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A Critical Consciousness: Heinrich von Kleist

Iain Bamforth Carcanet Press Ltd. PDF

A Critical Consciousness

H  K

Heinrich von Kleist’s life was ‘rich in incidents of being unlike’.

Born into a military family in , he soldiered in his teens and left the army in  as a second lieutenant. He engaged in a brief, intense period of study, principally of Kant and Rousseau, that was to provide him with much of the intellectual material he would mull over in his writing career – a bare nine years. It was a time of social unrest: Napoleonic levies went from one side of the continent to the other; in their wake went Kleist. A stay in Switzerland produced his early dramas, an event memorialised a hundred years later by Robert Walser in his story about the idyllic summer spent by Kleist on the Delosea Island in the River Aare near Thun where

‘he wants to abandon himself to the entire catastrophe of being a poet’. Kleist considered fighting both for and against the French, and travelled to Boulogne in the hope of invading England in ; in the years that followed he was arrested more than once by the

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17. Whose Testimony? The Confusion of Fiction with Fact

Edited by Steven T Katz and Alan Rosen Indiana University Press ePub


THROUGHOUT MOST OF his life Primo Levi insisted that his first book, Se questo é un uomo (If This Is a Man, published in the United States as Survival in Auschwitz), was not the work of a writer but simply a compilation of stories he had been telling to friends and strangers since his return from Auschwitz in October 1945. He had, he said repeatedly, no interest in producing a literary work but only a desire—indeed, a compelling need—to inform the world about his experience in Auschwitz, and in so doing to make a contribution to the history rather than to the literature of the Holocaust. He began work on the book soon after his return and finished it at the end of 1946. As is well known, he then submitted the manuscript without success to some of Italy's major publishers until a minor independent house agreed to issue a small edition of 2,000 in October 1947. It received little attention, sold 1,500 copies, and was quickly forgotten.

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9 Suturing In: Anne Frank as Conceptual Model for Visual Art

Edited by Barbara KirshenblattGimblett Indiana University Press ePub

Looking beyond the iconic smiling girl portrayed in a handful of widely circulated photographs of Anne Frank, contemporary artists have used diverse strategies to clear a path through the dense thicket of cultural construction around Anne Frank for a more personal and direct reconnection to her. Together, the diary and images offer a profound way into the Holocaust for European and American artists who have no personal or familial connections to the horror, but who were deeply affected as adolescents by their encounter with Anne Frank and her diary.1 Indeed, for some of them, Anne Frank and her diary became indistinguishable from their own hopes, fears, anxieties, and concerns, prompting them to seek formal means to gain distance from Anne Frank and her diary.

While some artists revalue Frank as a creative artist in her own right—as an active authorial voice and compelling subjectivity that could serve as a model and catalyst for their own creativity—or as a human rights icon, others focus on Anne Frank’s iconic image and the images with which she surrounded herself. However different the media or motivation for their works, the artists discussed here engage with Anne Frank, her image and her diary, through a path of identification, disengagement, and selective reintegration.

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12 - Someday We'll All be Free: Considering Post-Oppression Fiction

