Comparative Literature: a Very Short Introduction

Author: Ben Hutchinson

Publisher: Oxford University Press

ISBN: 0198807279

Category: Literary Criticism

Page: 160

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Comparative Literature is both the past and the future of literary studies. Its history is intimately linked to the political upheavals of modernity: from colonial empire-building in the nineteenth century, via the Jewish diaspora of the twentieth century, to the postcolonial culture wars ofthe twenty-first century, attempts at "comparison" have defined the international agenda of literature. But what is comparative literature? Ambitious readers looking to stretch themselves are usually intrigued by the concept, but uncertain of its implications. And rightly so, in many ways: even theprofessionals cannot agree on a single term, calling it comparative in English, compared in French, and comparing in German. The very term itself, when approached comparatively, opens up a Pandora's box of cultural differences. Yet this, in a nutshell, is the whole point of comparative literature. To look at literature comparatively is to realize just how much can be learned by looking over the horizon of one's own culture; it is to discover not only more about other literatures, but also about one's own; and it is toparticipate in the great utopian dream of understanding the way nations and languages interact. In an age that is paradoxically defined by migration and border crossing on the one hand, and by a retreat into monolingualism and monoculturalism on the other, the cross-cultural agenda of comparativeliterature has become increasingly central to the future of the Humanities. We are all, in fact, comparatists, constantly making connections across languages, cultures, and genres as we read. The question is whether we realise it.This Very Short Introduction tells the story of Comparative Literature as an agent of international relations, from the point of view both of scholarship and of cultural history more generally. Outlining the complex history and competing theories of comparative literature, Ben Hutchinson offers anaccessible means of entry into a notoriously slippery subject, and shows how comparative literature can be like a Rorschach test, where people see in it what they want to see. Ultimately, Hutchinson places comparative literature at the very heart of literary criticism, for as George Steiner oncenoted, 'to read is to compare'.ABOUT THE SERIES: The Very Short Introductions series from Oxford University Press contains hundreds of titles in almost every subject area. These pocket-sized books are the perfect way to get ahead in a new subject quickly. Our expert authors combine facts, analysis, perspective, new ideas, andenthusiasm to make interesting and challenging topics highly readable.

Barthes: A Very Short Introduction

Author: Jonathan Culler

Publisher: OUP Oxford

ISBN: 0191577545

Category: Literary Criticism

Page: 160

View: 7610

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This acclaimed short study, originally published in 1983, and now thoroughly updated, elucidates the varied theoretical contributions of Roland Barthes (1915-80), the 'incomparable enlivener of the literary mind' whose lifelong fascination was with the way people make their world intelligible. He has a multi-faceted claim to fame: to some he is the structuralist who outlined a 'science of literature', and the most prominent promoter of semiology; to others he stands not for science but pleasure, espousing a theory of literature which gives the reader a creative role. This book describes the many projects, which Barthes explored and which helped to change the way we think about a range of cultural phenomena - from literature, fashion, wrestling, and advertising to notions of the self, of history, and of nature. ABOUT THE SERIES: The Very Short Introductions series from Oxford University Press contains hundreds of titles in almost every subject area. These pocket-sized books are the perfect way to get ahead in a new subject quickly. Our expert authors combine facts, analysis, perspective, new ideas, and enthusiasm to make interesting and challenging topics highly readable.

Tragedy: A Very Short Introduction

Author: Adrian Poole

Publisher: Oxford University Press

ISBN: 0192802356

Category: Drama

Page: 147

View: 666

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What has tragedy been made to mean by dramatists, story-tellers, critics, philosophers, politicians, and journalists? This work shows the relevance of tragedy to the modern world, and extends beyond drama and literature into visual art and everyday experience.

Literary Theory: A Very Short Introduction

Author: Jonathan Culler

Publisher: Oxford University Press

ISBN: 0199691347

Category: Literary Criticism

Page: 165

View: 9256

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Literary Theory: A Very Short Introduction offers insights into theories about the nature of language and meaning, human identity, and the power of language. Fully updated for 2011 and including a new chapter on 'Ethics and aesthetics', it steers a clear and lucid path through an often impenetrable subject.

