History, Literature, Critical Theory

Overview

In History, Literature, Critical Theory, Dominick LaCapra continues his exploration of the complex relations between history and literature, here considering history as both process and representation. A trio of chapters at the center of the volume concern the ways in which history and literature (particularly the novel) impact and question each other. In one of the chapters LaCapra revisits Gustave Flaubert, pairing him with Joseph Conrad. Other chapters pair J. M. Coetzee and W. G. Sebald, Jonathan Littell's ...

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History, Literature, Critical Theory

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Overview

In History, Literature, Critical Theory, Dominick LaCapra continues his exploration of the complex relations between history and literature, here considering history as both process and representation. A trio of chapters at the center of the volume concern the ways in which history and literature (particularly the novel) impact and question each other. In one of the chapters LaCapra revisits Gustave Flaubert, pairing him with Joseph Conrad. Other chapters pair J. M. Coetzee and W. G. Sebald, Jonathan Littell's novel, The Kindly Ones, and Saul Friedlander's two-volume, prizewinning history Nazi Germany and the Jews.

A recurrent motif of the book is the role of the sacred, its problematic status in sacrifice, its virulent manifestation in social and political violence (notably the Nazi genocide), its role or transformations in literature and art, and its multivalent expressions in "postsecular" hopes, anxieties, and quests. LaCapra concludes the volume with an essay on the place of violence in the thought of Slavoj Zizek. In LaCapra's view Zizek's provocative thought "at times has uncanny echoes of earlier reflections on, or apologies for, political and seemingly regenerative, even sacralized violence."

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher

"Dominick LaCapra's marvelous books are never closed, and unfold across his career as a series of themes and variations. In History, Literature, Critical Theory, LaCapra builds on the thematic concerns of his recent work in provocative discussions of classic texts and new ventures. In doing so, he offers another stylish entry to the canon of humanistic inquiry at its best."—Samuel Moyn, Columbia University, author of Origins of the Other: Emmanuel Levinas between Revelation and Ethics

"True critical interdisciplinarity is when scholars from multiple disciplines read a text and think it belongs to their discipline. Dominick LaCapra's History, Literature, Critical Theory is such a book. An insightful and erudite reading literary texts as history (from Conrad to Littell) and historical/theoretical texts as literature (from Friedlander to Zizek), LaCapra's analysis of trauma, the Holocaust, and modern theory remains a touchstone for all disciplines engaged in a process of critical analysis of texts and the historical unconscious."—Sander L. Gilman, Distinguished Professor of the Liberal Arts and Sciences and Professor of Psychiatry, Emory University

"In this new collection of essays linked thematically by a concern with the problem of violence, Dominick LaCapra shows once again why he is one of the most significant critical intellectuals working at the intersection of history and literature. Avoiding the traps of contextual reductionism and ultraformalism, he offers nuanced, theoretically informed reflections on the pressures history and literature exert on each other. History, Literature, Critical Theory engages with some of the most important writers of the last century, including Conrad, Sebald, and Coetzee, and reads them in productive conversation with Badiou, Derrida, Žižek, and other leading theorists of our 'postsecular' moment."—Michael Rothberg, Professor of English and Conrad Humanities Scholar and Director of the Holocaust, Genocide, and Memory Studies Initiative at the University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign, author of Multidirectional Memory

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780801478659
  • Publisher: Cornell University Press
  • Publication date: 5/14/2013
  • Edition description: Critical
  • Pages: 237
  • Sales rank: 731,870
  • Product dimensions: 6.00 (w) x 9.20 (h) x 0.70 (d)

Meet the Author

Dominick LaCapra is Bryce and Edith M. Bowmar Professor of Humanistic Studies and Professor of History and Comparative Literature at Cornell University.

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Table of Contents

Introduction

1. The Mutual Interrogation of History and Literature

2. The Quest! The Quest! Conrad and Flaubert

3. Coetzee, Sebald, and the Narrative of Trauma

4. Historical and Literary Approaches to the "Final Solution": Saul Friedländer and Jonathan Littell

5. The Literary, the Historical, and the Sacred: The Question of Nazism

Epilogue: Recent Figurations of Trauma and Violence: Tarrying with Zizek

Notes
Index

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