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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.
Joshua S. Hoeynck, Case Western Reserve University
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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.
Eva Darias-Beautell, Universidad de La Laguna, Spain
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200pp. ¦ $60 £43 €49
Examining the centrality of the city in Canadian literary production post-1960, this collection of critical essays presents an interdisciplinary representation of the urban from a variety of backgrounds and perspectives. By analysing contemporary Canadian literature (in English), the contributors intend to produce not only an alternative picture of the national literary traditions but also fresh articulations of the relationship between (Canadian) identity, citizenship, and nation. Since the 1960s, metropolitan regions across the world have experienced radical transformation. For critical urban studies scholars, this phenomenon has been described as a ‘restructuring’. This study argues that in Canada this ‘restructuring’ has been accompanied by a literary rearrangement of its canon, consisting of a gradual shift of focus from the wild or rural to the urban. Alluding to the changes within contemporary Canadian cities, the term ‘postmetropolis’ locates the contributors’ shared theoretical framework within a critical postmodern paradigm. Centered on a particular selection of poetic or fictional texts, each essay pushes the theoretical framework further, suggesting the need for new tools of interpretation and analysis. This book presents an urban literary portrait of Canada that is both thematically and conceptually coherent. Using a range of interdisciplinary methodologies, it adeptly navigates a range of urban issues such as surveillance, asylum, diaspora, mobility, the queer, and the post-political. This book will be of interest to those studying or working on Canadian literature, both in Canada and internationally, as well as to those scholars engaged in investigations that intersect literature and urban studies.
Adam Bednarczyk, Nicolaus Copernicus University in Torun, Poland et al.
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282pp. ¦ $63 £45 €51
The work presents articles discussing various subjects relating to literary, cultural borders and borderlands as well as their crossings with the Orient and the Occident. A broad, multifaceted scope of the volume draws the attention of readers to the problem of liminal spaces between cultures, genres, codes and languages of literary and artistic communication. The perspective of borderness proposed by orientalists, literary specialists, culture experts provide insights into multi-dimensional and heterogenic subjects and methods of consideration. The authors referring to, inter alia, comparative studies, theory of reception, intertextuality, transculturality of the East and West works touch upon themes such as coexistence, exclusion, crossing or the instability of borders. Also by taking into account identity issues, the interpenetration of various influences between different literatures, poetics and languages, the readers gain a broader context of intercultural dialogue between the Orient and Occident, what allow them to transgress barriers of a purely artistic, literary reception of the book contents. The volume – due to the abundance of proposed topics, its heterogeneous representations and manifold approaches used in analysis, discussion and (re)interpretations – is a debate’s record or a result of an academic reflection rather than a comprehensive monograph.