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Rhetoric, Text, and Subjectivity
What is it that makes language powerful? This book uses the psychoanalytic concepts of narcissism and libidinal investment to explain how rhetoric compels us and how it can effect change.
The works of Joseph Conrad, James Baldwin, Michael Foucault, Jacques Derrida, Arthur Miller, D.H. Lawrence, Ben Jonson, George Orwell, and others are the basis of this thoughtful exploration of the relationship between language and subject. Bringing together ideas from Freudian, post- Freudian, Lacanian, and post-structuralist schools, Alcorn investigates the power of the text that underlies the reader response approach to literature in a strikingly new way. He shows how the production of literary texts begins and ends with narcissistic self-love, and also shows how the reader's interest in these texts is directed by libidinal investment.
Psychoanalysts, psychologists, and lovers of literature will enjoy Alcorn's diverse and far-reaching insights into classic and contemporary writers and thinkers.
The Environmental Vision of C. S. Lewis
The remarkable breadth of C. S. Lewis’s (1898–1963) work is nearly as legendary as the fantastical tales he so inventively crafted. A variety of themes emerge in his literary output, which spans the genres of nonfiction, fantasy, science fiction, and children’s literature, but much of the scholarship examining his work focuses on religion or philosophy. Overshadowed are Lewis’s views on nature and his concern for environmental stewardship, which are present in most of his work. In Narnia and the Fields of Arbol: The Environmental Vision of C. S. Lewis, authors Matthew Dickerson and David O’Hara illuminate this important yet overlooked aspect of the author’s visionary work. Dickerson and O’Hara go beyond traditional theological discussions of Lewis’s writing to investigate themes of sustainability, stewardship of natural resources, and humanity’s relationship to wilderness. The authors examine the environmental and ecological underpinnings of Lewis’s work by exploring his best-known works of fantasy, including the seven books of the Chronicles of Narnia and the three novels collectively referred to as the Space Trilogy. Taken together, these works reveal Lewis’s enduring environmental concerns, and Dickerson and O’Hara offer a new understanding of his pioneering style of fiction. An avid outdoorsman, Lewis deftly combined an active imagination with a deep appreciation for the natural world. Narnia and the Fields of Arbol, the first book-length work on the subject, explores the marriage of Lewis’s environmental passion with his skill as a novelist and finds the author’s legacy to have as much in common with the agrarian environmentalism of Wendell Berry as it does with the fantasy of J. R. R. Tolkien. In an era of increasing concern about deforestation, climate change, and other environmental issues, Lewis’s work remains as pertinent as ever. The widespread adaption of his work in film lends credence to the author’s staying power as an influential voice in both fantastical fiction and environmental literature. With Narnia and the Fields of Arbol, Dickerson and O’Hara have written a timely work of scholarship that offers a fresh perspective on one of the most celebrated authors in literary history.
Rereading Genius in Mid-Century Modern Fictional Memoir
Narrating Demons, Transformative Texts: Rereading Genius in Mid-Century Modern Fictional Memoir, by Daniel T. O’Hara, acknowledges that the modern conception of literary genius is probably most lucidly expressed in the criticism of Lionel Trilling. But O’Hara also demonstrates that certain important and widely read mid-century modern fictional memoirs subversively return to an earlier conception that emphasizes the demonic nature of genius, a conception that is associated with the occult and the visionary and embraces the vision of evil articulated in earlier literature. O’Hara argues that Thomas Mann’s Doctor Faustus (1947), Vladimir Nabokov’s Lolita (1955), and William Burroughs’s Naked Lunch (1959) all demonstrate an imagining of genius in art and in life that stands in stark and total opposition to the emerging post–World War II age of conformity. These influential works show that genius is inherently a dangerous reality, albeit a creative one. Despite its most transcendent appearances, the full immanence of this conception of demonic genius condemns the modern world to a Last Judgment that is every bit as severe as any envisioned in the Western religious traditions.
Culiacán and Medellín
Critical examination of cultural works as windows into the symbolic dimensions and representations of the narcotics world in Culiacán, Mexico, and Medellín, Colombia, two of the most notorious drug-producing areas of the Americas. Through text analyses, ethnographic fieldwork, and archival research, Polit Dueñas examines the impact and representation of new codes of ethics and morals associated with the drug trade. The analysis is a comparative view of the emerging forms in which fiction writers and artists represent violence and the culture of violence associated with narcotrafficking (both within and across class, racial, ethnic, gender, and generational lines) in both cities.
A Poetics of Talmudic Legal Stories
In Narrating the Law Barry Scott Wimpfheimer creates a new theoretical framework for considering the relationship between law and narrative and models a new method for studying talmudic law in particular.
