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Cultural Politics and the Poetics of Presence
"Capturing the Beat Moment" examines the assumptions the Beats made about the moment and their attempt to “capture” this “immediacy,” focusing on the works of Kerouac and Ginsberg as well as on those of women and African American Beat writers.
Paul Carus of Open Court
"I am not a common atheist; I am an atheist who loves God."—Paul Carus, "The God of Science," 1904
In the summer of 1880, while teaching at the military academy of the Royal Corps of Cadets of Saxony in Dresden, Paul Carus published a brief pamphlet denying the literal truth of scripture and describing the Bible as a great literary work comparable to the Odyssey.
This unremarkable document was Carus’s first step in a wide-ranging intellectual voyage in which he traversed philosophy, science, religion, mathematics, history, music, literature, and social and political issues. The Royal Corps, Carus later reported, found his published views "not in harmony with the Christian spirit, in accordance with which the training and education of the Corps of Cadets should be conducted." And so the corps offered the young teacher the choice of asking "most humbly for forgiveness for daring to have an opinion of my own and to express it, perhaps even promise to publish nothing more on religious matters, or to give up my post. I chose the latter. . . . There was thus no other choice for me but to emigrate and, trusting in my own powers, to establish for myself a new home." His resignation was effective on Easter Sunday, 1881.
Carus toured the Rhine, lived briefly in Belgium, and taught in a military college in England to learn English well enough to "thrive in the United States." By late 1884 or early 1885 he was on his way to the New World. Thriving in the United States proved more difficult than it had in England, but before 1885 ended he had published his first philosophical work in English, Monism and Meliorism. The book was not widely read, but it did reach Edward C. Hegeler, a La Salle, Illinois, zinc processor who became his father-in-law as well as his ideological and financial backer.
Established in La Salle, Carus began the work that would place him among the prominent American philosophers of his day and make the Open Court Publishing Company a leading publisher of philosophical, scientific, and religious books. He edited The Open Court and The Monist, offering the finest view of Oriental thought and religion then available in the West, and sought unsuccessfully to bring about a second World Parliament of Religions. He befriended physicist-philosopher Ernst Mach. For eleven years he employed D. T. Suzuki, who later became a great Zen Buddhist teacher. He published more articles by Charles S. Peirce, now viewed as one of the great world philosophers, in The Monist than appeared in any other publication.
Biographer Harold Henderson concludes his study of this remarkable man: "Whenever anyone is so fired with an idea that he or she can’t wait to write it down, there the spirit of Paul Carus remains, as he would have wished, active in the world."
A Legal History Documentary Reader
Edited collection of primary sources from America’s transformative Civil War and Reconstruction period that document the profound legal changes that took place during the Civil War era but also highlight how law, society, and politics inextricably mixed and set American legal development on particular paths that were not predetermined.
A hybrid work that straddles popular history and serious scholarship, “1893 Chicago” focuses in some depth on important people, places, events, and developments that made 1893 one of Chicago’s greatest years. In addition to the famous Columbian Exposition that took place that year, there were also a surprising number of impressive developments in art, architecture, literature, sports, education, business, political reform, sanitation engineering, medicine, and more. In a sense, 1893 was the year in which Chicago transitioned from being simply a busy Midwestern city to a world metropo
The 90th Illinois Volunteers in the Civil War
This thoroughly documented, comprehensive regimental history describes the battles and movements of Chicago’s Irish Catholic Volunteer Regiment in the Western campaigns of the Civil War from the regiment’s 1862 formation through its discharge in June 1865.
Collection of 8 essays about leadership, morale, and historical commemoration of the 1863 Campaign for Chickamauga. The campaign resulted in the war’s only major Confederate victory west of the Appalachians, on September 19-20 at the battle of Chickamauga, but the victory failed to achieve the truly decisive results that many high-ranking Confederates had expected.
In Cinema Muto, Jesse Lee Kercheval examines the enduring themes of time, mortality, and love as revealed through the power of silent film. Following the ten days of the annual Le Giornate del Cinema Muto in Italy, this collection of ekphrastic poems are love letters to the evocative power of silent cinema. Kercheval’s poems elegantly capture the allure of these rare films, which compel hundreds of pilgrims from around the world—from scholars and archivists, to artists and connoisseurs—to flock to Italy each autumn. Cinema Muto celebrates the flickering tales of madness and adventure, drama and love, which are all too often left to decay within forgotten vaults. As reels of Mosjoukine and D. W. Griffith float throughout the collection, a portrait also emerges of the simple beauty of Italy in October and of two lovers who are drawn together by their mutual passion for an extinct art. Together they revel in recapturing “the black and white gestures of a lost world.”
Cinema Muto is a tender tribute to the brief yet unforgettable reign of silent film. Brimming with stirring images of dreams, desire, and the ghosts of cinema legends gone by, Kercheval’s verse is a testament to the mute beauty and timeless lessons that may still be discovered in a fragile roll of celluloid.
Taking its concept of concentricity from the eponymous Ralph Waldo Emerson essay, Circle, the first collection from Victoria Chang, adopts the shape as a trope for gender, family, and history. These lyrical, narrative, and hybrid poems trace the spiral trajectory of womanhood and growth and plot the progression of self as it ebbs away from and returns to its roots in an Asian American family and context. Locating human desire within the helixes of politics, society, and war, Chang skillfully draws arcs between T’ang Dynasty suicides and Alfred Hitchcock leading ladies, between the Hong Kong Flower Lounge and an all-you-can-eat Sunday brunch, the Rape of Nanking and civilian casualties in Iraq.