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A Biography of John Cage

Kenneth Silverman

A man of extraordinary and seemingly limitless talents—musician, inventor, composer, poet, and even amateur mycologist—John Cage became a central figure of the avant-garde early in his life and remained at that pinnacle until his death in 1992 at the age of eighty. Award-winning biographer Kenneth Silverman gives us the first comprehensive life of this remarkable artist. Silverman begins with Cage’s childhood in interwar Los Angeles and his stay in Paris from 1930 to 1931, where immersion in the burgeoning new musical and artistic movements triggered an explosion of his creativity. Cage continued his studies in the United States with the seminal modern composer Arnold Schoenberg, and he soon began the experiments with sound and percussion instruments that would develop into his signature work with prepared piano, radio static, random noise, and silence. Cage’s unorthodox methods still influence artists in a wide range of genres and media. Silverman concurrently follows Cage’s rich personal life, from his early marriage to his lifelong personal and professional partnership with choreographer Merce Cunningham, as well as his friendships over the years with other composers, artists, philosophers, and writers. 

Drawing on interviews with Cage’s contemporaries and friends and on the enormous archive of his letters and writings, and including photographs, facsimiles of musical scores, and Web links to illustrative sections of his compositions, Silverman gives us a biography of major significance: a revelatory portrait of one of the most important cultural figures of the twentieth century.

 

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Boarding Out

Inhabiting the American Urban Literary Imagination, 1840-1860

David Faflik

Modernity in its American, nineteenth-century, early industrial incarnation meant movement, not stasis; noise, not silence; anxiety, not equanimity; diversity, not uniformity.

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Foucault, Politics, and Violence

Johnanna Oksala

In her book, Oksala shows that the arguments for the ineliminability of violence from the political are often based on excessively broad, ontological conceptions of violence distinct from its concrete and physical meaning and, on the other hand, on a restrictively narrow and empirical understanding of politics as the realm of conventional political institutions.

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A Herzen Reader

Alexander Herzen, Kathleen Parthe

A Herzen Reader presents one hundred essays and editorials Alexander Herzen (1812-1870), most written for The Bell, a newspaper he launched with Nikolai Ogaryov in London in 1857.

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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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The Kingdom of Insignificance

Miron Bialoszewski and the Quotidian, the Queer, and the Traumatic

Joanna Nizynska

Joanna Niżyńska has written the first scholarly book in English on Miron Białoszewski (1922 – 1983), a major figure in twentieth-century Polish literature.

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The Living Moment

Modernism in a Broken World

Jeffrey Hart

In the spirit of Lionel Trilling, Edmund Wilson, and Susan Sontag, the renowned literary critic Jeffrey Hart writes The Living Moment, a close reading of literature as it intersects with the political. Hart’s book is an even-handed guide for anyone toddling into the mists of the modernist moment, effortlessly moving between such modernist monuments as Eliot’s “The Waste Land,” Hemingway’s A Farewell to Arms, Mann’s Doctor Faustus, and Fitzgerald’s The Great Gatsby. Hart’s most stunning achievement is his brilliant inclusion of Marilynne Robinson’s Gilead as a modernist text, for the way the novel teaches us to see more, to hear more, to feel more. Hart’s dazzling study is an examination of important works of literature as they explore the experience of living in a broken world with thought and sometimes with examples of resolve that possess permanent validity. The Living Moment is for anyone who is wearied by so much of today’s trendy, narrow, and ideologically driven criticism.

 

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The Nature of Trauma in American Novels

Michelle Balaev

In The Nature of Trauma in the American Novel, Michelle Balaev undertakes an ambitious rethinking of the foundations, implementations, and new possibilities of literary trauma theory.

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Nostalgia

Origins and Ends of an Unenlightened Disease

Helmut Illbruck

Nostalgia: Origins and Ends of an Unenlightened Disease is a comprehensive, insistent, and profound historical-theoretical discourse of nostalgia.

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The Poetics of Unremembered Acts

Reading, Lyric, Pedagogy

Brian McGrath

In The Poetics of Unremembered Acts McGrath takes poetry’s declining cultural significance as a symptom of a cultural fascination with haste and decisiveness that the lyric in fact exposes and thereby throws into question.

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