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3. Postcolonial Pre-Columbian Cosmologies of Night in Contemporary U.S.-Based Central American Texts

DeGuzmán, María Indiana University Press ePub

Then, the four hundred boys whom Zipacná had killed,
also ascended, and so they again became the companions of [the boys]
and were changed into stars in the sky.

Popol Vuh

The Invisibility of U.S.-Based Central American Cultural Production

Central America is the invisible sleeping giant or the eclipsed celestial body in the study of U.S. Latina/o culture, Latin American culture, and American (United States) culture. I deploy the phrase “sleeping giant” to remind U.S.-based critics and readers of the ideological framework of a particular “Latin Americanism” (to borrow Román de la Campa’s phrase)1 that afflicts consideration of Central America, especially in the United States. An American Cold War against land redistribution and liberation movements in Central America and the proliferation of government-sponsored counterinsurgency operatives in many Central American countries (including Nicaragua, El Salvador, Guatemala, and Honduras) have over-determined U.S. consideration of Central America. This framework has played a significant part in creating an occlusion of U.S. vision with regard to both the living presence of Central Americans here in the United States itself (for example, over one million Central Americans live in Southern California around the Los Angeles area) and to the socioeconomic, cultural, and political complexity of each country and of the countries in relation to one another (the significant presence, for instance, of Salvadorans living in Honduras). Diaspora in relation to Central America is varied. It involves Central Americans in one Central American country moving to another Central American country as well as to other countries such as Mexico, the United States, and Spain.

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47. The Man of Genius

Charles S. Peirce Indiana University Press PDF


The Man of Genius

25 February 1892

The Nation

The Man of Genius. By Cesare Lombroso, Professor of Legal

Medicine in the University of Turin. [The Contemporary Science

Series.] Charles Scribner’s Sons, 1891.

Prof. Lombroso comes to us with a proposition not absolutely new, but which he makes claim now to prove for the first time. It is that genius is a mental disease, allied to epileptiform mania and in a lesser degree to the dementia of cranks, or mattoids, as he calls them; so that, far from being a mental perfection, it is a degenerate and diseased condition. The inevitable corollary must be, though Prof. Lombroso does not draw it, that the whole of civilization is due to insanity. If so, it is a disease like pearls, fat livers, and ambergris, which we had better try to propagate, in others. But our Napoleons, our Pythagorases, our Newtons, and our Dantes must no longer run at large, but be confined in

Genius Asylums as fast as they betray themselves.

To prove his proposition, Prof. Lombroso proceeds inductively. In order, therefore, to judge of his work, we will examine the first induction he offers with some care. This first generalization is that geniuses are, on the average, of smaller stature than ordinary men. Here is his reasoning:

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Chapter 4: Revival and Survival

Jarrod Tanny Indiana University Press ePub

The anathematized myth of old Odessa outlasted Stalin and the cultural frost of the General Secretary’s twilight years. The subsequent “thaw” in Soviet politics and culture melted the layers of ice that had inhibited the commemoration of Russia’s gilded city of sin, and it was not long before the roguish Odessit publicly surfaced, armed with an array of amusing tales from his frivolous homeland. The limited de-Stalinization of the 1950s and 1960s did not, however, signify old Odessa’s rehabilitation, let alone its official endorsement, antithetical as it was to the regime’s conception of a healthy culture.1 But it did give mythmakers some room to maneuver, a gray discursive area straddling the middle ground between state-sponsored culture and the world of the forbidden. New technology augmented this public space, with the advent of the tape recorder in the 1960s, a medium through which bootlegged recordings of criminal folksongs and stand-up comedy were produced and disseminated. A new generation of mythmakers also emerged, a fresh cohort of film producers, actors, writers, humorists, and musicians who filled the vacancies left by those who had died, such as Isaac Babel, Il'ia Il'f, and Evgenii Petrov. Most were too young to have personally visited Gambrinus and Café Fankoni, to have observed Mishka Iaponchik’s ostentatious banditry, or to have read Odesskaia pochta’s sensationalistic vignettes. But this did not matter. The legends had endured as collective memory, and they were bequeathed to the young by those elder mythmakers who had not perished, most notably Konstantin Paustovskii and Leonid Utesov. Self-professed witnesses to a bygone age, Paustovskii and Utesov resuscitated the slumbering Odessit and the notorious city he came from.

