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.

(Beyond) Posthuman Violence: Epic Rewritings of Ethics in the Contemporary Novel

Claudio Murgia, University of Warwick

March 2019 / ISBN: 978-1-62273-638-6
Availability: In stock
220pp. ¦ $60 £45 €51

Neuroscience tells us that the brain is nothing but a metaphor machine capable of extracting meaning from a chaotic reality. Following Agamben, Arendt, Benjamin and Žižek, a theory of violence can be established according to which violence is a reaction on the part of the individual to the frustration generated by having her metaphor machine suppressed by the mythic narrative of the Law. In opposition to mythic violence, Benjamin posits the justice of divine violence. Divine justice is an excess of life, the very uniqueness of the metaphor machine. The individual is affected by a difficulty to communicate her metaphor machine to the Other, as if it were inexpressible. This work explores how the characters in the works of David Foster Wallace, Cormac MacCarthy, J. G. Ballard, Bret Easton Ellis, Chuck Palahniuk, William Gibson, Neal Stephenson, Maurice G. Dantec and China Mieville suffer from these limits of language and the constrictions of the Law. Through violence they look for their individual Voice, intended as their will-to-say, the ‘pure taking place of language’ (Agamben). In their struggle to be heard these characters are however deaf to the Voice of the Other. There is a need for a new Ethics of Narratives expressed through an Epic of the Voice founded on the will-to-listen, along the lines of the concept of the posthuman theorized by Rosi Braidotti. Here subjectivity is a process of constant autopoiesis dependent on the relationship the individual has with the Other and the environment around her, that is, in the reciprocal will-to-say and will-to-listen. Human beings can meet in the taking-place of language, in the place before the suppressive language of the Law is even born, in a meeting of Voices.

Poetic Inquiry as Social Justice and Political Response

Edited by Sandra L. Faulkner, Bowling Green State University, USA and Abigail Cloud, Bowling Green State University, USA

ISBN: 978-1-62273-649-2
Availability: Pre-order
$59 £44 €50

This volume presents refereed work from the 6th International Symposium on Poetic Inquiry (ISPI) and the 17th Annual Winter Wheat: The Mid-American Review Festival of Writing held at Bowling Green State University in 2017. The book speaks to the use of poetry in critical qualitative research and practice focused on social justice. In this collection, poetry is a response, a call to action, agitation, and a frame for future social justice work. The authors engage with poetry’s potential for connectivity, political power, and evocation through methodological, theoretical, performative, and empirical work. The poet-researchers consider questions of how poetry and Poetic Inquiry can be a response to political and social events, be used as a pedagogical tool to critique inequitable social structures, and how Poetic Inquiry speaks to our local identities and politics. The authors answer a question posed in previous ISPI gatherings: “What spaces can poetry create for dialogue about critical awareness, social justice, and re-visioning of social, cultural, and political worlds?” This volume adds to the growing body of Poetic Inquiry through the demonstration of poetry as political action, response, and reflective practice. We hope this collection inspires you to write and engage with political poetry to realize the power of poetry as political action, response, and reflective practice.

Automata’s Inner Movie: Science and Philosophy of Mind

Edited by Manuel Curado, University of Minho, Portugal and Steven S. Gouveia, University of Minho, Portugal

ISBN: 978-1-62273-631-7
Availability: Pre-order
$66 £50 €56

This book brings together researchers from a variety of fields to jointly present and discuss some of the most relevant problems around the conscious mind. This academic plurality perfectly characterizes the complexity with which a current researcher is confronted to discuss and work on this topic. The volume is organized as follows: Part I introduces the general problems of Philosophy of Mind and some historical perspectives. Part II focuses on understanding the input that the empirical sciences can offer to the theoretical problems. Part III discusses some of the core concepts of the field, namely, perception, memory and experience. Part IV debates human and artificial intelligence and, finally, Part V deliberates about the computation and the ethics of big data and artificial intelligence. The book contains valuable material for researchers in several fields such as Cognitive Science and Neuroscience, Psychology and Artificial Intelligence, and Philosophy. It can also be used as a guide to some courses at various levels, from BAs to MAs and PhD courses of several fields. It is our belief, as it is claimed in the preface by Georg Northoff, that there is an urgent need for a truly transdisciplinary exchange between philosophy and the sciences in order to stimulate some real progress. We hope that this book will become a sound step for such an interdisciplinary enterprise.

Monsters, Monstrosities, and the Monstrous in Culture and Society

Edited by Diego Compagna, University of Applied Sciences Munich, Germany and Stefanie Steinhart, University of Klagenfurt, Austria

ISBN: 978-1-62273-536-5
Availability: Pre-order
$68 £51 €58

Existing research on monsters acknowledges the deep impact monsters have especially on Politics, Gender, Life Sciences, Aesthetics and Philosophy. From Sigmund Freud’s essay ‘The Uncanny’ to Scott Poole’s ‘Monsters in America’, previous studies offer detailed insights about uncanny and immoral monsters. However, our anthology wants to overcome these restrictions by bringing together multidisciplinary authors with very different approaches to monsters and setting up variety and increasing diversification of thought as ‘guiding patterns’. Existing research hints that monsters are embedded in social and scientific exclusionary relationships but very seldom copes with them in detail. Erving Goffman’s doesn’t explicitly talk about monsters in his book ‘Stigma’, but his study is an exceptional case which shows that monsters are stigmatized by society because of their deviations from norms, but they can form groups with fellow monsters and develop techniques for handling their stigma. Our book is to be understood as a complement and a ‘further development’ of previous studies: The essays of our anthology pay attention to mechanisms of inequality and exclusion concerning specific historical and present monsters, based on their research materials within their specific frameworks, in order to ‘create’ engaging, constructive, critical and diverse approaches to monsters, even utopian visions of a future of societies shared by monsters. Our book proposes the usual view, that humans look in a horrified way at monsters, but adds that monsters can look in a critical and even likewise frightened way at the very societies which stigmatize them.

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