Edited by Lovalerie King and Shirley Moo Indiana University Press ePub


I was asked to contribute to this anthology in late 2009, after attending “Celebrating African American Literature: The Novel since 1988,” part of a conference series held biennially at Penn State University. The diverse voices and perspectives of the academics and fiction writers at the conference were fascinating and thrilling to me—I was extremely flattered to be asked to contribute to the collection. But for the life of me, I could not decide what to write about. At the time I received the assignment, the film Precious had just been released and the media—both old and new—were on fire with commentary about the film. So, of course, Sapphire's Push, the basis for the film, was once again omnipresent. I considered writing a craft essay comparing Push and The Bluest Eye, which deal with very similar material (sexually and physically abused black girls struggling to come of age and find their way against the vicious strictures of race, class and poverty) very differently. But as I began to tackle that essay, I found my interest in making the case one way or another fizzling out. Okay: Plan B. I started trying to formulate some new thoughts about the linkages between The Color Purple, The Bluest Eye, and Push. I diligently gathered all three novels from my bookshelf to reread, starting with The Color Purple. And that's when I snapped. I remember the moment clearly. I was on the subway doing my literary duty. Celie had just been raped—again—when I slammed the book shut and said (in my mind—I don't think I said it out loud), “I can't take it anymore. I'm sick of reading about us getting beat up and beat down, no matter how well it's written about!” Don't get me wrong: my reaction wasn't about the quality or significance of these books. Toni Morrison has created a number of necessary American masterpieces, The Bluest Eye among them. And while I don't admire The Color Purple or Push (I actually don't admire Push much at all, but that's another essay) as much as I do The Bluest Eye, I certainly appreciate the significance of both. But in that moment, on that train, I realized that I wanted this essay to consider the work of some black writers who were telling different kinds of stories—stories of now (or at least close to now). Stories in which, maybe tough things happened, maybe they didn't, but the horror was not so relentless, as it isn't in most of our lives. Stories that might better reflect black life at this minute in history.

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Red Star: A Utopia

Alexander Bogdanov Indiana University Press ePub

Letter from Dr. Werner to Mirsky

Dear Comrade Mirsky,

I am sending you Leonid’s notes. He wanted them published, and you, as a man of letters, can arrange that matter better than I. He himself has gone into hiding. I am leaving the clinic to try and trace him. I think I shall probably find him in the mountains, where the situation has lately become critical. By exposing himself to the dangers there he is evidently indirectly trying to commit suicide. He is obviously still unstable mentally, although he impressed me as being near complete recovery. I shall inform you the moment I learn of anything.

My warmest regards,

N. Werner

24 July 190? (illegible: 8 or 9)



It was early in that great upheaval* which continues to shake our country and which, I think, is now approaching its inevitable, fateful conclusion.

The public consciousness was so deeply impressed by the events of the first bloody days that everyone expected a quick and victorious end to the struggle. It seemed as though the worst had already occurred, that nothing more terrible could possibly happen. No one had realized how tenacious were the bony hands of the corpse that had crushed and still crushes the living in its convulsive embrace.

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Peirce, Charles S. Indiana University Press PDF


W R I T I N G S OF C H A R L E S S. P E I R C E , 1872-1878

The Fixation of Belief

P 107: Popular Science Monthly

12 (November 1877): 1-15


Few persons care to study logic, because everybody conceives himself to be proficient enough in the art of reasoning already. But

I observe that this satisfaction is limited to one's own ratiocination, and does not extend to that of other men.

We come to the full possession of our power of drawing inferences the last of all our faculties, for it is not so much a natural gift as a long and difficult art. The history of its practice would make a grand subject for a book. The mediaeval schoolmen, following the Romans, made logic the earliest of a boy's studies after grammar, as being very easy. So it was, as they understood it. Its fundamental principle, according to them, was, that all knowledge rests on either authority or reason; but that whatever is deduced by reason depends ultimately on a premise derived from authority. Accordingly, as soon as a boy was perfect in the syllogistic procedure, his intellectual kit of tools was held to be complete.

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33. Excerpts from Letters to William James (1909)

Edited by the Peirce Edition Project Indiana University Press ePub


L 224 and William James Papers, Houghton Library. [The four excerpts below were written in 1909. The first comes from pp. 6-14 of a long letter Peirce began on 26 February but did not send (L 224:90–98, CP 8.177–85 with some omissions, and NEM 3:839–44). This unwieldy letter was replaced with two shorter ones sent on March 9 and 14. The second excerpt consists of pages 6-10 of the 14 March letter, partly published in CP 8.314. The third excerpt includes pages 19–22 of a letter sent on 1 April, and published in CP 8.315. The last extract consists of the first eight pages of a letter begun on Christmas day; NEM 3:867–71.] Peirce’s effort to establish a “commens” with James resulted in interesting and sometimes unusual presentations of his semiotic ideas. Nearly all of the technical terms of Peirce’s semiotics, including “sign,” are well worked over in these excerpts. Not surprisingly, Peirce makes sure to let James know that “the Final Interpretant does not consist in the way in which any mind does act but in the way in which every mind would act.” In the final segment, Peirce outlines his “System of Logic,” a book on semiotics he was working on, and provides one of the last summary accounts of his theory. Among other things, we learn that “every conceivable thing is either a May-be, an Actual, or a Would-be.” Peirce admits that there may be more than ten trichotomies of signs, but his ten “exhibit all the distinctions that are generally required by logic.” In his discussion of “Critic,” Peirce describes the kind of warrant that applies to each of the three types of reasoning.

