In The Birth of Sense, Don Beith proposes a new concept of generative passivity, the idea that our organic, psychological, and social activities take time to develop into sense. More than being a limit, passivity marks out the way in which organisms, persons, and interbodily systems take time in order to manifest a coherent sense. Beith situates his argument within contemporary debates about evolution, developmental biology, scientific causal explanations, psychology, postmodernism, social constructivism, and critical race theory. Drawing on empirical studies and phenomenological reflections, Beith argues that in nature, novel meaning emerges prior to any type of constituting activity or deterministic plan.
The Birth of Sense is an original phenomenological investigation in the style of Maurice Merleau-Ponty, and it demonstrates that the French philosopher’s works cohere around the notion that life is radically expressive. While Merleau-Ponty’s early works are widely interpreted as arguing for the primacy of human consciousness, Beith argues that a pivotal redefinition of passivity is already under way here, and extends throughout Merleau-Ponty’s corpus. This work introduces new concepts in contemporary philosophy to interrogate how organic development involves spontaneous expression, how personhood emerges from this bodily growth, and how our interpersonal human life remains rooted in, and often thwarted by, domains of bodily expressivity.
The first of the collection’s three sections explicitly examines the links between aesthetics and social and political experience. Here a new essay by Rancière posits art as a key site where disagreement can be staged in order to produce new communities of sense. In the second section, contributors investigate how sense was constructed in the past by the European avant-garde and how it is mobilized in today’s global visual and political culture. Exploring the viability of various models of artistic and political critique in the context of globalization, the authors of the essays in the volume’s final section suggest a shift from identity politics and preconstituted collectivities toward processes of identification and disidentification. Topics discussed in the volume vary from digital architecture to a makeshift museum in a Paris suburb, and from romantic art theory in the wake of Hegel to the history of the group-subject in political art and performance since 1968. An interview with Étienne Balibar rounds out the collection.
Contributors. Emily Apter, Étienne Balibar, Carlos Basualdo, T. J. Demos, Rachel Haidu, Beth Hinderliter, David Joselit, William Kaizen, Ranjanna Khanna, Reinaldo Laddaga, Vered Maimon, Jaleh Mansoor, Reinhold Martin, Seth McCormick, Yates McKee, Alexander Potts, Jacques Rancière, Toni Ross
The Western musical tradition has produced not only music, but also countless writings about music that remain in continuous—and enormously influential—dialogue with their subject. With sweeping scope and philosophical depth, A Language of Its Own traces the past millennium of this ongoing exchange.
Ruth Katz argues that the indispensible relationship between intellectual production and musical creation gave rise to the Western conception of music. This evolving and sometimes conflicted process, in turn, shaped the art form itself. As ideas entered music from the contexts in which it existed, its internal language developed in tandem with shifts in intellectual and social history. Katz explores how this infrastructure allowed music to explain itself from within, creating a self-referential and rational foundation that has begun to erode in recent years.
A magisterial exploration of a frequently overlooked intersection of Western art and philosophy, A Language of Its Own restores music to its rightful place in the history of ideas.
Any landscape has an unseen component: a subjective component of experience, memory, and narrative which people familiar with the place understand to be an integral part of its geography but which outsiders may not suspect the existence of—unless they listen and read carefully. This invisible landscape is make visible though stories, and these stories are the focus of this engrossing book.
Traveling across the invisible landscape in which we imaginatively dwell, Kent Ryden—himself a most careful listener and reader—asks the following questions. What categories of meaning do we read into our surroundings? What forms of expression serve as the most reliable maps to understanding those meanings? Our sense of any place, he argues, consists of a deeply ingrained experiential knowledge of its physical makeup; an awareness of its communal and personal history; a sense of our identity as being inextricably bound up with its events and ways of life; and an emotional reaction, positive or negative, to its meanings and memories.
Ryden demonstrates that both folk and literary narratives about place bear a striking thematic and stylistic resemblance. Accordingly, Mapping the Invisible Landscape examines both kinds of narratives. For his oral materials, Ryden provides an in-depth analysis of narratives collected in the Coeur d'Alene mining district in the Idaho panhandle; for his consideration of written works, he explores the “essay of place,” the personal essay which takes as its subject a particular place and a writer's relationship to that place.
