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Madness and Civilization
Michel Foucault examines the archeology of madness in the West from 1500 to 1800 - from the late Middle Ages, when insanity was still considered part of everyday life and fools and lunatics walked the streets freely, to the time when such people began to be considered a threat, asylums were first built, and walls were erected between the "insane" and the rest of humanity.
W G Sebald
The novelist, poet, and essayist W. G. Sebald (1944 - 2001) was perhaps the most original German writer of the last decade of the 20th century ("Die Ausgewanderten", "Austerlitz", "Luftkrieg und Literatur"). His writing is marked by a unique ´;hybridity´ that combines characteristics of travelogue, cultural criticism, crime story, historical essay, and dream diary, among other genres. He employs layers of literary and motion picture allusions that contribute to a sometimes enigmatic, sometimes intimately familiar mood; his dominant mode is melancholy. The contributions of this anthology examine W. G. Sebald as narrator and pensive observer of history. The book includes a previously unpublished interview with Sebald from 1998.
Around the World in Eighty Days
Around the World in Eighty Days (French: Le tour du monde en quatre-vingts jours) is a classic adventure novel by the French writer Jules Verne, published in 1873. In the story, Phileas Fogg of London and his newly employed French valet Passepartout attempt to circumnavigate the world in 80 days on a £20,000 wager (£7,578,192.00 today) set by his friends at the Reform Club. It is one of Verne's most acclaimed works.
All That Is
An extraordinary literary event, a major new novel by the PEN/Faulkner winner and acclaimed master: a sweeping, seductive, deeply moving story set in the years after World War II. From his experiences as a young naval officer in battles off Okinawa, Philip Bowman returns to America and finds a position as a book editor. It is a time when publishing is still largely a private affair—a scattered family of small houses here and in Europe—a time of gatherings in fabled apartments and conversations that continue long into the night. In this world of dinners, deals, and literary careers, Bowman finds that he fits in perfectly. But despite his success, what eludes him is love. His first marriage goes bad, another fails to happen, and finally he meets a woman who enthralls him—before setting him on a course he could never have imagined for himself. Romantic and haunting, All That Is explores a life unfolding in a world on the brink of change. It is a dazzling, sometimes devastating labyrinth of love and ambition, a fiercely intimate account of the great shocks and grand pleasures of being alive.
The Remains of Love
Hemda Horovitz is nearing the end of her life. As she lies in bed in Jerusalem, the present flickers in and out as memories from the past flood her thoughts: her childhood in the kibbutz spent under the disappointed gaze of her stern, pioneer father; the lake that was her only solace; and her own two children, one whom she could never love and the other whom she loved too much. Avner, the beloved child, has grown up to be a heavy, anguished man, disillusioned by his work and trapped in a loveless marriage. When visiting his mother in hospital he witnesses an elegant couple's final poignant moments together; after the man's death Avner becomes obsessed with finding the woman, and a strange and delicate relationship unfolds. Dina, Hemda's daughter, has put aside her career in order to give her teenage daughter, Nitzan, the warmth she never received from her own mother. But Nitzan is withdrawing from her, and as Dina slides into despair she is overcome by a longing to adopt a child - a longing that, if fulfilled, may destroy her fragile family. Zeruya Shalev's electrifying new novel is at once a meditation on the state of modern Israel and a profound exploration of family, yearning, compromise and the insistent pull of the past.
'The great question in life is the suffering we cause, and the most ingenious metaphysics do not justify the man who has broken the heart that loved him.' Enjoying all the advantages of noble birth and intellectual ability, but haunted by a sense of the meaninglessness of life, Adolphe seeks distraction in the pursuit of the beautiful, but older and more vulnerable Ellenore. Unaware of the danger 'of appropriating the language of love, and of fostering in yourself or others emotions of the heart that are transitory', Adolphe unexpectedly falls in love, only to chafe under the burden of an illicit relationship that blocks his public career. Unable to commit himself fully to Ellenore, and yet unwilling to face the pain he would cause by leaving her, Adolphe finds himself caught up in a situation that cannot be remedied, and is resolved only with disastrous results. Written in a lucidly analytic yet discreetly emotional style, Adolphe (1816) distills the lessons of Constant's own experiences in love, but it also reflects his anxieties about the prospects for any kind of authentic commitment, political or religious as well as emotional, in a disenchanted world.