Chinese Literature: A Very Short Introduction

Author: Sabina Knight

Publisher: Oxford University Press

ISBN: 0199913137

Category: History

Page: 160

View: 3572

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Perhaps nowhere else has literature been as conscious a collective endeavor as in China, and China's survival over three thousand years may owe more to its literary traditions than to its political history. This Very Short Introduction tells the story of Chinese literature from antiquity to the present, focusing on the key role literary culture played in supporting social and political concerns. Embracing traditional Chinese understandings of literature as encompassing history and philosophy as well as poetry and poetics, storytelling, drama, and the novel, Sabina Knight discusses the philosophical foundations of literary culture as well as literature's power to address historical trauma and cultivate moral and sensual passions. From ancient historical records through the modernization and globalization of Chinese literature, Knight draws on lively examples to underscore the close relationship between ethics and aesthetics, as well as the diversity of Chinese thought. Knight also illuminates the role of elite patronage; the ways literature has served the interests of specific groups; and questions of canonization, language, nationalism, and cross-cultural understanding. The book includes Chinese characters for names, titles, and key terms.

Modern Latin American Literature

A Very Short Introduction

Author: Roberto Gonzalez Echevarria

Publisher: OUP USA

ISBN: 0199754918

Category: Literary Criticism

Page: 132

View: 1701

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This Very Short Introduction chronicles the trends and traditions of modern Latin American literature, arguing that Latin American literature developed as a continent-wide phenomenon, not just an assemblage of national literatures, in moments of political crisis. With the Spanish American War came Modernismo, the end of World War I and the Mexican Revolution produced the avant-garde, and the Cuban Revolution sparked a movement in the novel that came to be known as the Boom. Within this narrative, the author covers all of the major writers of Latin American literature, from Andres Bello and Jose Maria de Heredia, through Borges and Garcia Marquez, to Fernando Vallejo and Roberto Bolano.

Theatre

A Very Short Introduction

Author: Marvin Carlson

Publisher: Oxford University Press, USA

ISBN: 0199669821

Category: Performing Arts

Page: 131

View: 3063

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Theatre is one of the longest-standing art forms of modern civilization. Taking a global look at how various forms of theatre - including puppetry, dance, and mime - have been interpreted and enjoyed, this book explores all aspects of the theatre, including its relationship with religion, literature, and its value worldwide

Decadence: a Very Short Introduction

Author: David Weir

Publisher: Oxford University Press

ISBN: 0190610220

Category: Civilization

Page: 160

View: 9215

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The history of decadent culture runs from ancient Rome to nineteenth-century Paris, Victorian London, fin de siecle Vienna, Weimar Berlin, and beyond. The decline of Rome provides the pattern for both aesthetic and social decadence, a pattern that artists and writers in the nineteenth century imitated, emulated, parodied, and otherwise manipulated for aesthetic gain. What begins as the moral condemnation of modernity in mid-nineteenth century France on the part of decadent authors such as Charles Baudelaire ends up as the perverse celebration of the pessimism that accompanies imperial decline. This delight in decline informs the rich canon of decadence that runs from Joris-Karl Huysmans's A Rebours to Oscar Wilde's The Picture of Dorian Gray, Aubrey Beardsley's drawings, Gustav Klimt's paintings, and numerous other works. In this Very Short Introduction, David Weir explores the conflicting attitudes towards modernity present in decadent culture by examining the difference between aesthetic decadence--the excess of artifice--and social decadence, which involves excess in a variety of forms, whether perversely pleasurable or gratuitously cruel. Such contrariness between aesthetic and social decadence led some of its practitioners to substitute art for life and to stress the importance of taste over morality, a maneuver with far-reaching consequences, especially as decadence enters the realm of popular culture today. ABOUT THE SERIES: The Very Short Introductions series from Oxford University Press contains hundreds of titles in almost every subject area. These pocket-sized books are the perfect way to get ahead in a new subject quickly. Our expert authors combine facts, analysis, perspective, new ideas, and enthusiasm to make interesting and challenging topics highly readable.

