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After the Nation

Postnational Satire in the Works of Carlos Fuentes and Thomas Pynchon

Pedro García-Caro Foreword by Jean Franco

After the Nation proposes a series of groundbreaking new approaches to novels, essays, and short stories by Carlos Fuentes and Thomas Pynchon within the framework of a hemispheric American studies. García-Caro offers a pioneering comparativist approach to the contemporary American and Mexican literary canons and their underlying nationalist encodement through the study of a wide range of texts by Pynchon and Fuentes which question and historicize in different ways the processes of national definition and myth-making deployed in the drawing of literary borders. After the Nation looks at these literary narratives as postnational satires that aim to unravel and denounce the combined hegemonic processes of modernity and nationalism while they start to contemplate the ensuing postnational constellations. These are texts that playfully challenge the temporal and spatial designs of national themes while they point to and debase “holy” borders, international borders as well as the internal lines where narratives of nation are embodied and consecrated.

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Bodily Desire, Desired Bodies

Gender and Desire in Early Twentieth-Century German and Austrian Novels and Paintings

Esther K. Bauer

Bodily Desire, Desired Bodies examines the diverse ways that literary works and paintings can be read as screens onto which new images of masculinity and femininity are cast. Esther Bauer focuses on German and Austrian writers and artists from the 1910s and 1920s —specifically authors Franz Kafka, Vicki Baum, and Thomas Mann, and painters Otto Dix, Christian Schad, and Egon Schiele—who gave spectacular expression to shifting trends in male and female social roles and the organization of physical desire and the sexual body.

Bauer’s comparative approach reveals the ways in which artists and writers echoed one another in undermining the gender duality and highlighting sexuality and the body. As she points out, as sites of negotiation and innovation, these works reconfigured bodies of desire against prevailing notions of sexual difference and physical attraction and thus became instruments of social transformation.

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Demonic History

From Goethe to the Present

Kirk Wetters

In this ambitious book, Kirk Wetters traces the genealogy of the demonic in German literature from its imbrications in Goethe to its varying legacies in the work of essential authors, both canonical and less well known, such as Gundolf, Spengler, Benjamin, Lukács, and Doderer. Wetters focuses especially on the philological and metaphorological resonances of the demonic from its core formations through its appropriations in the tumultuous twentieth century.

Propelled by equal parts theoretical and historical acumen, Wetters explores the ways in which the question of the demonic has been employed to multiple theoretical, literary, and historico-political ends. He thereby produces an intellectual history that will be consequential both to scholars of German literature and to comparatists.

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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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Kantian Transpositions

Derrida and the Philosophy of Religion

Eddis N. Miller

Kantian Transpositions presents an important new reading of Jacques Derrida’s writings on religion and ethics. Eddis Miller argues that Derrida’s late texts on religion constitute an interrogation of the meaning and possibility of a “philosophy of religion.” It is the first book to fully engage Derrida’s claim, in “Faith and Knowledge: The Two Sources of ‘Religion’ at the Limits of Reason Alone” to be transposing the Kantian gesture of thinking religion “within the limits of reason alone.”

Miller outlines the terms of this “transposition” and reads Derrida’s work as an attempt to enact such a transposition. Along the way, he stakes out new ground in the debate over deconstruction and ethics, showing—against recent interpretations of Derrida’s work—that there is an ethical moment in Derrida’s writings that cannot be understood properly without accounting for the decisive role played by Kant’s ethics. The result is the most sustained demonstration yet offered of Kant’s indispensible contribution to Derrida’s thought.      

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The Linguistic Dimension of Kant's Thought

Historical and Critical Essays

Edited by Frank Schalow and Richard Velkley

Among modern philosophers, Immanuel Kant (1724–1804) has few rivals for his influence over the development of contemporary philosophy as a whole. While the issue of language has become a key fulcrum of continental philosophy since the twentieth century, Kant has been overlooked as a thinker whose breadth of insight has helped to spearhead this advance.

The Linguistic Dimension of Kant’s Thought remedies this historical gap by gathering new essays by distinguished Kant scholars. The chapters examine the many ways that Kant’s philosophy addresses the nature of language. Although language as a formal structure of thought and expression has always been part of the philosophical tradition, the “linguistic dimension” of these essays speaks to language more broadly as a practice including communication, exchange, and dialogue.

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