In the Preface to this second edition of her first book, Sandra M. Gilbert addresses the inevitable question: "How can you be a feminist and a Lawrentian?" The answer is intellectually satisfying and historically revealing as she traces an array of early twentieth-century women of letters, some of them proto-feminists, who revered Lawrence despite his countless statements that would today be condemned as "sexist."
H.D. regarded him as one of her "initiators" whose words "flamed alive, blue serpents on the page." Anais Nin insisted that he "had a complete realization of the feelings of women."
By focusing on Lawrence’s own definition of a poem as an "act of attention," Gilbert demonstrates how he developed the mature style of Birds, Beasts and Flowers, his finest collection of poetry. She discusses this volume at length, examines many of his later poems in detail, including the hymns from The Plumed Serpent, Pansies, Nettles, and More Pansies, and ends with a close look at Last Poems. Her detailed examination provides a clearer image of Lawrence as an artist—an artist whose poetry complements his novels and whose fiction enriches but does not outshine his poetry.
Despite its importance to literary and cultural texts of resistance, theater has been largely overlooked as a field of analysis in colonial and postcolonial studies. Acts of Authority/Acts of Resistance seeks to address that absence, as it uniquely views drama and performance as central to the practice of nationalism and anti-colonial resistance.
Nandi Bhatia argues that Indian theater was a significant force in the struggle against oppressive colonial and postcolonial structures, as it sought to undo various schemes of political and cultural power through its engagement with subjects derived from mythology, history, and available colonial models such as Shakespeare. Bhatia's attention to local histories within a postcolonial framework places performance in a global and transcultural context. Drawing connections between art and politics, between performance and everyday experience, Bhatia shows how performance often intervened in political debates and even changed the course of politics.
One of the first Western studies of Indian theater to link the aesthetics and the politics of that theater, Acts of Authority/Acts of Resistance combines in-depth archival research with close readings of dramatic texts performed at critical moments in history. Each chapter amplifies its themes against the backdrop of specific social conditions as it examines particular dramatic productions, from The Indigo Mirror to adaptations of Shakespeare plays by Indian theater companies, illustrating the role of theater in bringing nationalist, anticolonial, and gendered struggles into the public sphere.
Nandi Bhatia is Associate Professor of English at the University of Western Ontario.
Charity has been a pervasive and influential concept in American culture, and has also served an important ideological purpose, helping people articulate their sense of individual and national identity. But what, exactly, compels our benevolence? In a social moment when countless worthy causes and deserving groups clamor for attention, it is worth examining how our culture generates the exchange of sympathy commonly experienced as “charity.” Acts of Conspicuous Compassion investigates the historical and continuing relationship between performance culture and the cultivation of charitable sentiment, exploring the distinctive practices that have evolved to make the plea for charity legible and compelling. From the work of 19th-century melodramas to the televised drama of transformation and redemption in reality TV’s Extreme Makeover: Home Edition, the book charts the sophisticated strategies that various charity movements have employed to make organized benevolence seem attractive, exciting, and seemingly uncomplicated.
Sheila C. Moeschen sheds new light on the legacy and involvement of disabled people within charity—specifically, the articulation of performance culture as a vital theoretical framework for discussing issues of embodiment and identity, a framework that dislodges previously held notions of the disabled existing as passive “objects” of pity. This work gives rise to a more complicated and nuanced discussion of the participation of the disabled community in the charity industry, of the opportunities afforded by performance culture for disabled people to act as critical agents of charity, and of the new ethical and political issues that arise from employing performance methodology in a culture with increased appetites for voyeurism, display, and complex spectacle.
Acts of Dramaturgy is a critical frame for Michael Pinchbeck’s The Shakespeare Trilogy, a recent touring project comprising three performances—The Beginning, The Middle, and The End—that explored the role of the dramaturg. This book sets the playtexts in dialogue with reflexive essays and provocations on contemporary dramaturgy from a range of contributors.