Literary Theory

A Very Short Introduction

Author: Jonathan Culler

Publisher: Oxford University Press, USA

ISBN: 019285383X

Category: Literary Criticism

Page: 149

View: 1772

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A brief introduction to literary theory that explores the various moves that literary theory has encouraged.

The English Language

Author: Simon Horobin

Publisher: Oxford University Press

ISBN: 0198709250

Category: Language Arts & Disciplines

Page: 168

View: 6896

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The English language is spoken by more than a billion people throughout the world. But where did English come from? And how has it evolved into the language used today?In this Very Short Introduction Simon Horobin investigates how we have arrived at the English we know today, and celebrates the way new speakers and new uses mean that it continues to adapt. Engaging with contemporary concerns about correctness, Horobin considers whether such changes areimprovements, or evidence of slipping standards. What is the future for the English language? Will Standard English continue to hold sway, or we are witnessing its replacement by newly emerging Englishes?ABOUT THE SERIES: The Very Short Introductions series from Oxford University Press contains hundreds of titles in almost every subject area. These pocket-sized books are the perfect way to get ahead in a new subject quickly. Our expert authors combine facts, analysis, perspective, new ideas, andenthusiasm to make interesting and challenging topics highly readable.

Film Noir: A Very Short Introduction

Author: James Naremore

Publisher: Oxford University Press

ISBN: 0192509519

Category: Art

Page: 144

View: 7568

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Film noir, one of the most intriguing yet difficult to define terms in cinema history, is usually associated with a series of darkly seductive Hollywood thrillers from the 1940s and 50s - shadowy, black-and-white pictures about private eyes, femme fatales, outlaw lovers, criminal heists, corrupt police, and doomed or endangered outsiders. But as this VSI demonstrates, film noir actually predates the 1940s and has never been confined to Hollywood. International in scope, its various manifestations have spread across generic categories, attracted the interest of the world's great directors, and continue to appear even today. In this Very Short Introduction James Naremore shows how the term film noir originated in in French literary and film criticism, and how later uses of the term travelled abroad, changing its implications. In the process, he comments on classic examples of the films and explores important aspects of their history: their critical reception, their major literary sources, their methods of dealing with censorship and budgets, their social and cultural politics, their variety of styles, and their future in a world of digital media and video streaming. ABOUT THE SERIES: The Very Short Introductions series from Oxford University Press contains hundreds of titles in almost every subject area. These pocket-sized books are the perfect way to get ahead in a new subject quickly. Our expert authors combine facts, analysis, perspective, new ideas, and enthusiasm to make interesting and challenging topics highly readable.

Film: A Very Short Introduction

Author: Michael Wood

Publisher: OUP Oxford

ISBN: 0191623547

Category: Performing Arts

Page: 152

View: 3811

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Film is considered by some to be the most dominant art form of the twentieth century. It is many things, but it has become above all a means of telling stories through images and sounds. The stories are often offered to us as quite false, frankly and beautifully fantastic, and they are sometimes insistently said to be true. But they are stories in both cases, and there are very few films, even in avant-garde art, that don't imply or quietly slip into narrative. This story element is important, and is closely connected with the simplest fact about moving pictures: they do move. Even the older meanings of the word 'film' - a membrane, a covering, a veil, an emanation - now seem to have something to do with moving pictures. Many people believe films are an instrument of illusion, an emphatic way of seeing what is not there; and this capacity has been both celebrated and condemned. 'Like a movie' mostly means like some sort of fairy-tale. But what about the reverse proposition: that more than any other invention film brings us close to the world as it actually is? 'Photography is truth', a character says in a film by Jean-Luc Godard. 'And cinema is the truth twenty-four times per second'. The same claim is made every day, albeit less epigrammatically, by newsreels and surveillance cameras. In this Very Short Introduction Michael Wood provides a brief history and examination of the nature of the medium of film, considering its role and impact on society as well as its future in the digital age. ABOUT THE SERIES: The Very Short Introductions series from Oxford University Press contains hundreds of titles in almost every subject area. These pocket-sized books are the perfect way to get ahead in a new subject quickly. Our expert authors combine facts, analysis, perspective, new ideas, and enthusiasm to make interesting and challenging topics highly readable.