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11. Poetics in the Popol Wuj

Kerry M. Hull University Press of Colorado ePub



In this chapter I will show how poetry and prose are interwoven in a text to provide fluency to verbal art.1 I will also discuss specific characteristics of parallelism as found in the Popol Wuj (or Popol Vuh), arguing that parallelism is not only the contiguity of two lines but that it extends further into constructions of three and four lines, in which the last line of the paradigm is broken to link verse with prose. I will also provide evidence that poetics and function take precedence over word formation in parallelisms, despite the fact that some couplets appear to be fixed. Furthermore, I discuss the use and meaning of grammatical, lexical, morphological, syntactic, semantic, paradigmantic, and syntagmatic parallelisms in an effort to unpack their functional importance in discourse. Finally, I show the use of figures of speech in the Popol Wuj such as metaphor, metonymy, and paronomasia as means of imbuing the text with a deeper “poetic-ness.”

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Edited and with an Introduction by Owen Indiana University Press ePub

The homing pundit breaks his long silence and
solves the solution of most everything

. . .

MY FOLKS—They got through the winter all right, with a few heavy colds but nothing worse. The new oil heater worked fine. My Aunt Mary was thinking about going to Finland to drive an ambulance, but the armistice stopped that. . . .1

Census catches Ernie and spoils his little scheme

BIRMINGHAM, Ala.— . . .

We slowed down in Orlando, to see the boy who was my closest chum from the time we were eight until we were 18, back in Indiana. His name is Thad Hooker and, like me, he is no longer much of a boy.

In the years that have passed his new acquaintances have warped “Thad” into “Ted,” and that is the name he goes by now. He has heard it so long he hardly answers to his old name.

He puts lath on new houses for a living, and there are plenty of new houses in Orlando, and pretty ones too. But my friend both lives and laths in order to be able to fish. He has come a long way from the tree-pole and cork-floater fishing of our creek days.

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1. The Emergence of Modern Cultural Production in Ladino: The Sephardi Press

Olga Borovaya Indiana University Press ePub

The press was the earliest and the most influential form of modern Ladino print culture. Alongside European-style schools, it served as an essential medium for the westernization of Ottoman Jewry. Furthermore, it brought into existence Ladino belles lettres and played a crucial role in the development and conceptualization of Sephardi Theater. In addition, despite the poor condition of the extant Ladino periodicals, a thorough reading has allowed me to uncover a considerable amount of new information. For all these reasons, I will dedicate more space to the discussion of the Ladino press than to the other two genres.

In the late nineteenth century, the press had already begun to attract the interest of historians and bibliographers, and it continues to be the most discussed aspect of Sephardi intellectual life. The first among the numerous bibliographies of Ladino periodicals was Meyer Kayserling’s Biblioteca Española-Portuguesa-Judaica (Strasbourg, 1890). But the most authoritative catalog to date is Moshe Gaon’s The Ladino Press (1965), despite the fact that some new data became available after its completion.

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5 Banned, Barred, and Besieged

Gerald Sorin Indiana University Press ePub

In the year between Howard Fast’s citation for contempt of Congress in April 1946 and his conviction in June 1947, he had faced not only a plagiarism suit, but incessant harassment by the FBI and the beginning of a series of attempts to ban his books. And by late 1947, after the publication of Clarkton, he would be embattled with college administrators who tried to keep him from speaking on their campuses.

J. Edgar Hoover never ordered the tap removed from Fast’s phone. It made little difference in any case, Fast said. After all, “what could we have talked about” that would interest the FBI.“We never did anything illegal, we never considered [doing] anything illegal.” To give a sense of it all, Fast told a story about two men, one a “spy” and the other a self-identified “Party member,” who had come to his home to sell him a map of “the newest battleship in the American fleet.” This foolishness, Fast insisted, was an attempt by the FBI to entrap him. “I immediately called the cops,” Fast said, but by the time they came, “both men were gone.” But at the World Peace Conference in Paris in 1949, Fast “saw the same FBI agent who brought the spy to me.” Howard had real enemies, of course, but with more than a touch of paranoia he added, “I knew his mission was to get me—to kill me, and I let everyone know. I accused him to his face.”1

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2 Anne Frank from Page to Stage

Edited by Barbara KirshenblattGimblett Indiana University Press ePub

Edna Nahshon

Scene: Apartment kitchen, Upper West Side, New York City.

