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Series: Series in Literary Studies

Illness as Method: Beckett, Kafka, Mann, Woolf and Eliot

Jayjit Sarkar, Raiganj University, India

April 2019 / ISBN: 978-1-62273-635-5
Availability: In stock
116pp. ¦ $39 £29 €33

This work questions the problematic connections between illness and modernity: the complicated negotiations involving the body both in its physicality and phenomenology and the poetics and praxiality of illness. The project, which is predominantly conceptual in nature, for it does not see illness solely as a clinical-physical category (leaning heavily on the medical sciences), but rather perspectivizes its phenomenology and pathographical limits and manifestations, lateralizing on its critical correspondences with a selection of modernist texts ranging from Virginia Woolf to Samuel Beckett. The book unearths different ‘possibilities’ of illness without denying its (quite natural) association with morbidity, pain, suffering, dying and death. It looks at illness and its effects on different bodies phenomenologically with the help of some twentieth-century philosophers, including Martin Heidegger, Jean Luc-Nancy, Maurice Merleau-Ponty, Jean-Paul Sartre and Emmanuel Levinas. The book locates these phenomenological understandings in a reading of some of the important literary works of early twentieth-century Europe — five literary works from five different genres (poetry, drama, fiction, non-fiction and epistle) — critiquing the relevance of the phenomenological body in the literary and narrative world of the texts. The author deals with Samuel Beckett’s Endgame, Franz Kafka’s letters, Thomas Mann’s Death in Venice, Virginia Woolf’s On Being Ill and T. S. Eliot’s The Wasteland within the aesthetico-philosophical space and the epistemic dialogism that modernist aesthetics implies and espouses.

The Poetics of Fragmentation in Contemporary British and American Fiction

Edited by Vanessa Guignery, École Normale Supérieure de Lyon, France and Wojciech Drąg, University of Wrocław, Poland

February 2019 / ISBN: 978-1-62273-616-4
Availability: In stock
252pp. ¦ $61 £46 €52

The last decades have seen a revival of fragmentation in British and American works of fiction that deny linearity, coherence and continuity in favour of disruption, gaps and fissures. Authors such as Ali Smith, David Mitchell and David Shields have sought new ways of representing our global, media-saturated contemporary experience which differ from modernist and postmodernist experimentations from which the writers nevertheless draw inspiration. This volume aims to investigate some of the most important contributions to fragmentary literature from British and American writers since the 1990s, with a particular emphasis on texts released in the twenty-first century. The chapters within examine whether contemporary forms of literary fragmentation constitute a return to the modernist episteme or the fragmented literature of exhaustion of the 1960s, mark a continuity with postmodernist aesthetics or signal a deviation from past models and an attempt to reflect today’s accelerated culture of social media and over-communication. Contributors theorise and classify literary fragments, examine the relationship between fragmentation and the Zeitgeist (influenced by globalisation, media saturation and social networks), analyse the mechanics of multimodal and multimedial fictions, and consider the capacity of literary fragmentation to represent personal or collective trauma and to address ethical concerns. They also investigate the ways in which the architecture of the printed book is destabilised and how aesthetic processes involving fragmentation, bricolage and/or collage raise ontological, ethical and epistemological questions about the globalised contemporary world we live in and its relation to the self and the other. Besides the aforementioned authors, the volume makes reference to the works of J. G. Ballard, Julian Barnes, Mark Z. Danielewski, David Markson, Jonathan Safran Foer, David Foster Wallace, Jeanette Winterson and several others.