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14. A large number of repetitions of similar trials

Peirce, Charles S. Indiana University Press PDF
Medium 9780253356864

30. Rents

Robert B. Ray Indiana University Press ePub

This car-load of torn sails is more legible and interesting now than if they should be wrought into paper and printed books. Who can write so graphically the history of the storms they have weathered as these rents have done? They are proof-sheets which need no correction. (84)

This passage appears in “Sounds,” a chapter that begins by unfavorably comparing “written languages” to “the language which all things and events speak without metaphor” (78). For this seemingly unimaginable possibility, Thoreau offers the example of torn sails, whose rents provide the direct indexical traces of hard weather, the world’s account of itself rather than one provided by a human mediator. In admiring this elimination of human expression, Thoreau was anticipating the capacities André Bazin attributed to the camera. “For the first time,” Bazin wrote in 1945, “an image of the world is formed automatically, without the creative intervention of man.” Bazin’s analogies for the photograph all emphasized the unmediated imprinting of the world on the camera’s chemically treated paper: the resulting image is “a kind of decal or transfer,” the veil of Veronica, the holy shroud of Turin, an embalmed version of what had occurred before its lens. Bazin celebrated filmmakers who recognized what the camera can do and knew enough to stay out of the way. “Rossellini directs facts,” Bazin wrote, offering his highest praise.

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The Politics of Place: An Interview with Terry Tempest Williams Scott London, Insight & Outlook Radio Show, 1995

Michael Austin Utah State University Press ePub

The connection between language and landscape is a perennial theme of American letters. Nature has been a well-spring for many of our finest writers—from Whitman and Thoreau to Peter Mathiessen and Edward Abbey. Terry Tempest Williams belongs in this tradition. A native of Utah, her naturalist writing has been richly influenced by the sprawling landscape of the West. It also draws on the values and beliefs of her Mormon background.

Terry Tempest Williams is the naturalist-in-residence at the Utah Museum of Natural History in Salt Lake City. She was thrown into the literary spotlight in 1991, with the release of her sixth book, Refuge: An Unnatural History of Family and Place. It tells of how the Great Salt Lake rose to record levels and eventually flooded the wetlands that serve as a refuge for migratory birds in Northern Utah. Williams tells the story against the backdrop of her family’s struggle with cancer as a result of living downwind from a nuclear test site.

For Williams, there is a very close connection between ourselves, our people, and our native place. In the words of the Utne Reader—who recently included her among their 100 leading “visionaries”—her writing “follows wilderness trails into the realm of memory and family, exploring gender and community through the prism of landscape.”

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5. Wiesel in the Context of Neo-Hasidism

Edited by Steven T Katz and Alan Rosen Indiana University Press ePub


IN PLACING ELIE WIESEL'S work in the context of “neo-Hasidism,” I use that term in its very broadest sense.1 Neo-Hasidism here refers to the notion that Hasidism has a message wider than the borders of the traditional hasidic community, that Jews and others who do not live the lives of Hasidim and who have no intention of doing so might still be spiritually nourished by the stories, teachings, music of Hasidism—indeed by the telling of the narrative of hasidic history itself. In addition to the role the living hasidic community has played—and continues to play, far beyond onetime expectations—in the life of the Jewish people, there is a second influence of Hasidism that is relevant to us here. That is the story of the image of Hasidism and the tremendous role it has had in the religious, artistic, and intellectual creativity of non-hasidic Jews throughout the twentieth century, reflected in literature (one need only think of Shmuel Yosef Agnon and Isaac Bashevis Singer, the two most important knowledgeably Jewish authors of the century), but also in religious thought, music, dance, theater, film, and painting. I take all of this as part of neo-Hasidism, that is to say, Hasidism for non-Hasidim.