Time: Shortly before Passover, spring 1997.

Characters: the Author of this essay; her Son, a high-school senior, helping in the kitchen.

Author (focused on chopping vegetables, chatting casually): So, what are your friends doing for the holiday?

Son: Well, David is having a seder at home, Avi is going to relatives on Long Island.

Author: And Ruth?

Son: Ruth’s family has an invitation for the second seder, but her mom doesn’t know how to prepare a seder and she wanted to do “something Jewish,” so she bought theater tickets for Anne Frank.

Although this conversation—which took place when The Diary of Anne Frank enjoyed its first Broadway revival in forty-two years—may seem trivial, it raises key issues about the play. First is the use of theater as a “sacred space” to affirm an ethno-religious identity and moral code. Attending a performance of this play in lieu of a Passover seder may not be a common practice, but the notion that seeing The Diary of Anne Frank is an exceptional, morally galvanizing experience has a considerable history, dating back to the play’s first production. As literary scholars Peter Brooks and John G. Cawelti have argued, the dramatic and literary form of melodrama, of which The Diary of Anne Frank is an example, developed in post-sacred cultures in order to satisfy their need for a secular system of ethics. When replacing the church or synagogue as the forum for contemplating the nature of good and evil, the theater has the power of endowing everyday life with a moral order.1

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Chapter Four

Scott Russell Sanders Indiana University Press ePub

On the beach at Whale’s Mouth Bay, amid boulders and sea gulls, Teeg lay roasting in the sun. Against her naked back and rump the sand felt like a thousand nibbling flames. Salt-laden wind fanned her hair. Even through the breathing-mask she could smell the ocean. Between repair missions, when she was required to stay inside the Enclosure, more than anything else she missed the feel of sun on her skin.

During this trip she quickly finished her assigned job—replacing fuel cells on a signal booster atop Diamond Mountain—and had three hours left over for scouting. Most of the time she used for discovering how hospitable a place the bay might be, testing for radiation, toxins, soil nutrients, the quality of water. These last few minutes of her allotted time she lay basking in the sun, as a celebration for having found the right place at last. She would have to make sure Whale’s Mouth had been omitted from the surveillance net. It probably had, since no tubes or laser channels or signal avenues passed anywhere near the place. Just another piece of real estate long since erased from human reckoning. She hoped so. Phoenix could tell her for sure. And she would need to spend a week here, later on, to run more tests on plants and microbes and air before she could assure the other seekers that this was indeed the place for the settlement.

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Kenneth Verity Shepheard-Walwyn ePub

THE SO-CALLED ‘Ancient World’ was the place where very early examples of poetry originated. Mesopotamia (with Assyria to the north and Babylonia to the south) was the geographical region where the square-tipped reed was busy and clay tablets were receiving the cuneiform impressions of poetry some 4,000 years ago.

The most famous of all Sumerian rulers was Gilgamesh, who ruled at Uruk around 2700 BC. A series of legends accrued to his name, one of which developed into a superb early work of poetic expression.

Originally composed in the Sumerian language (c2000 BC), the Epic of Gilgamesh was eventually inscribed on clay tablets (in their own tongue) by Babylonians, Hittites, and others. The hero of the epic, Gilgamesh, was purportedly a king of ancient Erech who sought to gain the secret of immortality. An account of his travels, which was widely known in its time, includes the story of a cataclysmic flood. In its details which are recorded on Tablet XI, it bears a striking resemblance to the biblical story in Genesis. There is however a major difference. In the epic the deities inflicting the flood are, somewhat improbably, impelled by annoyance at being disturbed in their sleep by noisy mortals – in contrast to the God of the Hebrews who acts from moral disapproval. The most complete version of the great myth is the Akkadian copy. Its tablets were found in the library of the Assyrian monarch Assurbanipal.