Weaving together different modes of writing, the volume reflects on the politics of dramaturgy, authorship, adaptation, performance, and the use of Shakespeare as a stimulus for making contemporary theater. The resulting work is as much a reflection on the entanglements of processes, lineages, and relations that have shaped the work and its reception as it is an exploration of ways of reflecting and being with practice now. A valuable new contribution to the study of contemporary dramaturgy, the book will be of interest to makers and scholars of theater and performance and anyone interested in practice research and creative critical writing.
Why are today's students not realizing their potential as critical thinkers? Although educators have, for two decades, incorporated contemporary cultural studies into the teaching of composition and rhetoric, many students lack the powers of self-expression that are crucial for effecting social change. Acts of Enjoyment presents a critique of current pedagogies and introduces a psychoanalytical approach in teaching composition and rhetoric. Thomas Rickert builds upon the advances of cultural studies and its focus on societal trends and broadens this view by placing attention on the conscious and subconscious thought of the individual. By introducing the cultural theory work of Slavoj Zizek, Rickert seeks to encourage personal and social invention--rather than simply following a course of unity, equity, or consensus that is so prevalent in current writing instruction. He argues that writing should not be treated as a simple skill, as a naïve self expression, or as a tool for personal advancement, but rather as a reflection of social and psychical forces, such as jouissance (enjoyment/sensual pleasure), desire, and fantasy-creating a more sophisticated, panoptic form. The goal of the psychoanalytical approach is to highlight the best pedagogical aspects of cultural studies to allow for well-rounded individual expression, ultimately providing the tools necessary to address larger issues of politics, popular culture, ideology, and social transformation.
Acts of Faith and Imagination wagers that fiction written by Catholic authors assists readers to reflect critically on the question: “what is faith?” To speak of a person’s “faith-life” is to speak of change and development. As a narrative form, literature can illustrate the dynamics of faith, which remains in flux over the course of one’s life. Because human beings must possess faith in something (whether religious or not), it inevitably has a narrative structure—faith ebbs and flows, flourishes and decays, develops and stagnates.
Through an exploration of more than a dozen Catholic authors’ novels and short stories, Brent Little argues that Catholic fiction encourages the reader to reflect upon their faith holistically, that is, the way faith informs one’s affections, and how a person conceives and interacts with the world as embodied beings. Amidst the diverse stories of modern and contemporary fiction, a consistent pattern emerges: Catholic fiction portrays faith—at its most fundamental, often unconscious, level—as an act of the imagination. Faith is the way one imagines themselves, others, and creation. A person’s primary faith conditions how they live in the world, regardless of the level of conscious reflection, and regardless of whether this is a “religious” faith.
Acts of Faith and Imagination investigates the creative depth and vitality of the Catholic literary imagination by bringing late modern Catholic authors into dialogue with more contemporary ones. Readers will then consider well-known works, such as those by Graham Greene, Flannery O’Connor, and Muriel Spark in the fresh light of contemporary stories by Toni Morrison, Alice McDermott, Uwem Akpan, and several others.
Against queer theory's long-suffering romance with mourning and melancholia and a national agenda that urges homosexuals to renounce pleasure if they want to be taken seriously, Acts of Gaiety seeks to reanimate notions of "gaiety" as a political value for LGBT activism by recovering earlier mirthful modes of political performance. The book mines the archives of lesbian-feminist activism of the 1960s–70s, highlighting the outrageous gaiety—including camp, kitsch, drag, guerrilla theater, zap actions, rallies, manifestos, pageants, and parades alongside "legitimate theater”-- at the center of the social and theatrical performances of the era. Juxtaposing figures such as Valerie Solanas and Jill Johnston with more recent performers and activists including Hothead Paisan, Bitch and Animal, and the Five Lesbian Brothers, Sara Warner shows how reclaiming this largely discarded and disavowed past elucidates possibilities for being and belonging. Acts of Gaiety explores the mutually informing histories of gayness as politics and as joie de vivre, along with the centrality of liveliness to queer performance and protest.
