Pub. Date:
University of California Press
The Poethical Wager / Edition 1

The Poethical Wager / Edition 1

by Joan Retallack


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In these highly inventive essays, Joan Retallack, acclaimed poet and essayist, conveys her unique post-utopian vision as she explores the relationship between art and life in today's chaotic world.
In the tradition of the essay as complex humanist exploration, she engages ideas from across history: Aristotle's definition of happiness, Epicurus's swerve into unpredictable possibility, Montaigne's essays as an instrument of self-invention, John Cage's redefinition of Silence. Within her unifying rubric of poethics, Retallack gives the reader plenty of surprises with a wonderful range of examples, situations, and texts through which she conducts her exploration. A computer glitch, a passage from Gertrude Stein's favorite detective novelist, the idea of the experimental feminine, a John Cage performance—all serve as occasions for inquiry and speculation on the way to her poethics of a "complex realism."

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780520218413
Publisher: University of California Press
Publication date: 03/04/2004
Edition description: First Edition
Pages: 291
Product dimensions: 6.00(w) x 8.90(h) x 1.00(d)

About the Author

Joan Retallack is John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Professor of Humanities at Bard College. She is author of How to Do Things with Words (1998), Musicage: Cage Muses on Words Art Music (1996), Afterrimages (1995), and Errata 5uite (1993), among other books.

Table of Contents

Introduction: Essay as Wager
The Poethical Wager
Wager as Essay
Blue Notes on the Know Ledge
Poethics of the Improbable: Rosmarie Waldrop and the Uses of Form
The Experimental Feminine
The Scarlet Aitch: Twenty-Six Notes on the Experimental Feminine
:RE:THINKING:LITERARY:FEMINISM: (three essays onto shaky grounds)
The Difficulties of Gertrude Stein, I & II

Geometries of Attention
Fig. 1, Ground Zero, Fig. 2: John Cage—May 18, 2005
Poethics of a Complex Realism
Uncaged Words: John Cage in Dialogue with Chance

Acknowledgments and Permissions


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