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Chapter Fifteen

Scott Russell Sanders Indiana University Press ePub

In the morning Teeg padded about naked through the chill air to unshutter the portholes. Cylinders of daylight bored through the openings, playing on her flesh like searchlights as she walked the length of the raft. At the seaward end she paused, studying the bay, arms lifted to tie her red swish of hair into a knot. She had the body of a gymnast or runner, lean and taut, with narrow hips and small upward-tilted breasts and the flex of long muscles down her back and legs. The tape encircling her ribcage was a pale brushmark against her ruddy skin, which seemed to glow from inside, as if incandescent.

Phoenix admired her through barely-parted eyes, pretending to sleep. He still lay in their joined sleepsacks, where the lovemaking had deposited him. This was the way he imagined a drift log would feel, if it could feel, heaved and bulled by the waves, flung at last upon the shore, there to lie stunned and humble until caught again by the next high sea.

When she crawled back into the sleepsack, her leg slithered against him and her finger began inscribing circles on his belly.

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19. Notes on the Question on the Existence of anExternal World

Charles S. Peirce Indiana University Press PDF


Notes on the Question of the

Existence of an External World c. 1890

Houghton Library

1. The idealistic argument turns upon the assumption that certain things are absolutely “present,” namely what we have in mind at the moment, and that nothing else can be immediately, that is, otherwise than inferentially known. When this is once granted, the idealist has no difficulty in showing that that external existence which we cannot know immediately we cannot know, at all. Some of the arguments used for this purpose are of little value, because they only go to show that our knowledge of an external world is fallible; now there is a world of difference between fallible knowledge and no knowledge. However, I think it would have to be admitted as a matter of logic that if we have no immediate perception of a non-ego, we can have no reason to admit the supposition of an existence so contrary to all experience as that would in that case be.

But what evidence is there that we can immediately know only what is “present” to the mind? The idealists generally treat this as self-evident; but, as Clifford jestingly says, “it is evident” is a phrase which only means “we do not know how to prove.” The proposition that we can immediately perceive only what is present seems to me parallel to that other vulgar prejudice that “a thing cannot act where it is not.” An opinion which can only defend itself by such a sounding phrase is pretty sure to be wrong. That a thing cannot act where it is not, is plainly an induction from ordinary experience which shows no forces except such as act through the resistance of materials, with the exception of gravity which, owing to its being the same for all bodies, does not appear in ordinary experience like a force. But further experience shows that attractions and repulsions are the universal types of forces.

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7. Analysis of Genius

Peirce, Charles S. Indiana University Press PDF

Analysis of Genius, 1859 25


Analysis of Genius

MS 42:19 March 1859

It is important to observe that we have been desired to discuss not the meaning of the word "genius" but the question what genius itself consists in; it is not the question whether Dr. Johnson applied the word

"genius" to the right thing, but whether the thing to which he applied it consists in "large general powers accidentally determined in a particular direction." Hence it would not be enough to say for instance that genius is contemplative heroism for this is not an explanation but merely an exposition of the admitted conception of genius and could form the basis of no discussion whatever.

Much less should I have a right to take the ground that genius consists in activity of mind or that genius is talent combined with the moral sense, because in either case it would be evident that I applied the word to a different class of minds from that which Dr. Johnson gives to it; and his application of the word we are required for the nonce to admit.

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6 Le Freak, C’est Critical and Chic: North African Scholars and the Conditions of Cultural Production in Post-9/11 U.S. Academia