Drawing on methods and materials from geography, folklore, and literature, Mapping the Invisible Landscape offers a broadly interdisciplinary analysis of the way we situate ourselves imaginatively in the landscape, the way we inscribe its surface with stories. Written in an extremely engaging style, this book will lead its readers to an awareness of the vital role that a sense of place plays in the formation of local cultures, to an understanding of the many-layered ways in which place interacts with individual lives, and to renewed appreciation of the places in their own lives and landscapes.
Sense and Sensibility (1811) marked the auspicious debut of a novelist identified only as “A Lady.” Jane Austen’s name has since become as familiar as Shakespeare’s, and her tale of two sisters has lost none of its power to delight. Patricia Meyer Spacks guides readers to a deeper appreciation of the richness of Austen’s delineation of her heroines, Elinor and Marianne Dashwood, as they experience love, romance, and heartbreak. On display again in the editor’s running commentary are the wit and light touch that delighted readers of Spacks’s Pride and Prejudice: An Annotated Edition.In her notes, Spacks elucidates language and allusions that have become obscure (What are Nabobs? When is rent day?), draws comparisons to Austen’s other work and to that of her precursors, and gives an idea of how other critics have seen the novel. In her introduction and annotations, she explores Austen’s sympathy with both Elinor and Marianne, the degree to which the sisters share “sense” and “sensibility,” and how they must learn from each other. Both manage to achieve security and a degree of happiness by the novel’s end. Austen’s romance, however, reveals darker overtones, and Spacks does not leave unexamined the issue of the social and psychological restrictions of women in Austen’s era.As with other volumes in Harvard’s series of Austen novels, Sense and Sensibility: An Annotated Edition comes handsomely illustrated with numerous color reproductions that vividly recreate Austen’s world. This will be an especially welcome addition to the library of any Janeite.
A leading German philosopher offers his most ambitious work yet on the nature of knowledge, arguing that being wrong about things defines the human condition.For millennia, philosophers have dedicated themselves to advancing understanding of the nature of truth and reality. In the process they have amassed a great deal of epistemological theory—knowledge about knowledge. But negative epistemological phenomena, such as ignorance, falsity, illusion, and delusion, are persistently overlooked. This is surprising given that we all know how fallible humans are.Sense, Nonsense, and Subjectivity replies with a theory of false thought, demonstrating that being wrong about things is part and parcel of subjectivity itself. For this reason, knowledge can never be secured without our making claims that can always, in principle, be wrong. Even in successful cases, where we get something right and thereby gain knowledge, the possibility of failure lingers with us. Markus Gabriel grounds this argument in a novel account of the relationship between sense, nonsense, and subjectivity—phenomena that hang together in the temporal unfolding of our cognitive lives.While most philosophers continue to theorize subjectivity in terms of conscious self-representation and the supposedly infallible grip we have on ourselves as thinkers, Sense, Nonsense, and Subjectivity addresses the age-old Platonic challenge to understand situations in which we do not get reality right. Adding a stimulating perspective on epistemic failures to the work of New Realism, Gabriel addresses long-standing ontological questions in an age where the line between the real and the fake is increasingly blurred.
A Sense of Place examines the vast Kanto region as a locus of cultural identity and an object of familial attachment during the political and military turmoil of the late fifteenth and early sixteenth centuries in Japan. Through analysis of memoirs, letters, chronicles, poetry, travelogues, lawsuits, land registers, and archeological reports, David Spafford explores the relationships of the eastern elites to the space they inhabited: he considers the region both as a whole, in its literary representations and political and administrative dimensions, and as an aggregation of discrete locales, where struggles over land rights played out alongside debates about the meaning of ties between families and their holdings. Spafford also provides the first historical account in English of medieval castle building and the castellan revolution of the late fifteenth century, which militarized the countryside and radically transformed the exercise of authority over territory.Simultaneously, the book reinforces a sense of the eastern elite's anxieties and priorities, detailing how, in their relation to land and place, local elites displayed a preference for past precedent and inherited wisdom. Even amidst the changes wrought by war, this inclination, although quite at odds with their conventional reputation for ruthless pragmatism and forward thinking, prevailed.