A poetic evocation of the French diplomat's encounters and experiences, filtered through the one constant in his life—Venice.Diplomat, writer and poet, traveller and socialite, friend of Proust, Giraudoux and Malraux, Paul Morand was out of the most original writers of the twentieth century. He was French literature's globe-trotter, and his delightful autobiography is far from being yet another account of a writer's life. Instead it is a poetic evocation of certain scenes among Morand's rich and varied encounters and experience, filtered through the one constant in his life—the one place to which he would always return—Venice.Admired both by Ezra Pound and by Marcel Proust as a pioneer craftsman of Modernist French prose (...) The sheer shapeliness of his prose recalls Hemingway; the urbanity of his self-destructiveness compares with Fitzgerald's; and his camera eye is as lucidly stroboscopic as that of Dos Passos. He is, like Victor Segalen, Blaise Cendrars, Valery Larbaud, and Saint-John Perse, one of the great nomads of 20th-century French literature, racing through the apocalypse with the haste and glamor of an Orient Express. It is a pity we should have had to wait this long to catch up with him. --The New York TimesVenices is balanced by the sharpness of the imagery. He writes in a melancholy vein of the loves, jealousies and regrets he has experienced in Venice ... Exquisitely translated, Venices is a travel memoir of the highest order. -- IAN THOMSON, Sunday Times
Exploring the modern category of history in relation to film theory, film textuality, and film history, Change Mummified makes a persuasive argument for the centrality of historicity to film as well as the special importance of film in historical culture. What do we make of the concern for recovering the past that is consistently manifested in so many influential modes of cinema, from Hollywood to documentary and postcolonial film? How is film related to the many modern practices that define themselves as configuring pastness in the present, such as architectural preservation, theme parks, and, above all, professional historical research? What is the relation of history in film to other media such as television and digital imaging? How does emphasizing the connection between film and modern historicity affect the theorization and historicization of film and modern media culture? Pursuing the full implications of film as cultural production, Philip Rosen reconceptualizes modern historicity as a combination of characteristic epistemological structures on the one hand, and the social imperative to regulate or manage time on the other. Emphasizing a fundamental constellation of pursuit of the real, indexical signification and the need to control time, he interrogates a spectrum of film theory and film texts. His argument refocuses the category of temporality for film and cultural theory while rethinking the importance of historicity. An original and sustained meditation on the historiographic status of cinematic signs, Change Mummified is both an intervention in film and media studies and an argument for the continuing necessity of modern historical thinking in its contradictions.
From the author of 1491—the best-selling study of the pre-Columbian Americas—a deeply engaging new history of the most momentous biological event since the death of the dinosaurs. More than 200 million years ago, geological forces split apart the continents. Isolated from each other, the two halves of the world developed radically different suites of plants and animals. When Christopher Columbus set foot in the Americas, he ended that separation at a stroke. Driven by the economic goal of establishing trade with China, he accidentally set off an ecological convulsion as European vessels carried thousands of species to new homes across the oceans. The Columbian Exchange, as researchers call it, is the reason there are tomatoes in Italy, oranges in Florida, chocolates in Switzerland, and chili peppers in Thailand. More important, creatures the colonists knew nothing about hitched along for the ride. Earthworms, mosquitoes, and cockroaches; honeybees, dandelions, and African grasses; bacteria, fungi, and viruses; rats of every description—all of them rushed like eager tourists into lands that had never seen their like before, changing lives and landscapes across the planet. Eight decades after Columbus, a Spaniard named Legazpi succeeded where Columbus had failed. He sailed west to establish continual trade with China, then the richest, most powerful country in the world. In Manila, a city Legazpi founded, silver from the Americas, mined by African and Indian slaves, was sold to Asians in return for silk for Europeans. It was the first time that goods and people from every corner of the globe were connected in a single worldwide exchange. Much as Columbus created a new world biologically, Legazpi and the Spanish empire he served created a new world economically. As Charles C. Mann shows, the Columbian Exchange underlies much of subsequent human history. Presenting the latest research by ecologists, anthropologists, archaeologists, and historians, Mann shows how the creation of this worldwide network of ecological and economic exchange fostered the rise of Europe, devastated imperial China, convulsed Africa, and for two centuries made Mexico City—where Asia, Europe, and the new frontier of the Americas dynamically interacted—the center of the world. In such encounters, he uncovers the germ of today’s fiercest political disputes, from immigration to trade policy to culture wars. In 1493, Charles Mann gives us an eye-opening scientific interpretation of our past, unequaled in its authority and fascination. From the Hardcover edition.