Saint Augustine's political thought has usually been interpreted by modern readers as suggesting that politics is based on sin. In Augustine and Politics as Longing in the World, John von Heyking shows that Augustine actually considered political life a substantive good that fulfills a human longing for a kind of wholeness.
Rather than showing Augustine as supporting the Christian church's domination of politics, von Heyking argues that he held a subtler view of the relationship between religion and politics, one that preserves the independence of political life. And while many see his politics as based on a natural-law ethic or on one in which authority is conferred by direct revelation, von Heyking shows how Augustine held to an understanding of political ethics that emphasizes practical wisdom and judgment in a mode that resembles Aristotle rather than Machiavelli.
Augustine and Politics as Longing in the World demonstrates some of the deficiencies in the way Augustine's political thought has been interpreted. It also explains why a rereading of his thought illuminates the current debates between "secularists" and proponents of "orthodoxy" and shows why these debates are miscast. By examining Augustine's political thought, von Heyking provides a way of resolving this controversy and shows how we can move beyond conflicting claims and thus moderate yet elevate political life.
Behind Augustine's apparent antipolitical rhetoric lies his substantial agreement with his Roman philosophical interlocutors on virtue and politics. This allegedly antipolitical rhetoric is meant to tame the lust for domination of Roman patriots by showing that lust can never be satisfied by political goods. By opposing extreme "worldliness" with extreme "otherworldliness," Augustine appears to reject politics as a natural good. On the contrary, he affirmed politics as a natural good.
Augustine and Politics as Longing in the World shows how Augustine's belief that politics was a way for humans to fulfill their longings for a kind of wholeness discloses a deeper affirmation of a more meaningful, pluralistic, and robust political life than his interpreters have previously appreciated.
A Bridge of Longing is a compelling history of how Yiddish storytelling became the politics of rescue for successive generations of displaced Jewish artists, embodying their fervent hopes and greatest fears in the languages of tradition. Its protagonists are modern writers who returned to storytelling in the hope of harnessing the folk tradition, and who created copies that are better than the original.
When the cultural revolution failed--as it did for Rabbi Nahman of Bratslaw in the summer of 1806 and for I. L. Peretz in the winter of 1899; for Kiev novelist Sholem Aleichem in 1890 and kibbutz novelist Yosl Birstein in 1960; for Polish-Jewish refugees Isaac Bashevis Singer and Jechiel Isaiah Trunk when they cast ashore in America--there seemed but one route out of the spiritual and creative impasse, and that was storytelling. Yiddish storytelling was a lost art, relegated to obscurity among religious texts and synagogue sermons, then willfully abandoned by Jewish rebels and immigrants seeking more cosmopolitan forms of expression. Thus its recovery is a tale of loss and redemption.
Behind the joyous weddings that end the fairy tales and romances of Rabbi Nahman, I. L. Peretz, Der Nister, and Abraham Sutzkever; beneath the folksy facade of holiday stories by I. M. Dik and Sholem Aleichem, the Bible Poems of Itzik Manger, the demon-monologues of I. B. Singer, there lies, according to David G. Roskies, an aesthetic and moral sensibility totally at odds with the coarse humor and conventional piety of the folk. Taken together, these writers and their deceptively simple folk narratives weave a pattern of rebellion, loss, and retrieval that Roskies calls "creative betrayal"--a pattern he traces from the weddings of Yiddish fantasy to the reinvented traditions of contemporary Jews. His book itself is a delightful expression of the art of storytelling--it is a warm and vivid account.
What do we seek and what do we find when we visit parks and protected areas? What does it mean to become so deeply attached to a beautiful, wild place that it becomes part of one’s identity? And why does it matter if a particular landscape doesn’t speak to one’s soul?
Part memoir and part scholarly analysis of the psychological and societal dimensions of place-creation, Canyon, Mountain, Cloud details the author’s experiences working and living in Black Canyon of the Gunnison National Park, Denali National Park and Preserve, Adirondack State Park, and arctic Alaska. Along the way, Olstad explores canyons, climbs mountains, watches clouds, rafts rivers, searches for fossils, and protects rare and fragile vegetation. She learns and shares local natural and cultural histories, questions perceptions of “wilderness,” deepens her appreciation for wildness, and reshapes her understanding of self and self-in-place.
