Faculty Books

Cuba and the Tempest: Literature and Cinema in the Time of Diaspora

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In an analysis of Cuban literature inside and outside the country’s borders, Eduardo Gonzalez looks closely at the work of three of the most important contemporary Cuban authors to write in the post-1959 diaspora: Guillermo Cabrera Infante (1929-2005), who left Cuba for good in 1965 and established himself in London; Antonio Benitez-Rojo (1931-2005), who settled in the United States; and Leonardo Padura Fuentes (b. 1955), who still lives and writes in Cuba. Gonzalez places the three Cuban writers in conversation with artists and thinkers from British and American literature, anthropology, philosophy, psychoanalysis, and cinema, highlighting the positive experiences of exile and wandering that appear in their work.

Getting Under the Skin: Body and Media Theory

The body as an object of critical study dominates disciplines across the humanities to such an extent that a new discipline has emerged: body criticism. In Getting Under the Skin, Bernadette Wegenstein traces contemporary body discourse in philosophy and cultural studies to its roots in 20th-century thought—showing how psychoanalysis, phenomenology, cognitive science, and feminist theory contributed to a new body concept—and studies the millennial body in performance art, popular culture, new media arts, and architecture. Wegenstein shows how the concept of bodily fragmentation has been in circulation since the 16th century’s investigation of anatomy. The history of the body-in-pieces, she argues, is a history of a struggling relationship between two concepts of the body—as fragmented and as holistic. Wegenstein shows that by the 20th century these two apparently contradictory movements were integrated; both fragmentation and holism, she argues, are indispensable modes of imagining and configuring the body. The history of the body, therefore, is a history of mediation; but it was not until the turn of the 21st century and the digital revolution that the body was best able to show its mediality.

After examining key concepts in body criticism, Wegenstein looks at the body as “raw material” in 20th-century performance art, medical techniques for visualizing the human body, and strategies in popular culture for “getting under the skin” with images of freely floating body parts. Her analysis of current trends in architecture and new media art demonstrates the deep connection of body criticism to media criticism. In this approach to body criticism, the body no longer stands in for something else—the medium has become the body.

Humanism and Creativity in the Renaissance: Essays in Honor of Ronald G. Witt

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This volume comprises original contributions from 17 scholars whose work and careers Ronald Witt has touched in myriad ways. Intellectual, social, and political historians, a historian of philosophy and an art historian: specialists in various temporal and geographical regions of the Renaissance world here address specific topics reflecting some of the major themes that have woven their way through Ronald Witt’s intellectual cursus. While some essays offer fresh readings of canonical texts and explore previously unnoticed lines of filiation among them, others present “discoveries,” including a hitherto “lost” text and overlooked manuscripts that are here edited for the first time. Engagement with little-known material reflects another of Witt’s distinguishing characteristics: a passion for original sources. The essays are gathered under three rubrics: “Politics and the Revival of Antiquity”; “Humanism, Religion, and Moral Philosophy”; and “Erudition and Innovation.”

Mémoires du quotidien: les lieux de Perec

Surveying his own career in 1978 for the purposes of a short essay entitled “Notes sur ce que je cherche,” Georges Perec suggested that his work was animated by four major impulses. First, a sociological impulse, a will to examine everyday life; second, an autobiographical current; third, a ludic bent; and finally, an inclination toward narrativity, a desire to write the kind of books that one reads flat out on one’s bed. Even a casual reader of Perec will appreciate that those categories are not airtight, and that there is quite a bit of backing-and-forthing among them in the writer’s production. Nonetheless, they make a good deal of sense when they are taken to describe general directions in Perec’s writing. Among those four principal inclinations, the first has suffered with regard to the latter three in critical considerations of Perec since his death in 1982. In Mémoires du quotidien, Derek Schilling seeks to redress that, seeking also to recontextualize Perec’s work as an important link in a sustained debate on the nature of the quotidian in the second half of the twentieth century.

Novelas Ejemplares I

Las Novelas ejemplares publicadas en 1613 constituyen, segun indica el propio autor, el primer ejemplo de relato corto en la literatura castellana, de acuerdo con el significado en esa epoca de la palabra “novela.” Esta edicion sigue la edicion principe de Juan de la Cuesta y corrige las posibles erratas.

