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Brett Foster is Associate Professor of English at Wheaton College. He is currently completing Elemental Rebel: The Rime of Cecco Angiolieri. A past Wallace Stegner and Elizabethan Club fellow, his poetry and criticism has appeared in Raritan, The Kenyon Review, Best New Poets 2007, and Books & Culture, among other publications.
This innovative study brings the early writings of Mikhail Bakhtin into conversation with Max Scheler and Fyodor Dostoevsky to explore the question of what makes emotional co-experiencing ethically and spiritually productive. In Problems of Dostoevsky's Poetics, Bakhtin's well-known concept of the dialogical partner expresses what he sees as the potential of human relationships in Dostoevsky's work. But his earlier reflections on the ethical and aesthetic uses of empathy, in part inspired by Scheler's philosophy, suggest a still more fundamental form of communication that operates as a basis for human togetherness in Dostoevsky. Applying this rich and previously neglected theoretical apparatus in a literary analysis, Wyman examines the obstacles to active empathy in Dostoevsky's fictional world, considers the limitations and excesses of empathy, addresses the problem of frustrated love in The Idiot and Notes from Underground, and provides a fresh interpretation of two of Dostoevsky's most iconic characters, Prince Myshkin and Alyosha Karamazov.
In God, the Flesh, and the Other, the philosopher Emmanuel Falque joins the ongoing debate about the role of theology in phenomenology. An important voice in the second generation of French philosophy’s “theological turn,” Falque examines philosophically the fathers of the Church and the medieval theologians on the nature of theology and the objects comprising it. Falque works phenomenology itself into the corpus of theology. Theological concepts thus translate into philosophical terms that phenomenology should legitimately question: concepts from contemporary phenomenology such as onto-theology, appearance, reduction, body/flesh, inter-corporeity, the genesis of community, intersubjectivity, and the singularity of the other find penetrating analogues in patristic and medieval thought forged through millennia of Christological and Trinitarian debate, mystical discourses, and speculative reflection. Through Falque’s wide-ranging interpretive path, phenomenology finds itself interrogated—and renewed.
In Goethe and Judaism, Schutjer aims to provide a broad, though by no means exhaustive, literary study that is neither apologetic nor reductive, that attends to the complexity and irony of Goethe’s literary work but takes his representations of Judaism seriously as an integral part of his thought and writing. She is thus concerned not simply with accusing or acquitting Goethe of prejudice but rather with discerning the function and logic of his relationship to Judaism, as seen within his work. Her premise is that Goethe’s conception of modernity—his anxieties as well as his most affirmative vision concerning the trajectory of his age—are deeply entwined with his conception of Judaism. Schutjer argues that behind his very mixed representations of Jews and Judaism stand crucial tensions within his own thinking and a distinct anxiety of influence. Indeed, Goethe, she contends, paradoxically wrestles against precisely those impulses in Judaism for which he feels the greatest affinity, which most approach his own vision of modernity. The discourse of wandering in Goethe’s work serves as a key site where Judaism and modernity meet.
The Evolution of a Classic in Imperial and Soviet Russia
Moeller Sally, Stephen
Gogol's claim to the title of national literary classic is incontestable. An exemplar of popular audiences no less than for the intelligentsia, Gogol was pressed into service under the tsarist and Soviet regimes for causes both aesthetic and political, official and unofficial. In Gogol's Afterlife, Stephen Moeller Sally explores how he achieved this peculiar brand of cultural authority and later maintained it, despite dramatic shifts in the organization of Russian literature and society.
Christina Pugh’s Grains of the Voice exhibits a pervasive fascination with sound in all its manifestations. The human voice, musical instruments, the sounds produced by the natural and man-made worlds—all serve at one time or another as both the framework of poems and the occasion for their lightning-quick changes of direction, of tone, of point of reference. The poems are eclectic in their allusiveness, filled with echoes—and sometimes the words themselves—of other poets, but just as often of songs both popular and obscure, of the noise of pop culture, and of philosophers’ writings. But Pugh always wears her learning lightly. Beneath the jewellike surfaces of her poems is a strenuous investigation of the nature of and need for communication and a celebration of the endless variety of its forms.
Greg Alan Brownderville is an assistant professor of English at Lincoln University in Jefferson City, Missouri. His poems have appeared in Oxford American, Prairie Schooner, Arkansas Review, and other publications.
Edited by Julia Creet, Sara R. Horowitz, and Amira Bojadzija-Dan
H. G. Adler: Life, Literature, Legacy is the first collection of essays in English dedicated to the life and work of German-language author H. G. Adler. Among the international scholars of German, Jewish, and Holocaust literature and history who reveal the range of Adler’s legacy across genres are Adler’s son, Jeremy Adler, and Peter Filkins, translator of Adler’s trilogy, Panorama (The Journey). Together, the essays examine Adler’s writing in relation to his life, especially his memory as a survivor of the Nazi death camps and his posthumous recognition for having produced a Gesamtkunstwerk, an aesthetic synthesis of the Shoah. The book carries the moral charge of Adler’s work, moving beyond testimony to a complex dialectic between fact and fiction, exploring Adler’s experiments with voice and the ethical work of literary engagement with the Shoah.
Recent years have witnessed a resurgence of scholarly interest in the work of Johann Georg Hamann (1730–1788), across disciplines. New translations of work by and about Hamann are appearing, as are a number of books and articles on Hamann’s aesthetics, theories of language and sexuality, and unique place in Enlightenment and counter-Enlightenment thought.
Edited by Lisa Marie Anderson, Hamann and the Tradition gathers established and emerging scholars to examine the full range of Hamann’s impact—be it on German Romanticism or on the very practice of theology. Of particular interest to those not familiar with Hamann will be a chapter devoted to examining—or in some cases, placing—Hamann in dialogue with other important thinkers, such as Socrates, David Hume, Friedrich Nietzsche, Martin Buber, Franz Rosenzweig, and Ludwig Wittgenstein.
A Staging Ground for Community, Class, and Contradiction, 1923-1939
Adrienne Macki Braconi
Based on a vast amount of archival research, Adrienne Macki Braconi’s illuminating study of three important community-based theaters in Harlem shows how their work was essential to the formation of a public identity for African Americans and the articulation of their goals, laying the groundwork for the emergence of the Civil Rights movement. Macki Braconi uses textual analysis, performance reconstruction, and audience reception to examine the complex dynamics of productions by the Krigwa Players, the Harlem Experimental Theatre, and the Negro Theatre of the Federal Theatre Project. Even as these theaters demonstrated the extraordinary power of activist art, they also revealed its limits. The stage was a site in which ideological and class differences played out, theater being both a force for change and a collision of contradictory agendas. Macki Braconi’s book alters our understanding of the Harlem Renaissance, the roots of the Civil Rights movement, and the history of community theater in America.
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