Fundamentalism

A Very Short Introduction

Author: Malise Ruthven

Publisher: Oxford University Press

ISBN: 9780199212705

Category: Political Science

Page: 154

View: 6578

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Fundamentalism is seen as the major threat to world peace, a conclusion impossible to ignore since the events in New York on September 11 2001. This book investigates fundamentalism's historical, social, religious, political, and ideological roots, and tackles the polemic and stereotypes surrounding this complex phenomenon.

Islam: A Very Short Introduction

Author: Malise Ruthven

Publisher: OUP Oxford

ISBN: 0199642877

Category: Religion

Page: 200

View: 6244

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Islam features widely in the news, often in its most militant forms, but few people in the non-Muslim world really understand its nature. Malise Ruthven's Very Short Introduction, offers essential insights into the big issues, provides fresh perspectives on contemporary questions, and guides us through the complex debates.

Mein Kampf

Author: Adolf Hitler

Publisher: N.A

ISBN: 9781911417682

Category:

Page: N.A

View: 4667

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Als glUckliche Bestimmung gilt es mir heute, da das Schicksal mir zum Geburtsort gerade Braunau am Inn zuwies. Liegt doch dieses StAdtchen an der Grenze jener zwei deutschen Staaten, deren Wiedervereinigung mindestens uns JUngeren als eine mit allen Mitteln durchzufUhrende Lebensaufgabe erscheint! DeutschOsterreich mu wieder zurUck zum groen deutschen Mutterlande, und zwar nicht aus GrUnden irgendwelcher wirtschaftlichen ErwAgungen heraus. Nein, nein: Auch wenn diese Vereinigung, wirtschaftlich gedacht, gleichgUltig, ja selbst wenn sie schAdlich wAre, sie mUte dennoch stattfinden. Gleiches Blut gehOrt in ein gemeinsames Reich. Das deutsche Volk besitzt solange kein moralisches Recht zu kolonialpolitischer TAtigkeit, solange es nicht einmal seine eigenen SOhne in einem gemeinsamen Staat zu fassen vermag. Erst wenn des Reiches Grenze auch den letzten Deutschen umschliet, ohne mehr die Sicherheit seiner ErnAhrung bieten zu kOnnen, ersteht aus der Not des eigenen Volkes das moralische Recht zur Erwerbung fremden Grund und Bodens. Der Pflug ist dann das Schwert, und aus den TrAnen des Krieges erwAchst fUr die Nach welt das tAgliche Brot. So scheint mir dieses kleine GrenzstAdtchen das Symbol einer groen Aufgabe zu sein.

British Politics: A Very Short Introduction

Author: Anthony Wright

Publisher: Oxford University Press

ISBN: 0199661103

Category: Law

Page: 131

View: 9276

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An interpretative essay on the British political system looks at the key characteristics and ideas of the British tradition, explores what makes British politics distinctive, and considers how the system continues to evolve.

American Politics: A Very Short Introduction

Author: Richard M. Valelly

Publisher: Oxford University Press

ISBN: 0195373855

Category: Political Science

Page: 136

View: 1251

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This concise volume fills a long-standing need for a sophisticated, brief primer on American national politics. A major theme of the book is the interplay between constitutional and extra-constitutional institutions and political processes. It provides engaging and exceptionally instructive treatments of the nuts-and-bolts of how American politics works and of the strengths of American democracy, while candidly considering gaps in representation and the issue of increasing income inequality.