Influx and Efflux: Writing Up with Walt Whitman

Influx and Efflux: Writing Up with Walt Whitman

by Jane Bennett

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In influx & efflux Jane Bennett pursues a question that was bracketed in her book Vibrant Matter: how to think about human agency in a world teeming with powerful nonhuman influences? “Influx & efflux”—a phrase borrowed  from Whitman's "Song of Myself"—refers to everyday movements whereby outside influences enter bodies, infuse and confuse their organization, and then exit, themselves having been transformed into something new. How to describe the human efforts involved in that process? What kinds of “I” and “we” can live well and act effectively in a world of so many other lively materialities? Drawing upon Whitman, Thoreau, Caillois, Whitehead, and other poetic writers, Bennett links a nonanthropocentric model of self to a radically egalitarian pluralism and also to a syntax and style of writing appropriate to the entangled world in which we live. The book tries to enact the uncanny process by which we “write up” influences that pervade, enable, and disrupt us.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781478009290
Publisher: Duke University Press
Publication date: 05/22/2020
Sold by: Barnes & Noble
Format: NOOK Book
Pages: 224
Sales rank: 1,073,266
File size: 24 MB
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About the Author

Jane Bennett is Andrew W. Mellon Professor of the Humanities at Johns Hopkins University and author of, most recently, Vibrant Matter: A Political Ecology of Things, also published by Duke University Press.

Table of Contents

Acknowledgments  vii
Prologue.Influx and efflux  ix
1. Position and Disposition  1
2. Circuits of Sympathy  27
3. Solar Judgment  46
Refrain. The Alchemy of Affects  63
4. Bad Influence  75
5. Thoreau Experiments with Natural Influences  92
Epilogue. A Peculiar Efficacy  113
Notes  119
Bibliography  173
Index  189

What People are Saying About This

Atmospheric Things: On the Allure of Elemental Envelopment - Derek P. McCormack

“In this remarkable book Jane Bennett shows us just why a capacious sense of influence matters so much to our efforts to shape the circumstances we find ourselves in. Generous, surprising, and beautifully illustrated, Influx and Efflux resounds as a compelling affirmation of the value of drawing diverse elements and agencies into new lines of thinking and feeling. This book does nothing less than shift the tone and terms of political theory, offering us a vital poetic vocabulary for making more of the world's participation in the political and ecological stances we take.”

Bird Relics: Grief and Vitalism in Thoreau - Branka Arsic

“Jane Bennett has always been interested in reading the ecological from a political point of view and articulating an ecological politics. But this book will be a new moment in how we think about ecology and democracy. For it explains to us not only the possibility of ‘ecological democracy’ but also why a truly democratic personality must be ecological: open and attentive, susceptible to otherness, and welcoming influences. Influx and Efflux is a wonderful achievement.”

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