Logoteunison: Literary Easternization in Orhan Pamuk’s Works

Saman Hashemipour, Yeni Yüzyıl University, Turkey

April 2019 / ISBN: 978-1-62273-606-5
Availability: In stock
157pp. ¦ $43 £32 €36

This book explores the enduring European and American interest in literary works portraying Eastern themes and perspectives. It examines how literary Easternization, termed “Logoteunison”, manifests in Western literary works that reflect, embody, or deploy Eastern values or concepts; or else ape, mimic, parody, or pay homage to various Eastern and especially Persian masterpieces. Such repurposing or appropriation is frequently powered by features from the postmodern toolkit: intertextuality, metafiction, fragmentation. The novelist Orhan Pamuk has been influenced (arguably unwittingly) by literary Easternization. In his Western-style works, Pamuk channels Eastern values, creating texts nevertheless in the Western mold and primarily aimed at Western readers. Pamuk uses Istanbul—the writer’s birthplace, a city between two worlds, a halfway land binding together Asia and Europe—both as a physical setting and to symbolically mediate Eastern and Western worldviews. This title has a threefold purpose: by establishing a theoretical and contextual background for Eastern masterpieces and forming a distinctive review of Eastern culture as filtered through Pamuk’s works, it suggests a new theory in literary criticism, one which aims to adopt a novel philosophical approach to the study of literary Easternization. Students of comparative and Turkish literature will find in this volume detailed background information about Turkish, Persian, and Arabic masterpieces, as well as their significant cultural correspondences and affinities, especially regarding their employment of Sufi themes. Any student or scholar interested in the postmodern cross-fertilization of Middle Eastern and Western literature will find this work fascinating and rewarding.

Ecologies in Southeast Asian Literatures: Histories, Myths and Societies

Edited by Chi P. Pham, Institute of Literature, Vietnam Academy of Social Sciences, Vietnam et al.

March 2019 / ISBN: 978-1-62273-633-1
Availability: In stock
166pp. ¦ $35 £26 €30

Ecocriticism in relation to the Southeast Asian region is relatively new. So far, John Charles Ryan’s Ecocriticism in Southeast Asia is the first book of its kind to focus on the region and its literature to give an ecocritical analysis: that volume compiles analyses of the eco-literatures from most of the Southeast Asian region, providing a broad insight into the ecological concerns of the region as depicted in its literatures and other cultural texts. This edited volume furthers the study of Southeast Asian ecocriticism, focusing specifically on prominent myths and histories and the myriad ways in which they connect to the social fabric of the region. Our book is an original contribution to the expanding field of ecocriticism, as it highlights the mytho-historical basis of many of the region’s literatures and their relationship to the environment. The varied articles in this volume together explore the idea of nature and its relationship with humans. The always problematic questions that surround such explorations, such as “why do we regard nature as ‘external’?” or “how is humankind a continuum with nature?”, emerge throughout the volume either overtly or implicitly. As Pepper (1993) points out, what Karl Marx referenced as ‘first’ or ‘external’ nature gave rise to humankind. But humanity “worked on this ‘first’ nature to produce a ‘second’ nature: the material creations of society plus its institutions, ideas and values.” (Pepper, 108). Thus, our volume constantly negotiates this field of ideas and belief systems, in diverse ways and in various cultures, attempting to relate them to the current ecological predicaments of ASEAN. It will likely prove an invaluable resource for scholars and students of ecocriticism and, more broadly, of Southeast Asian cultures and literatures.

Staying Open: Charles Olson’s Sources and Influences

Edited by Joshua S. Hoeynck, Case Western Reserve University

December 2018 / ISBN: 978-1-62273-430-6
Availability: In stock
322pp. ¦ $64 £48 €54

“Staying Open, Charles Olson’s Sources and Influences” investigates the inter-disciplinary influences on the work of the mid-Century American poet, Charles Olson. This edited collection of essays covers Olson’s diverse non-literary interests, including his engagement with the music of John Cage and Pierre Boulez, his interests in abstract expressionism, and his readings of philosopher Alfred North Whitehead. The essays also examine Olson’s pedagogy, which he developed in the experimental environment at Black Mountain College, as well as his six-month archeological journey through the Yucatan Peninsula in 1950 to explore the culture of the Maya. This book will, therefore, be a strong research aid to scholars working in diverse fields – music, archeology, pedagogy, philosophy, art, and psychology – as it outlines methods for close inter-disciplinary work that can uncover the mechanics of Olson’s creative, literary processes. Building on the straightforward scholarship of George Butterick, whose Guide to the Maximus Poems remains indispensable for readers of Olson’s work, the essays in this volume will also guide readers through the thick allusions within The Maximus Poems itself. New interest in the wide-ranging and non-literary nature of Olson’s thought in several recent academic works makes this book both timely and necessary. Physics Envy: American Poetry and Science in the Cold War and After by Peter Middleton as well as Contemporary Olson edited by David Herd have started the process of uncovering the extent to which Olson’s inter-disciplinary interests inflected his poetic compositions. “Staying Open” extends the preliminary investigations of Olson’s non-literary sources in those volumes by bringing together a community of scholars working across disciplines and within a wide variety of humanistic concerns.

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