To which institutions or social practices should we grant authority? When should we instead assert our own sense of what is right or good or necessary?
In this book, James Boyd White shows how texts by some of our most important thinkers and writers—including Plato, Shakespeare, Dickinson, Mandela, and Lincoln—answer these questions, not in the abstract, but in the way they wrestle with the claims of the world and self in particular historical and cultural contexts. As they define afresh the institutions or practices for which they claim (or resist) authority, they create authorities of their own, in the very modes of thought and expression they employ. They imagine their world anew and transform the languages that give it meaning.
In so doing, White maintains, these works teach us about how to read and judge claims of authority made by others upon us; how to decide to which institutions and practices we should grant authority; and how to create authorities of our own through our thoughts and arguments. Elegant and accessible, this book will appeal to anyone wanting to better understand one of the primary processes of our social and political lives.
Jerome Bruner argues that the cognitive revolution, with its current fixation on mind as “information processor,” has led psychology away from the deeper objective of understanding mind as a creator of meanings. Only by breaking out of the limitations imposed by a computational model of mind can we grasp the special interaction through which mind both constitutes and is constituted by culture.
American poets’ theater emerged in the postwar period alongside the rich, performance-oriented poetry and theater scenes that proliferated on the makeshift stages of urban coffee houses, shared apartments, and underground theaters, yet its significance has been largely overlooked by critics. Acts of Poetry shines a spotlight on poets’ theater’s key groups, practitioners, influencers, and inheritors, such as the Poets’ Theatre, the Living Theatre, Gertrude Stein, Bunny Lang, Frank O’Hara, Amiri Baraka, Carla Harryman, and Suzan-Lori Parks. Heidi R. Bean demonstrates the importance of poets’ theater in the development of twentieth-century theater and performance poetry, and especially evolving notions of the audience’s role in performance, and in narratives of the relationship between performance and everyday life. Drawing on an extensive archive of scripts, production materials, personal correspondence, theater records, interviews, manifestoes, editorials, and reviews, the book captures critical assessments and behind-the-scenes discussions that enrich our understanding of the intertwined histories of American theater and American poetry in the twentieth century.
The success of internet auction sites like eBay and the cult status of public television's Antiques Roadshow attest to the continued popularity of collecting in American culture. Acts of Possession investigates the ways cultural meanings of collections have evolved and yet remained surprisingly unchanged throughout American history.
Drawing upon the body of theoretical work on collecting and focusing on individual as opposed to museum collections, the contributors investigate how, what, and why Americans have collected and explore the inherent meanings behind systems of organization and display. Essays consider the meanings of Thomas Jefferson's Indian Hall at Monticello; the pedagogical theories behind nineteenth-century children's curiosity cabinets; collections of Native American artifacts; and the ability of the owners of doll houses to construct meaning within the context of traditional ideals of domesticity.
The authors also consider some darker aspects of collecting-hoarding, fetishism, and compulsive behavior-scrutinizing collections of racist memorabilia and fascist propaganda. The final essay posits the serial killer as a collector, an investigation into the dangerous objectification of humans themselves.
By bringing fresh, interdisciplinary critical perspectives to bear on these questions, Dilworth and her coauthors weave a fascinating cultural history of collecting in America.
Acts of Repair explores how ordinary people grapple with decades of political violence and genocide in Argentina—a history that includes the Holocaust, the political repression of the 1976–1983 dictatorship, and the 1994 AMIA bombing. Although the struggle against impunity seems inevitably incomplete, Argentines have created possibilities for repair through cultural memory, yielding spaces for transformation and agency critical to personal and political recovery.
The Acts of the Compassionates: “The pleasures of this novel come from the absurd situations, the baroque language and the passing shots at everything from gay marriage to wardrobe malfunctions. How the author manages to hit so many topics, on so many cylinders, in a scant 164 pages, makes this news editor weep with fraternal pride.” -- Allen Voivod in Deadbrain.com.
