years, especially on either side of Tiananmen Square and in light of China’s economic growth and technological change. A foreword by the leading theorist Fredric Jameson provides additional context.

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The Institutions of Russian Modernism

Conceptualizing, Publishing, and Reading Symbolism

Jonathan Stone

The Institutions of Russian Modernism illuminates the key role of Symbolism as the earliest form of modernism in Russia, emerging seemingly ex nihilo at the end of the nineteenth century. Combining book history, periodical studies, and reception theory, Jonathan Stone examines the poetry and theory of Russian Symbolism within the framework of the institutions that organized, published, and disseminated the works to Russian readers. Surveying a wealth of examples of books, journals, and almanacs, Stone traces how publishers of Symbolist works marketed the movement and fashioned a Symbolist reader. His persuasive argument that after its eclipse Symbolism's legacy remained embedded in the heart of Russian modernism will be of interest to scholars and general readers.

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The International Strindberg

New Critical Essays

Anna Westerståhl Stenport

This fine collection of essays offers a wide range of new and original perspectives on Strindberg and his relation to modern and contemporary literature.

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Intimate Relations

Social Reform and the Late Nineteenth-Century South Asian Novel

Krupa Shandilya

Intimate Relations remaps the discussion on gender and the nation in South Asia through a close study of the domestic novel as a literary genre and a tool for social reform. As a product of the intersection of literary and social reform movements, in the late nineteenth century the domestic novel became a site for literary innovation and also for rethinking women’s roles in society and politics. Krupa Shandilya focuses primarily on social reform movements that negotiated the intimate relations between men and women in Hindu and Muslim society, namely, the widow remarriage act in Bengal (1856) and the education of women promoted by the Aligarh movement (1858–1900). Both movements were invested in recovering woman as a “respectable” subject for the Hindu and Muslim nation, where respectability connoted asexual spirituality. While most South Asian literary scholarship has focused on a normative Hindu woman, Intimate Relations couples discussion of the representation of the widow in bhadralok (upper-caste, middle-class) society with that of the courtesan of sharif (upper-class, Muslim, feudal) society in Bengali and Urdu novels from the 1880s to the 1920s. By drawing together their disparate histories in the context of contemporaneous social reform movements, Shandilya reflects on the similarities of Hindu and Islamic constructions of the gendered nation.

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Irony's Antics

Walser, Kafka, Roth, and the German Comic Tradition

Erica Weitzman

Irony’s Antics marks a major intervention into the underexplored role of the comic and its relationship to irony in German letters.
Combining theoretical breadth with close textual analysis, Erica Weitzman shows how irony, a key term for the German romantics, reemerged in the early twentieth century from a postromantic relegation to the nonsensical and the nihilistic in a way that both rethought romantic irony and dramatically extended its reach.
Through readings of works by Robert Walser, Franz Kafka, and Joseph Roth against the rich history of comic theory (particularly Hegel and Freud), Weitzman traces the development of a specifically comic irony in modern German-language literature and philosophy, a play with the irony that is itself the condition for all play. She thus provides a crucial reevaluation of German literary history and offers new insights into the significance of irony and the comic from the Enlightenment to the present day.

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Is Feminist Philosophy Philosophy?

Emanuela Bianchi

Drawing attention to the vexed relationship between feminist theory and philosophy, Is Feminist Philosophy Philosophy? demonstrates the spectrum of significant work being done at this contested boundary. The volume offers clear statements by seventeen distinguished scholars as well as a full range of philosophical approaches; it also presents feminist philosophers in conversation both as feminists and as philosophers, making the book accessible to a wide audience.

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Isaac Babel and the Self-Invention of Odessan Modernism

Rebecca Jane Stanton

In what marks an exciting new critical direction, Rebecca Stanton contends that the city of Odessa—as a canonical literary image and as a kaleidoscopic cultural milieu—shaped the narrative strategies developed by Isaac Babel and his contemporaries of the Revolutionary generation. Modeling themselves on the tricksters and rogues of Odessa lore, Babel and his fellow Odessans Val­entin Kataev and Yury Olesha manipulated their literary personae through complex, playful, and often subversive negotiations of the boundary between autobiography and fiction. In so doing, they cannily took up a place prepared for them in the Russian canon and fostered modes of storytelling that both reflected and resisted the aesthetics of Socialist Realism. Stanton concludes with a rereading of Babel’s “autobiographical” stories and examines their leg­acy in post-Thaw works by Kataev, Olesha, and Konstantin Paustovsky.

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Islamic Africa

Vol. 5 (2014)

Islamic Africa is a peer-reviewed, multidisciplinary, academic journal published by Northwestern University Press in collaboration with the Institute for the Study of Islamic Thought in Africa (ISITA), based at Northwestern University, Evanston. The journal incorporates Sudanic Africa, retaining its focus on historical sources, bibliographies, and methodologies. Islamic Africa promotes interaction between scholars of Islam and Africa across all continents and across historical periods.

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