Anyone who has ever felt appreciation for wild places and who wants to think more deeply about individual and societal relationships with American parks and protected areas will find humor, fear, provocation, wonder, awe, and, above all, inspiration in these pages.
The Ceremonies Of Longing
Sandra Kohler University of Pittsburgh Press, 2003 Library of Congress PS3561.O3577C47 2003 | Dewey Decimal 811.54
Winner of the 2002 Donald Hall Prize for Poetry
In a poetic voice that is at once reflective and lively, Sandra Kohler explores the patterns of everyday life and the inner drama of imagination. Though these poems are mostly set amidst the familiarity of a suburban household and the family garden, this environment appears far from mundane as Kohler peels away the veneer of domestic tranquility to reveal a world busy with human passion and the rhythms of the earth. Nature is present at every turn, an ethereal twin, as the narrator’s emotions take the form of cardinals in flight, a rushing river, or a potato sprouting from the dark.
Grief and the Hero examines Achilles’ experience of the futility of grief in the context of the Iliad’s study of anger. No action can undo his friend Patroklos’ death, but the experience of death drives him to behave as though he can achieve something restorative. Rather than assuming that grief gives rise to anger, as most scholars have done, Grief and the Hero pays close attention to the poem’s representation of the origin of these emotions. In the Iliad, only Achilles’ grief for Patroklos is joined with the word pothê, “longing”; no other grief in the poem is described with this term. The Iliad depicts Achilles’ grief as the rupture of shared life—an insight that generates a new way of reading the epic. Achilles’ anguish drives him to extremes, oscillating between self-isolation and seeking communal expressions of grief; between weeping abundantly and relentlessly pursuing battle; between varied threats of mutilation, deeds of vengeance, and other vows. Yet his yearning for life shared with Patroklos is the common denominator. Here lies the profound insight of the Iliad. All of Achilles’ grief-driven deeds arise from his longing for life with Patroklos, and thus all of these deeds are, in a deep sense, futile. He yearns for something unattainable—undoing the reality of death. Grief and the Hero will appeal not only to scholars and students of Homer but to all humanists. Loss, longing, and even revenge touch many human lives, and the insights of the Iliad have broad resonance.
Jerusalem: City of Longing
Simon Goldhill Harvard University Press, 2010 Library of Congress DS109.15.G66 2008 | Dewey Decimal 956.9442
Jerusalem is the site of some of the most famous religious monuments in the world, from the Dome of the Rock to the Church of the Holy Sepulchre to the Western Wall of the Temple. Since the nineteenth century, the city has been a premier tourist destination, not least because of the countless religious pilgrims from the three Abrahamic faiths.
But Jerusalem is more than a tourist site—it is a city where every square mile is layered with historical significance, religious intensity, and extraordinary stories. It is a city rebuilt by each ruling Empire in its own way: the Jews, the Romans, the Christians, the Muslims, and for the past sixty years, the modern Israelis. What makes Jerusalem so unique is the heady mix, in one place, of centuries of passion and scandal, kingdom-threatening wars and petty squabbles, architectural magnificence and bizarre relics, spiritual longing and political cruelty. It is a history marked by three great forces: religion, war, and monumentality.
In this book, Simon Goldhill takes on this peculiar archaeology of human imagination, hope, and disaster to provide a tour through the history of this most image-filled and ideology-laden city—from the bedrock of the Old City to the towering roofs of the Holy Sepulchre. Along the way, we discover through layers of buried and exposed memories—the long history, the forgotten stories, and the lesser-known aspects of contemporary politics that continue to make Jerusalem one of the most embattled cities in the world.
How a generation of women artists is transforming photography with analogue techniques.
Beginning in the 1990s, a series of major artists imagined the expansion of photography, intensifying its ideas and effects while abandoning many of its former medium constraints. Simultaneous with this development in contemporary art, however, photography was moving toward total digitalization.
