In this provocative and original work, Slavoj _i_ek takes a look at the question of human agency in a postmodern world. From the sinking of the Titanic to Hitchcock’s Rear Window, from the operas of Wagner to science fiction, from Alien to the Jewish Joke, the author’s acute analyses explore the ideological fantasies of wholeness and exclusion which make up human society. _i_ek takes issue with analysts of the postmodern condition from Habermas to Sloterdijk, showing that the idea of a ‘post-ideological’ world ignores the fact that ‘even if we do not take things seriously, we are still doing them’. Rejecting postmodernism’s unified world of surfaces, he traces a line of thought from Hegel to Althusser and Lacan, in which the human subject is split, divided by a deep antagonism which determines social reality and through which ideology operates. Linking key psychoanalytical and philosophical concepts to social phenomena such as totalitarianism and racism, the book explores the political significance of these fantasies of control. In so doing, The Sublime Object of Ideology represents a powerful contribution to a psychoanalytical theory of ideology, as well as offering persuasive interpretations of a number of contemporary cultural formations.
For more than a decade literary criticism has been thought to be in a post-theory age. Despite this, the work of thinkers such as Derrida, Deleuze and Foucault and new writers such as Agamben and Ranciere continue to be central to literary studies. Literary Criticism in the 21st Century explores the explosion of new theoretical approaches that has seen a renaissance in theory and its importance in the institutional settings of the humanities today. Literary Criticism in the 21st Century covers such issues as: The institutional history of theory in the academy The case against theory, from the 1970s to today Critical reading, theory and the wider world Keystone works in contemporary theory New directions and theory's many futures Written with an engagingly personal and accessible approach that brings theory vividly to life, this is a passionate defence of theory and its continuing relevance in the 21st century.
Often labelled as 'indescribable', the sublime is a term that has been debated for centuries amongst writers, artists, philosophers and theorists. Usually related to ideas of the great, the awe-inspiring and the overpowering, the sublime has become a complex yet crucial concept in many disciplines. Offering historical overviews and explanations, Philip Shaw looks at: the legacy of the earliest, classical theories of the sublime through the romantic to the postmodern and avant-garde sublimity the major theorists of the sublime such as Kant, Burke, Lyotard, Derrida, Lacan and Zizek, offering critical introductions to each the significance of the concept through a range of literary readings including the Old and New testaments, Homer, Milton and writing from the romantic era how the concept of the sublime has affected other art forms such as painting and film, from abstract expressionism to David Lynch's neo-noir. This remarkably clear study of what is, in essence, a term which evades definition, is essential reading for students of literature, critical and cultural theory.
One of the most widely-read thinkers writing today, Slavoj Žižek's work can be both thrilling and perplexing in equal measure. Žižek: A Guide for the Perplexed is the most up-to-date guide available for readers struggling to master the ideas of this hugely influential thinker. Unpacking the philosophical references that fill Žižek's writings, the book explores his influences, including Lacan, Kant, Hegel and Marx. From there, a chapter on 'Reading Žižek' guides the reader through the ways that he applies these core theoretical concepts in key texts like Tarrying With the Negative, The Ticklish Subject and The Parrallax View and in his books about popular culture like Looking Awry and Enjoy Your Symptom! Major secondary writings and films featuring Žižek are also covered.
Written in concise and clear language, this book offers an historical overview of literary criticism and theory throughout the twentieth century along with a close analysis of some of the most important and commonly taught texts from the period. Provides an accessible introduction to modern literary theory and criticism Places various modes of criticism within their historical and intellectual contexts Offers close readings of some of the major critical texts of the period Explores the works of a diverse group of 20th-century writers, including Babbitt, Woolf, Bakhtin, Heidegger, Lacan, Derrida, Judith Butler, Zizek, Nussbaum, Negri and Hardt Covers formalism, psychoanalysis, structuralism, deconstruction, Marxism, feminism, reader-response criticism, historicism, gender studies, cultural studies, and film theory
Slavoj Zizek is, without doubt, one of the most stimulating and vibrant thinkers of our time, and his idiosyncratic blend of Lacan and Hegel is always sparkling with insight and studded with amusing stories, anecdotes and jokes. In The Plague of Fantasies Zizek approaches another enormous subject with characteristic brio and provocativeness. The current epoch is plagued by fantasms: there is an ever intensifying antagonism between the process of ever greater abstraction of our lives—whether in the form of digitalization or market relations—and the deluge of pseudo-concrete images which surround us. Traditional critical thought would have sought to trace the roots of abstract notions in concrete social reality; but today, the correct procedure is the inverse—from pseudo-concrete imagery to the abstract process which structures our lives. Ranging in his examples from national differences in toilet design to cybersex, and from intellectuals' responses to the Bosnian war to Robert Schumann's music, Zizek explores the relations between fantasy and ideology, the way in which fantasy animates enjoy-ment while protecting against its excesses, the associations of the notion of fetishism with fantasized seduction, and the ways in which digitalization and cyberspace affect the status of subjectivity. To the already initiated, The Plague of Fantasies will be a welcome reminder of why they enjoy Zizek's writing so much. For new readers, it will be the beginning of a long and meaningful relationship.
Examining the controversies that have accompanied the publication of novels representing the Holocaust, this compelling book explores such literature to analyze their violently mixed receptions and what this says about the ethics and practice of millennial Holocaust literature. The novels examined, including some for the first time, are: * Time's Arrow by Martin Amis * The White Hotel by D.M. Thomas * The Painted Bird by Jerzy Kosinski * Schindler's List by Thomas Keneally * Sophie's Choice by William Styron * The Hand that Signed the Paper by Helen Darville. Taking issue with the idea that the Holocaust should only be represented factually, this compelling book argues that Holocaust fiction is not only legitimate, but an important genre that it is essential to accept. In a growing area of interest, Sue Vice adds a new, intelligent and contentious voice to the key debates within Holocaust studies.
Mohaghegh tracks the idea of 'chaos' into the contemporary philosophical and cultural imagination of the postcolonial world, exploring its vital role in the formation of an emergent avant-garde literature in the Middle East, concentrating on the writings of the twentieth-century Iranian new wave.