Rey Chow is Anne Firor Scott Professor of Literature at Duke University. She is the author of The Age of the World Target and Modern Chinese Literary and Cultural Studies in the Age of Theory, both published by Duke University Press.
James A. Steintrager is Professor and Chair of English at the University of California, Irvine. Contributors: Caroline Bassett, Eugenie Brinkema, Iain Chambers, Michel Chion, Rey Chow, Mladen Dolar, Veit Erlmann, Evan Johnson, Christopher Lee, Mara Mills, John Mowitt, Dominic Pettman, Tara Rodgers, Nicholas Seaver, James A. Steintrager, Jonathan Sterne,
From a cartographer who wrote to a writer who mapped, the literary significance of surveying is revealed in this study of human relationships to the landscape. From the very beginning, American literature was closely intertwined with surveying. In Surveying the Interior, Rick Van Noy explores the ways that four American literary cartographers—Henry David Thoreau, Clarence King, John Wesley Powell, and Wallace Stegner—concerned themselves with what it means to map or survey a place and what it means to write about it. In the process, he helps define the ways by which space enters the human psyche as definable place, as well as the ways by which physical landscape is transmuted into a sense of place as an intimate, personal manifestation of both physical and existential realities.
Few Elizabethans left the image of their personalities cut so deeply into the Renaissance imagination as did Sir Philip Sidney. Widely admired in his own time, Sidney must seem to the modern reader almost universally accomplished. His talents as courtier, diplomat, soldier, scholar, novelist, and poet are history.
Almost immediately after Sidney's death in battle against the Spaniards in the Low Countries, the process of legend began, and the legend has survived, sometimes obscuring the facts. The versatile "Renaissance man" has become, in the eyes of some critics, the romantic lover whose frustrations and despair found release in the "confessional" form of the sonnet sequence, Astrophel and Stella, and in other poems. To show these poems to be consciously constructed works of art, not simply passionate outbursts of romantic emotion, is one aim of this study.
The author examines Sidney as poet and critic, concentrating his study on rhetorical technique and poetic rhythm and form. He shows Sidney experimenting with the symmetrical possibilities of rhythm and phrase; practicing the ornateness current and acceptable in his day. He examines Sidney's comment on such a style in The Defense of Poesy and the ways in which the poet's own work agreed with or departed from his expressed opinions. He also balances Sidney's poetry against the powerful tradition of Petrarchan love literature and the equally powerful Renaissance impulse to subject passion to the rule of reason. Finally, in an extended analysis of Astrophel and Stella, he shows Sidney as the master of a plainer, wittier, more subtly fashioned style and a complex, more dramatically immediate form. What emerges from the study is not the personality of the poet, but the principles of his art and the value of his achievement in the mainstream of English Renaissance verse.
Austin, Texas, at the beginning of the twenty-first century, is experiencing one of the most dynamic periods in its history. Wedged between homogenizing growth and a long tradition of rebellious nonconformity, many Austinites feel that they are in the midst of a battle for the city's soul.
From this struggle, a movement has emerged as a form of resistance to the rapid urban transformation brought about in recent years: "Keep Austin Weird" originated in 2000 as a grassroots expression of place attachment and anti-commercialization. Its popularity has led to its use as a rallying cry for local business, as a rhetorical tool by city governance, and now as the unofficial civic motto for a city experiencing rapid growth and transformation.
By using "Keep Austin Weird" as a central focus, Joshua Long explores the links between sense of place, consumption patterns, sustainable development, and urban politics in Austin. Research on this phenomenon considers the strong influence of the "Creative Class" thesis on Smart Growth strategies, gentrification, income inequality, and social polarization made popular by the works of Richard Florida. This study is highly applicable to several emerging "Creative Cities," but holds special significance for the city considered the greatest creative success story, Austin.
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