Lateness and Longing presents the first account of a generation of artists—focused on the work of Zoe Leonard, Tacita Dean, Sharon Lockhart, and Moyra Davey—who have collectively transformed the practice of photography, using analogue technologies in a dissident way and radicalizing signifiers of older models of feminist art. All these artists have resisted the transition to the digital in their work. Instead—in what amounts to a series of feminist polemics—they return to earlier, incomplete, or unrealized moments in photography’s history, gravitating toward the analogue basis of photographic mediums. Their work announces that photography has become—not obsolete—but “late,” opened up by the potentially critical forces of anachronism.
Through a strategy of return—of refusing to let go—the work of these artists proposes an afterlife and survival of the photographic in contemporary art, a formal lateness wherein photography finds its way forward through resistance to the contemporary itself.
Longing: Poems of a Life
Merle Feld Central Conference of American Rabbis, 2023 Library of Congress PJ5055.21.E425 | Dewey Decimal 892.417
What do we long for as we carry the traumas of our past and look into the future with guarded hope? In Longing: Poems of a Life, acclaimed poet Merle Feld tells her intensely personal story while naming profound human experience. Feld opens forbidden doors and long-shuttered windows, peering through the lattices of memory at moments of anguish, breaking, blessing, surviving. We accompany her through early family violence, isolation, the discovery of community and love; we witness her climb from the loss of possibility to the assertion of self-worth and purpose. Threading through the years are conversations with a mother long gone--"a slip of a girl" whose misplaced loyalty and endless capacity for loving are both cautionary tale and guidepost. Deeply Jewish yet universal, these gripping poems will stay with you.
In the twelfth century, the Catholic Church attempted a thoroughgoing reform of marriage and sexual behavior aimed at eradicating sexual desire from Christian lives. Seeking a refuge from the very serious condemnations of the Church and relying on a courtly culture that was already preoccupied with honor and secrecy, European poets, romance writers, and lovers devised a vision of love as something quite different from desire. Romantic love was thus born as a movement of covert resistance.
In The Making of Romantic Love: Longing and Sexuality in Europe, South Asia, and Japan, William M. Reddy illuminates the birth of a cultural movement that managed to regulate selfish desire and render it innocent—or innocent enough. Reddy strikes out from this historical moment on an international exploration of love, contrasting the medieval development of romantic love in Europe with contemporaneous eastern traditions in Bengal and Orissa, and in Heian Japan from 900-1200 CE, where one finds no trace of an opposition between love and desire. In this comparative framework, Reddy tells an appealing tale about the rise and fall of various practices of longing, underscoring the uniqueness of the European concept of sexual desire.
Miniature books, eighteenth-century novels, Tom Thumb weddings, tall tales, and objects of tourism and nostalgia: this diverse group of cultural forms is the subject of On Longing, a fascinating analysis of the ways in which everyday objects are narrated to animate or realize certain versions of the world. Originally published in 1984 (Johns Hopkins University Press), and now available in paperback for the first time, this highly original book draws on insights from semiotics and from psychoanalytic, feminist, and Marxist criticism. Addressing the relations of language to experience, the body to scale, and narratives to objects, Susan Stewart looks at the "miniature" as a metaphor for interiority and at the "gigantic" as an exaggeration of aspects of the exterior. In the final part of her essay Stewart examines the ways in which the "souvenir" and the "collection" are objects mediating experience in time and space.
Through the eventful life of a Himalayan Buddhist teacher, Khunu Lama, this study reimagines cultural continuity beyond the binary of traditional and modern.
In the early twentieth century, Khunu Lama journeyed across Tibet and India, meeting Buddhist masters while sometimes living, so his students say, on cold porridge and water. Yet this elusive wandering renunciant became a revered teacher of the Fourteenth Dalai Lama. At Khunu Lama’s death in 1977, he was mourned by Himalayan nuns, Tibetan lamas, and American meditators alike. The many surviving stories about him reveal significant dimensions of Tibetan Buddhism, shedding new light on questions of religious affect and memory that reimagines cultural continuity beyond the binary of traditional and modern.