Edited by Frieda Ekotto and Kenneth W H Indiana University Press ePub

Lamia Benyoussef

IN AN INTRODUCTORY English composition class I taught a few years ago, an African American student asked me if she could write her comparative essay on the immigration and integration experiences of Arab and Caucasian Americans. When I pinpointed that the U.S. Census Bureau classified Arab Americans as Caucasians and suggested that she drop the racial categories in favor of a geographic terminology (that is, Middle Eastern and European immigration), in total shock and disbelief she exclaimed: “Arabs do 9/11 and they are still whites?” For a moment I froze there, not knowing what to say. I was not sure if she was angry at me because I was guilty by association or at her own self for still failing to be “white,” even though she was no evildoer like me, her teacher. That life-altering teaching moment repatriated me in W. E. B. Du Bois’s discourse on the Negro veil in The Souls of Black Folk. “It dawned upon me with a certain suddenness” that North African women academics too (alias moukéres or les négresses des sables) “are different from Others; or [like them perhaps] in life and longing, but shut out from their world by a vast veil.” If the point of this essay can be summed up in one sentence, it is the desire to tear down that veil, to creep through the silences and wonders of the academic world “and live above in the blue sky,” free from the pitfalls of colorisms and the haunting shades and “shadows”1 of diversity. This chapter is inspired not only by my own experience as an Arab and Muslim academic in the South but also by the scholarly work and experiences of other North African scholars who find themselves, like me, in the double bind functioning as a native informant (after all, Islam keeps enrollment high) while remaining on the threshold of American academia because their physical presence is as critical as the critical languages they teach.

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Epilogue: Holocaust, Apartheid, and the Slaughter of Animals: J. M. Coetzee’s Elizabeth Costello and Cora Diamond’s “Difficulty of Reality”

Emily Miller Budick Indiana University Press ePub

THE QUESTION OF subject position, both in relation to who writes about an event like the Holocaust and how they approach it, as well as how readers respond to these texts, seems to necessarily accompany anything we understand the literary ethics of writing and reading to be. I conclude this study of the subject of Holocaust fiction with one last text, also written by a non-Jewish author, that stages precisely the kind of application to the Holocaust that will strike some people as abusive, even reprobate, others as inspired. I am referring to J. M. Coetzee’s Elizabeth Costello (2003b), two chapters of which were originally delivered by Coetzee as a set of lectures at Princeton University and published along with several critical essays as The Lives of Animals (2003a). Both the novel and the lectures revolve around a famous, aging novelist who is giving talks in the United States, not on her area of expertise, which is literature, but on animal rights. She is also visiting her son and his family. Since the two Coetzee lectures include lectures by his protagonist Elizabeth Costello, who is herself a writer of fiction (albeit female rather than male, Australian rather than South African), Coetzee’s text creates a striking parallel between him and his character, which he clearly intends for us to see. In this way Elizabeth Costello/The Lives of Animals bears a structural similarity to Sebald’s Austerlitz. The parallel between author and character will become pertinent in thinking about Coetzee’s, or his character’s, displacement of the subject of animal rights onto the Holocaust, since Coetzee, who is far better known as a writer about apartheid and postapartheid South Africa than about animal rights, may be involved in a displacement in this novel, whether in relation to Elizabeth Costello or her topic. Insofar as Costello discourses on the issue of animal rights, Coetzee does so as well, even if his lectures contextualize his character’s lectures, describing her severely pained relationship with the members of her family. Along with her lectures he includes further responses that she gives to questions raised by her audience about her defense of animal rights, as well as another lecture she gives on poetry. This framing of Costello is further developed in the novel-length version of the text (Elizabeth Costello), which reprints the Lives of Animals lectures as two of the novel’s “lessons” (the book’s term for chapters). Of course, as in any work of fiction, the distance between the author of the novel and his protagonist is all to the point of our reading of the book. We might find the author as guilty as his character of an illegitimate use of the Holocaust in his text as, for example, we might find Philip Roth guilty when Nathan Zuckerman fantasizes that Amy Bellette is Anne Frank. Or we might defend Coetzee’s and Roth’s strategies. We might also defend Elizabeth Costello’s allusion to the Holocaust, as several critics of the novel have indeed done. Some of these defenses are printed along with the two lectures; some appear in a subsequent volume titled Philosophy and Animal Life (Cavell 2008). Where the reader stands in relation to what becomes a multifaceted, multivocal conversation among writers, philosophers, literary critics, and animal rights activists is where I have chosen to deliver this final foray into the subject of the Holocaust. I utilize Cora Diamond’s terminology in her essay on Coetzee’s lectures to call this problem of Holocaust response: “The Difficulty of Reality” (in Cavell 2008).

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