The Pale of Words: Reflections on the Humanities and Performanceby James Anderson Winn, James Anderson Winn
In this book, James Anderson Winn enters the debate about the perilous state of humanities education today. Winn, founding director of a leading humanities institute, contends that the disciplines we call the humanities have identified themselves excessively with the written word. He exposes the hostility and fear with which writers and philosophers throughout Western… See more details below
In this book, James Anderson Winn enters the debate about the perilous state of humanities education today. Winn, founding director of a leading humanities institute, contends that the disciplines we call the humanities have identified themselves excessively with the written word. He exposes the hostility and fear with which writers and philosophers throughout Western history have regarded forms of expression not couched in words, despite the fact that much of what humanists study originates in performance. Winn's readings of such figures as Plato, Augustine, Spenser, Milton, Dryden, Rousseau, and Kant underscore the long-standing Western prejudice against music and the similarly stubborn prejudices against theatrical display and the visual arts. The author then asks how the turn toward theory might help us reconsider the troubled relations between the humanities and performance; he discovers a bias toward the linguistic model deeply embedded even in the works of theorists who claim to be undermining the authority of language. Finding hope for a more inclusive view of performance in the thought of Roland Barthes and others, Winn concludes with pragmatic advice for the modern university and a proposal for humanities scholars and performers to form a new alliance.
- Yale University Press
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- 5.70(w) x 8.30(h) x 0.70(d)
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War brings out the best in us¿heroism, nobility, and sacrifice¿and the worst in us¿hatred, savagery, and vengefulness. From ancient times to the present, poets have explored the experience of war. War is a subject of most of the great western epics¿the Iliad, Aeneid, Beowulf, Chanson de Roland, Paradise Lost, etc. War is the subject for modern day popular poet such as Bob Dylan and Bruce Springsteen. To better understand the relationship between war and poetry, I read The Poetry of War, by James Winn. Though a professor of English at Boston University, Winn writes in a clear compelling a clear and avoids academic jargon. What is like to face death or to kill another man? Perhaps only a poet can convey a sense of the emotions of men at war. Winn shows how poets from Homer to Randall Jarrell have praised heroes while raising questions about the basic nature of heroism, celebrated victors but wondered about the ultimate bitter fruits of victory, and found the passion and energy of war both enthralling and repulsive. While awaiting the poet who can explain what we are doing in Iraq, I recommend that you read The Poetry of War.