George Bush is thought to be on a “mission to Mars,” in search of dragons. Compelled by visions and prophecies, Richard the Unabashed (Cheney) and Don Carlos Borracha (Rumsfeld) then convince the rest of the Compassionates and the Kikbutzin (American) people to conquer the evil Kizhands (Iraqis) and their despicable King Subman (Saddam Hussein).
Acts of Theft
Arthur A. Cohen University of Chicago Press, 1987 Library of Congress PS3553.O418A65 1988 | Dewey Decimal 813.54
"An astonishing, soaring and seizing novel that means no less than to explain human culture. A detective story with a real detective and a real thief—and yet all the while it is the mind that is being plundered of its own frights."—Cynthia Ozick
"[Acts of Theft] ranges from the lost world of the Austrian aristocracy . . . to a thick-walled hacienda in the jungles of Mexico in the 1950s. . . . Cohen has resurrected the special man, the one for whom experience is a search an an intellectual problem, the man who deceives himself grandly and discovers the fact when it may be too late. . . . Cohen's writing is as beautiful and complicated as it is possible for writing to be. Rarely, these days, do novelists risk so much so successfully."—K. Deborah Taub, Baltimore Sun
"One of the rare novels that one can begin to reread as soon as the last page is finished. By unfolding the drama of an artist obsessed by the authenticity and perfection of his work, Arthur A. Cohen recalls to us, in fact, the destiny of all human existence. Acts of Theft ranks with the best novels of the post-war period."—Mircea Eliade
"Acts of Theft is a very elaborate story of cops and robbers—but it aspires to much more and its aspirations are largely fulfilled. The parallels that spring to mind are Crime and Punishment and Les Mesérables."—Joseph McLellan, Washington Post
As Karen Malpede points out in her introduction to Acts of War, tragedy "arose as a complement to, perhaps also as an antidote to, war." The greatest of the early playwrights wrote from experience—Aeschylus and Sophocles were generals in the Athenian army, and Euripides was a combat veteran. Electronic media reports war instantly, but the stage provides an unrivaled venue for facing the horror of armed conflict on a human scale.This timely anthology of plays by American and British writers bears witness to the realities of the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan for combatants and civilians alike and asks what it means to be a citizen in a democracy at war. From violence on the battlefield and in the cells of Guantanamo to the toll exacted on the homefront, the seven plays collected by Malpede, Messina, and Shuman explore in depth the costs of war. Sometimes with humor or erotic charge, always with compassion and surprising insight, these contemporary plays return to the theater a necessary social edge.Karen Malpede’s introduction sets the plays in the broader contexts of theater’s roots and recent history, while award-winning journalist and author Chris Hedges provides a foreword.
Why do people act? Why are other people drawn to watch them? How is acting as a performing art related to role-playing outside the theater? As the first philosophical study devoted to acting, Acts: Theater, Philosophy, and the Performing Self sheds light on some of the more evasive aspects of the acting experience— such as the import of the actor's voice, the ethical unease sometimes felt while embodying particular sequences, and the meaning of inspiration. Tzachi Zamir explores acting’s relationship to everyday role-playing through a surprising range of examples of “lived acting,” including pornography, masochism, and eating disorders. By unearthing the deeper mobilizing structures that underlie dissimilar forms of staged and non-staged role-playing, Acts offers a multi-layered meditation on the percolation from acting to life.
The book engages questions of theatrical inspiration, the actor’s “energy,” the difference between acting and pretending, the special role of repetition as part of live acting, the audience and its attraction to acting, and the unique significance of the actor’s voice. It examines the embodied nature of the actor’s animation of a fiction, the breakdown of the distinction between what one acts and who one is, and the transition from what one performs into who one is, creating an interdisciplinary meditation on the relationship between life and acting.