Works of law, including the Talmud, are animated by a desire to create clear usable precedent. This animating impulse toward clarity is generally absent in narratives, the form of which is better able to capture the subtleties of lived life. Wimpfheimer proposes to make these different forms compatible by constructing a narrative-based law that considers law as one of several "languages," along with politics, ethics, psychology, and others that together compose culture. A narrative-based law is capable of recognizing the limitations of theoretical statutes and the degree to which other cultural languages interact with legal discourse, complicating any attempts to actualize a hypothetical set of rules. This way of considering law strongly resists the divide in traditional Jewish learning between legal literature (Halakhah) and nonlegal literature (Aggadah) by suggesting the possibility of a discourse broad enough to capture both. Narrating the Law activates this mode of reading by looking at the Talmud's legal stories, a set of texts that sits uncomfortably on the divide between Halakhah and Aggadah. After noticing that such stories invite an expansive definition of law that includes other cultural voices, Narrating the Law also mines the stories for the rich descriptions of rabbinic culture that they encapsulate.
Examining English Language Teachers' Professional Identities within the Classroom
“…a groundbreaking book that will…engage, inform, and connect with present and future teachers and teacher educators.” ---Stephanie Vandrick, Foreword to Narrating Their Lives The field of TESOL has called attention to the ways that the issues of race and ethnicity, language status and power, and cultural background affect second language learners’ identities and, to some degree, those of teachers. In Narrating Their Lives, Kamhi-Stein examines the process of identity construction of classroom teachers so as to make connections between their personal and professional identities and their instructional practices. To do that, she has selected six autobiographical narratives from teachers who were once part of her TESL 570 (Educational Sociolinguistics) class in the MA TESOL program at California State University, Los Angeles. These six narratives cover a surprisingly wide range of identity issues but also touch on broader instructional themes that are part of teacher education programs. Because of the reflective nature of the narratives—with the teachers using their stories to better understand how their experiences shape what they do in the classroom—this volume includes provocative chapter-opening and reflective chapter-closing questions. An informative discussion of the autobiographical narrative assignment and the TESL 570 course (including supplemental course readings and assessment criteria) is also included.
Vol. 10 (2002) through current issue
Narrative is the official journal of The Society for the Study of Narrative Literature, the association for scholars interested in narrative. Narrative's broad range of scholarship includes the English, American, and European novel, nonfiction narrative, film, and narrative as used in performance art.
Interrogating stories told about life after deconstruction, and discovering instead a kind of afterlife of deconstruction, Daniel Punday draws on a wide range of theorists to develop a rigorous theory of narrative as an alternative model for literary interpretation. Drawing on an observation made by Jean-François Lyotard, Punday argues that at the heart of narrative are concrete objects that can serve as “lynchpins” through which many different explanations and interpretations can come together. Narrative after Deconstruction traces the often grudging emergence of a post-deconstructive interest in narrative throughout contemporary literary theory by examining critics as diverse as Jacques Derrida, Gilles Deleuze, Elizabeth Grosz, and Edward Said. Experimental novelists like Ronald Sukenick, Raymond Federman, Clarence Major, and Kathy Acker likewise work through many of the same problems of constructing texts in the wake of deconstruction, and so provide a glimpse of this post-deconstructive narrative approach to writing and interpretation at its most accomplished and powerful.
Theories and Practices
Voices of Israeli Backpackers
Backpacking, or Tarmila’ut, has been a time-honored rite of passage for young Israelis for decades. Shortly after completing their mandatory military service, young people set off on extensive backpacking trips to “exotic” and “authentic” destinations in so-called Third World regions in India, Nepal, and Thailand in Asia, and also Colombia, Ecuador, Peru, Brazil, Chile, and Argentina in Central and South America. Chaim Noy collects the words and stories of Israeli backpackers to explore the lively interplay of quotations, constructed dialogues, and social voices in the backpackers’ stories and examine the crucial role they play in creating a vibrant, voiced community. A Narrative Community illustrates how, against the peaks of Mt. Everest, avalanches, and Incan cities, the travelers’ storytelling becomes an inherently social drama of shared knowledge, values, hierarchy, and aesthetics. Based on forty-five in-depth narrative interviews, the research in this book examines how identities and a sense of belonging emerge on different social levels—the individual, the group, and the collective—through voices that evoke both the familiar and the Other. In addition, A Narrative Community makes a significant contribution to modern tourism literature by exploring the sociolinguistic dimension related to tourists’ accounts and particularly the transformation of self that occurs with the experience of travel. In particular, it addresses the interpersonal persuasion that travelers use in their stories to convince others to join in the ritual of backpacking by stressing the personal development that they have gained through their journeys. This volume is groundbreaking in its dialogical conceptualization of the interview as a site of cultural manifestation, innovation, and power relations. The methods employed, which include qualitative sampling and interviewing, clearly demonstrate ways of negotiating, manifesting, and embodying speech performances. Because of its unique interdisciplinary nature, A Narrative Community will be of interest to sociolinguists, folklore scholars, performance studies scholars, tourism scholars, and those interested in social discourses in Israel.