In Renunciation and Longing, Annabella Pitkin explores devotion, renunciation, and the teacher-student lineage relationship as resources for understanding Tibetan Buddhist approaches to modernity. By examining narrative accounts of the life of a remarkable twentieth-century Himalayan Buddhist and focusing on his remembered identity as a renunciant bodhisattva, Pitkin illuminates Tibetan and Himalayan practices of memory, affective connection, and mourning. Refuting long-standing caricatures of Tibetan Buddhist communities as unable to be modern because of their religious commitments, Pitkin shows instead how twentieth- and twenty-first-century Tibetan and Himalayan Buddhist narrators have used themes of renunciation, devotion, and lineage as touchstones for negotiating loss and vitalizing continuity.
"A rich, descriptive account. . . . Shelemay presents extraordinary personal experiences that shaped her research process and make reading this text pleasurable."
-- Library Journal
"Highly recommended to generalists in music as well as to specialists interested in Ethiopia. . . . Also makes an excellent case study text for university-level courses examining fieldwork issues and conditions."
"Highly recommended for both undergraduate and graduate collections in ethnomusicology, anthropology, African, and Judaic studies."
Jo Keroes's scope is wide: she examines the teacher as represented in fiction and film in works ranging from the twelfth-century letters of Abelard and Heloise to contemporary films such as Dangerous Minds and Educating Rita. And from the twelfth through the twentieth century, Keroes shows, the teaching encounter is essentially erotic.
Tracing the roots of eros from cultural as well as psychological perspectives, Keroes defines erotic in terms broader than the merely sexual. She analyzes ways in which teachers serve as convenient figures on whom to map conflicts about gender, power, and desire. To show how portrayals of men and women differ, she examines pairs of texts, using a film or a novel with a woman protagonist (Up the Down Staircase, for example) as counterpoint to one featuring a male teacher (Blackboard Jungle) or The Prime of Miss Jean Brodie balanced against Dead Poets Society.
The portrayals of teachers, like all images a culture presents of itself, reveal much about our private and social selves. Keroes points out authentic accounts of authoritative women teachers who are admired and respected by colleagues and students alike. Real teachers differ from the stereotypes we see in fiction and film, however. Male teachers are often portrayed as heroes in film and fallibly human in fiction, whereas women in either genre are likely to be monstrous or muddled and are virtually never women of color. Among other things, Keroes demonstrates, the tension between reality and representation reveals society's ambivalence about power in the hands of women.
Enka, a sentimental ballad genre, epitomizes for many the nihonjin no kokoro (heart/soul of Japanese). To older members of the Japanese public, who constitute enka's primary audience, this music--of parted lovers, long unseen rural hometowns, and self-sacrificing mothers--evokes a direct connection to the traditional roots of "Japaneseness." Overlooked in this emotional invocation of the past, however, are the powerful commercial forces that, since the 1970s, have shaped the consumption of enka and its version of national identity. Informed by theories of nostalgia, collective memory, cultural nationalism, and gender, this book draws on the author's extensive fieldwork in probing the practice of identity-making and the processes at work when Japan becomes "Japan."
It is common to think of the Arctic as remote, perched at the farthest reaches of the world—a simple and harmonious, isolated utopia. But the reality, as Janne Flora shows us, is anything but. In Wandering Spirits, Flora reveals how deeply connected the Arctic is to the rest of the world and how it has been affected by the social, political, economic, and environmental shifts that ushered in the modern age.
In this innovative study, Flora focuses on Inuit communities in Greenland and addresses a central puzzle: their alarmingly high suicide rate. She explores the deep connections between loneliness and modernity in the Arctic, tracing the history of Greenland and analyzing the social dynamics that shaped it. Flora’s thorough, sensitive engagement with the families that make up these communities uncovers the complex interplay between loneliness and a host of economic and environmental practices, including the widespread local tradition of hunting. Wandering Spirits offers a vivid portrait of a largely overlooked world, in all its fragility and nuance, while engaging with core anthropological concerns of kinship and the structure of social relations.