How does evidence happen? And when evidence happens badly, how can we find a fitting response to those making extraordinary claims? These are the questions driving Jenny Rice’s groundbreaking study into the life of evidence as she seeks to uncover why traditional modes of argument often fail in the face of claims that rely on bad evidence. The chapters make a deep dive into the nature and character of evidence itself by examining literal archives, though some quite unorthodox, as well as more popular archives that exist within public memory. Rice looks to examples that lie at the fringes of public discourse—pseudo-science, the paranormal, conspiracy theories about 9/11, the moon landing, UFO sightings, and Obama’s birth record. Such fringe examples, Rice argues, bring to light other questions about evidence that force us to reassess and move beyond traditional forms of ethics and debate.
After sketching a broader framework for understanding what evidence is, Awful Archives then asks how we can practice more ethical and productive forms of debate, especially when we’re faced with arguments that feel like a dead end. Thorough, engaging, and deeply insightful, Awful Archives:Conspiracy Theory, Rhetoric, and Acts of Evidence introduces an entirely new perspective on evidence—one that will impact the field for years to come.
The Book of Acts
Charles Raith II Catholic University of America Press, 2019 Library of Congress BS2625.52.B66 2019 | Dewey Decimal 226.606
The Book of Acts brings together leading Catholic, Orthodox, and Evangelical theologians to read and interpret the book of Acts from within their ecclesial tradition, while simultaneously engaging one another in critical dialogue. Combining both theological exegesis and ecumenical dialogue, each chapter is uniquely structured to facilitate a rich reading of Scripture and an engaging though critical dialogue across the traditions. Each chapter begins with a main essay by either a Catholic, Orthodox, or Evangelical theologian on a section of the book of Acts; the main essay is followed by responses from theologians of the other two traditions. The chapter concludes with a final response from the main author. Readers are thus provided with not only a deep and engaging reading of the book of Acts but also the unfolding of a rich theological-ecumenical dialogue centered on Scripture. Anyone interested in understanding how our ecclesial traditions inform our reading of Scripture would do well to read this book, as would anyone interested in the book of Acts, ecumenical dialogue, and the theological interpretation of Scripture
Coloring Whiteness pays homage to the ways that African American artists and performers have interrogated tropes and mythologies of whiteness to reveal racial inequalities, focusing on comedy sketches, street theater, visual art, video, TV journalism, and voice-over work since 1964. By investigating enactments of whiteness—from the use of white makeup and suggestive masks, to literary motifs and cultural narratives regarding “white” characteristics and qualities—Faedra Chatard Carpenter explores how artists have challenged commonly held notions of racial identity. Through its layered study of expressive culture, her book considers how artistic and performance strategies are used to “color” whiteness and complicate blackness in our contemporary moment.
Utilizing theories of performance and critical race studies, Coloring Whiteness is also propelled by Carpenter’s dramaturgical sensibilities. Her analysis of primary performance texts is informed not only by traditional print and visual materials, but also by her interviews with African American theater artists, visual artists, and cultural critics. The book is an invaluable contribution to the fields of theater and performance studies, African American studies, cultural studies, critical race studies, and American studies.
In Literacy as Involvement, Deborah Brandt examines the cultural and social roots of the acts of reading and writing. The book asks, for example, whether literacy is a natural growth of or a radical shift from orality. It questions the contrary views that literacy is either the learning of the conventions of language or is better understood as heightened social ability. Finally, it raises the possibility that knowing how to read and write is actually understanding how we respond during the acts of reading and writing.
This examination of literacy as process is also offered as a critique of prevailing theories of literacy advanced by such scholars as Walter J. Ong, S.J., David Olson, and E. D. Hirsch. They depict literacy as a textual experience that is socially and linguistically detached. Brandt critically examines the underlying assumptions from research on writing processes and argues that they call for a major reformation of prevailing conceptions of literacy. Specifically, she analyzes several expository texts from a process perspective to establish the interaction of reader and writer in even the most seemingly formal and detached writing. In her conclusion, Brandt brings together the major findings of her study to address pressing literacy issues, including the problem of illiteracy in our schools.