Perversity and Ethics

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William Egginton argues that the notion of the ethical cannot be understood outside of its relation to perversity—that is, the impulse to do what one knows and feels is wrong. The allure of the perverse, moreover, should not be understood as merely the necessary obverse of ethically motivated behavior; rather, from the perspective of a psychoanalytic understanding of the ethical, the two drives are structurally identical. This discovery leads the author to engagements with deconstructive thought and with contemporary gender theory. In the first, he shows that the insistent resurgence of the ethical fault-line inevitably drives even the most stalwart atheism to a theological moment. In the second, he argues that while “female philosophy” has successfully repudiated the subject-centered exceptionalism of “male philosophy,” it is precisely to the extent that it is understood to offer a kind of release from the perversity of ethics that it must fail as ethical utterances.

The Wit and Wisdom of Don Quixote de la Mancha

A browser’s delight of proverbs, just in time for the 400th anniversary of Cervantes’s classic, The Wit and Wisdom of Don Quixote de la Mancha distills the timeless insight and humor of the masterpiece into a charming gift-size collection ideal for any lover of literature and great quotations.

Decorated with rich illustrations and assembled with a historical introduction by Cervantes scholar Harry Sieber, the quotations in this book are arranged according to theme for quick reference. Readers will easily discover the perfect quote for any occasion or topic. From Love and Hope, to Prudence and Prosperity, to Honor and Honesty, Don Quixote is famous for countless proverbs that have stood the test of time.

After 400 years, these sayings are still with us today, and the best are gathered in this literary volume. In the words of the immortal Man of La Mancha, “Thou hast seen nothing yet.”

The Pragmatic Turn in Philosophy

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The Pragmatic Turn in Philosophy explores how the various discursive strategies of old and new pragmatisms are related, and what their pertinence is to the relationship between pragmatism and philosophy as a whole. The contributors bridge the divide between analytic and continental philosophy through a transcontinental desire to work on common problems in a common philosophical language. Irrespective of which side of the divide one stands on, pragmatic philosophy has gained ascendancy over the traditional concerns of a representationalist epistemology that has determined much of the intellectual and cultural life of modernity. This book details how contemporary philosophy will emerge from this recognition and that, in fact, this emergence is already underway.

After the Palace Burns

“After the Palace Burns” is the stunning debut of Jennifer Anna Gosetti-Ferencei and is the winner of the 2002 Paris Review Prize in Poetry. Each line in this extraordinary collection of poems feels like the deliberate utterance of a strong, educated, and creative mind. Each image and word is carefully chosen for context, clarity, and deep surprise. Jennifer Anna Gosetti-Ferencei was born in Saint Louis, Missouri, and has studied in Athens, Ohio; Philadelphia; Berlin; and New York City.

Demon Lovers: Witchcraft, Sex, and the Crisis of Belief

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On September 20, 1587, Walpurga Hausmännin of Dillingen in southern Germany was burned at the stake as a witch. Although she had confessed to committing a long list ofmaleficia (deeds of harmful magic), including killing forty—one infants and two mothers in labor, her evil career allegedly began with just one heinous act—sex with a demon. Fornication with demons was a major theme of her trial record, which detailed an almost continuous orgy of sexual excess with her diabolical paramour Federlin “in many divers places, . . . even in the street by night.”

As Walter Stephens demonstrates in Demon Lovers, it was not Hausmännin or other so-called witches who were obsessive about sex with demons—instead, a number of devout Christians, including trained theologians, displayed an uncanny preoccupation with the topic during the centuries of the “witch craze.” Why? To find out, Stephens conducts a detailed investigation of the first and most influential treatises on witchcraft (written between 1430 and 1530), including the infamous Malleus Maleficarum (Hammer of Witches).

Far from being credulous fools or mindless misogynists, early writers on witchcraft emerge in Stephens’s account as rational but reluctant skeptics, trying desperately to resolve contradictions in Christian thought on God, spirits, and sacraments that had bedeviled theologians for centuries. Proof of the physical existence of demons—for instance, through evidence of their intercourse with mortal witches—would provide strong evidence for the reality of the supernatural, the truth of the Bible, and the existence of God. Early modern witchcraft theory reflected a crisis of belief—a crisis that continues to be expressed today in popular debates over angels, Satanic ritual child abuse, and alien abduction.