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"There are as many different kinds of good book as there are different kinds of good writer. Each has something to give us. We should admire each in so far as he strikes us as good in his particular kind." In order properly to appreciate good writing we need to cultivate a point of view from which a work's aesthetic qualities occupy our centre vision. This happens naturally with other art forms such as music, where the appeal is purely aesthetic. With literature, we can benefit from instruction in how to read. Such instruction has rarely been delivered more elegantly than in The Fine Art of Reading, which was David Cecil's inaugural lecture as Goldsmiths' Professor of English Literature at Oxford in 1949. The work combines the author's hallmark attention to detail with accessibility to a general audience. Cecil describes how we all might develop a "faculty of appreciation" - by approaching a piece of literature in an appropriate way; by learning to understand the language in which the work is written; and by broadening our aesthetic sympathies and expanding our taste. Cecil assesses the relative merits of great authors and poets such as Milton, Gray and Shelley, while stressing that the only important distinction is between good and bad art. Proper reading is an art in itself and in this fine essay David Cecil shows himself to be the consummate artist and instructor.
Little magazines made modernism. These unconventional, noncommercial publications may have brought writers such as James Joyce, T. S. Eliot, Ezra Pound, Marianne Moore, Mina Loy, and Wallace Stevens to the world but, as Eric Bulson shows in Little Magazine, World Form, their reach and importance extended far beyond Europe and the United States. By investigating the global and transnational itineraries of the little-magazine form, Bulson uncovers a worldwide network that influenced the development of literature and criticism in Africa, the West Indies, the Pacific Rim, and South America. In addition to identifying how these circulations and exchanges worked, Bulson also addresses equally formative moments of disconnection and immobility. British and American writers who fled to Europe to escape Anglo-American provincialism, refugees from fascism, wandering surrealists, and displaced communists all contributed to the proliferation of print. Yet the little magazine was equally crucial to literary production and consumption in the postcolonial world, where it helped connect newly independent African nations. Bulson concludes with reflections on the digitization of these defunct little magazines and what it means for our ongoing desire to understand modernism's global dimensions in the past and its digital afterlife.
As much as dogs, cats, or any domestic animal, horses exemplify the vast range of human-animal interactions. Horses have long been deployed to help with a variety of human activities--from racing and riding to police work, farming, warfare, and therapy--and have figured heavily in the history of natural sciences, social sciences, and the humanities. Most accounts of the equine-human relationship, however, fail to address the last few centuries of Western history, focusing instead on pre-1700 interactions. Equestrian Cultures fills in the gap, telling the story of how prominently horses continue to figure in our lives, up to the present day. Kristen Guest and Monica Mattfeld place the modern period front and center in this collection, illuminating the largely untold story of how the horse has responded to the accelerated pace of modernity. The book's contributors explore equine cultures across the globe, drawing from numerous interdisciplinary sources to show how horses have unexpectedly influenced such distinctively modern fields as photography, anthropology, and feminist theory. Equestrian Cultures boldly steps forward to redefine our view of the most recent developments in our long history of equine partnership and sets the course for future examinations of this still-strong bond.
The literature of Adrienne Rich, Toni Morrison, Ana Castillo, and Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie teaches a risky, self-giving way of reading (and being) that brings home the dangers and the possibilities of suffering as an ethical good. Working the thought of feminist theologians and philosophers into an analysis of these women's writings, Cynthia R. Wallace crafts a literary ethics attentive to the paradoxes of critique and re-vision, universality and particularity, and reads in suffering a redemptive or redeemable reality. Wallace's approach recognizes the generative interplay between ethical form and content in literature, which helps isolate more distinctly the gendered and religious echoes of suffering and sacrifice in Western culture. By refracting these resonances through the work of feminists and theologians of color, her book also shows the value of broad-ranging ethical explorations into literature, with their power to redefine theories of reading and the nature of our responsibility to art and each other.
A powerful account of a journey to the killing fields of Poland and a brilliant examination of the work and suicide of Primo Levi head this cast of dazzling essays. Kenneth Sherman brings a beautiful, laconic style and originality of thought to these various peices that include incisive readings of H.G. Wells, Czeslaw Milosz, Tomas Transtromer, as well as a convincing reconsideration of Rupert Brooke. As the title, Void and Voice suggests, all these pieces point to that interplay between absense and presence, emptiness and the human voice of creation that arises to counter it. Kenneth Sherman already has a reputation as an extraordinary poet and this book will demonstrate that he is also one of our best essayists.
Leo Bersani, known for his provocative interrogations of psychoanalysis, sexuality, and the human body, centers his latest book on a surprisingly simple image: a newborn baby simultaneously crying out and drawing its first breath. These twin ideas--absorption and expulsion, the intake of physical and emotional nourishment and the exhalation of breath--form the backbone of Receptive Bodies, a thoughtful new essay collection. These titular bodies range from fetuses in utero to fully eroticized adults, all the way to celestial giants floating in space. Bersani illustrates his exploration of the body's capacities to receive and resist what is ostensibly alien using a typically eclectic set of sources, from literary icons like Marquis de Sade to cinematic provocateurs such as Bruno Dumont and Lars von Trier. This sharp and wide-ranging book will excite scholars of Freud, Foucault, and film studies, or anyone who has ever stopped to ponder the give and take of human corporeality.
This book is about the popular cinema of North India ("Bollywood") and how it recasts literary classics. It addresses questions about the interface of film and literature, such as how Bollywood movies rework literary themes, offer different (broader or narrower) interpretations, shift plots, stories, and characters to accommodate the medium and the economics of the genre, sometimes even changing the way literature is read. This book addresses the socio-political implications of popular reinterpretations of "elite culture", exploring gender issues and the perceived "sexism" of the North Indian popular film and how that plays out when literature is reworked into film. Written by an international group of experts on Indian literature and film, the chapters in this book focus on these central questions, but also cover a wide range of literary works that have been adapted in film. Each part of the book discusses how a particular genre of literature has been "recast" into film. The individual chapters focus on comparisons and close studies of individual films or film songs inspired by "classics" of literature. The book will be of interest to those studying Indian film and literature and South Asian popular culture more generally.
This book uses both words and photographs to illustrate the central role that the ballad, the Miorita, plays in Romanian culture. By combining the insights of an American and a Romanian scholar with a vision of Romanian pastoral life developed by a leading American photographer, the reader is introduced to one of the most complicated and elusive cultural icons in European civilization. It is, however, one that continues to permeate Romanian culture and offers, to those who take the time to study it, an approach to life which will resonate closely with much modern experience and understanding.
This publishing event has it origins in an American photographic exhibit intended for a Romanian audience in 1986 when the Ceausescu's communist regime was rejecting most American cultural offerings. The American hoped at that time to make a gesture of support and encouragement to the Romanians by this act of homage to one of their major cultural icons. In any event, the communist Council of Culture forbade the display of the exhibit which is now for the first time being made available for study. The two introductions, one by an American specialist in Romanian studies and one by a Romanian professor of Romanian literature, provide two perspectives on the Miorita and insure that the reader will understand why the ballad is central to Romanian consciousness and why it has a message of great seriousness and insight for modern man of any origin.
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