In Lydia as a Rhetorical Construct in Acts, Gruca-Macaulay explores the sociorhetorical function of the story of Lydia, a named Lydian woman ancient interpreters would have associated with cultural stereotypes of Lydians. As a rhetorical figure, Lydia both influenced and was influenced by the ideology of the surrounding text in Acts 16, as well as the approach Luke–Acts as a whole takes to people who are somehow like Lydia.
Displays the rhetorical-cultural portrayal of women in Luke-Acts from the perspective of a first-century Mediterranean audience as compared with the history of scholarship, specifically through a sociorhetorical interpretation of the role of Lydia in Acts
Investigates the rhetorical function of Mediterranean social-cultural topoi in qualitative argumentation, with a focus on Greco-Roman physiognomy generally, and Lydian ethnography especially
Introduces the rhetorical use of conceptual blending, particularly its application for gaining insight into the function of military discourse in developing the rhetorical force of the Lydia episode in Acts
The creative reuse of materials, texts, and ideas was a common phenomenon in the medieval world. The seven chapters offer here a synchronic and diachronic consideration of the receptions and meanings of events and artifacts, analyzing the processes that allowed medieval works to remain relevant in sociocultural contexts far removed from those in which they originated. In the process, they elucidate the global valences of recycling, revision, and relocation throughout the interconnected Middle Ages, and their continued relevance for the shaping of modernity. The essays examine cases in the Arab and Muslim world, China and Mongolia, and the Prussian-Lithuanian frontier of eastern Europe.
Renunciation as a creative force in the careers of writers, philosophers, and artists is the animating idea behind Ross Posnock’s new book. Taking up acts of abandonment, rejection, and refusal that have long baffled critics, he shows how renunciation has reframed the relationship of artists and intellectuals to society in productive and unpredictable ways.
In a work of remarkable synthesis that includes traditions and genres from antiquity to postmodernity, Posnock discovers connections among disparate figures ranging from Lao Tzu to Dave Chappelle and Bob Dylan. The thread running through these acts of renunciation, he argues, is an aesthetic and ethical resistance to the demand that one’s words and actions be straightforward and immediately comprehensible. Modern art in particular valorizes the nonconceptual and the intuitive, seeking to make silence articulate and incompletion fertile.
Renouncers reject not only artistic and scholarly conventions but also the public roles that attend them. Wittgenstein, Rimbaud, and Glenn Gould brazenly flouted professional and popular expectations, demanding that philosophy, poetry, music play by new rules. Emerson and Nietzsche severed all institutional ties, while William James waged a guerrilla campaign from his post at Harvard against what all three considered to be the enemy: the pernicious philosophical insistence on rationality. Posnock also examines renunciations in light of World War II—the veterans J. D. Salinger and George Oppen, and the Holocaust survivor Paul Celan—while a fourth cluster includes the mystic Thomas Merton and the abstract painters Ad Reinhardt and Agnes Martin.
The early twentieth century was marked by massive migration of southern Europeans to the United States. Transatlantic Subjects views this diaspora through the lens of Greek migrant life to reveal the emergence of transnational forms of subjectivity.
According to Ioanna Laliotou, cultural institutions and practices played an important role in the formation of migrant subjectivities. Reconstructing the cultural history of migration, her book points out the relationship between subjectivity formation and cultural practices and performances, such as publishing, reading, acting, storytelling, consuming, imitating, parading, and traveling. Transatlantic Subjects then locates the development of these practices within key sites and institutions of cultural formation, such as migrant and fraternal associations, educational institutions, state agencies and nongovernmental organizations, mental institutions, coffee shops, the church, steamship companies, banks, migration services, and chambers of commerce.
Ultimately, Laliotou explores the complex and situational entanglements of migrancy, cultural nationalism, and the politics of self. Reading against the grain of hegemonic narratives of cultural and migration histories, she reveals how migrancy produced distinctive forms of sociality during the first half of the twentieth century.