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6 See Under: Mourning

Emily Miller Budick Indiana University Press ePub

IN RESURRECTING BRUNO SCHULZ or other figures from the murdered Jewish past, Ozick, Roth, Grossman, Appelfeld, Chabon, Krauss, Horn, and Foer ghost/write that past. In fact, they golem/write it, producing idols in and as text. “You lovers of literature. You parasites,” Elsa/Adela hurls at Lars at the end of Ozick’s The Messiah of Stockholm (in a line that echoes the auto-anti-Semitic and anti-Semitic definition of the Jewish writer in Appelfeld’s Age of Wonders); “you should ask yourselves if you exist” (Ozick 1987, 141; italics in original). It is an accusation, I suggest, that the text hurls at itself. Like Roth’s The Prague Orgy, Ozick’s Messiah of Stockholm impugns its own motives. The text is on some level aware that it is as obsessed with Bruno Schulz and the Jewish history he represents as is its protagonist Lars. How could Jews not be obsessed this way? For the writers I have been discussing, the demons of the past are captured in Ozick’s image of “the man in the long black coat . . . hurrying . . . hurrying and hurrying toward the chimneys” (1987, 144); they hurry around and through us as well. To deny this current of Jewish history would be to evade and bury the past in oblivion. To be swept along by it would be to see the world through a murdered eye that can see only what has been and is now destroyed. “That roasting in the air,” writes Ozick, somewhere between her voice and Lars’s. “His own sweat. The exertion. His legs like gyros. O the chimneys of armpits, moist and burning under wool” (18). The imagery repeats throughout the text. In fact, the imagery is the text, and that is my point.

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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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15. The Nature of Meaning (Lecture VI)

Edited by the Peirce Edition Project Indiana University Press ePub


MSS 314, 316. [Published in CP 5.151–79 (in part), and in HL, 221–39. This is the sixth Harvard lecture, delivered on 7 May 1903.] Peirce sets out from his concluding claim in Lecture V, that perceptual judgments involve generality. He gives a sustained discussion of the different kinds of reasoning—deduction, induction, and abduction—and discusses other logical conceptions relevant to the question of the nature of meaning. He will use “meaning” technically, he says, to “denote the intended interpretant of a symbol.” He then considers the role of perception in the acquisition of knowledge and the relation of perception to reasoning. Peirce claims that “every single item” of established scientific theory is the result of abduction but that the human faculty of “divining the ways of nature” is not subject to self-control. He argues that perception and abduction shade into one another and claims that pragmatism is the logic of abduction.

Ladies and Gentlemen:

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Chapter 2: Tradition versus Modernity and Historical Developments

Melammed, Renée Levine Indiana University Press ePub

Bouena had a natural affinity for traditions and for the traditional, partly due to her upbringing as a proud Sephardi, and partly due to her deep roots and vast acquaintance with Ladino folksongs and refrains along with her artistic ties to the world of embroidery. Tradition is an essential element that serves to bind any society—and, consequently, serves to keep families together. Tradition elicits respect and honor and is the antithesis of change. Therefore, if one is to protect traditions, one cannot blindly accept change for its own sake or on the assumption that all change is positive.1

Needless to say, knowing the fate of the community under discussion alters the lenses through which one perceives the traditional; this altered perception holds true for the poet-memoirist as well as for the historian. Although modernity and modern ways might have eventually eroded and even overtaken the traditional, the opportunity to do so naturally was thwarted. Tradition is mainly relegated to the memories of the survivors, and in Bouena’s case, geographical distance made it nearly impossible for her to continue many of the traditions that she treasured so dearly. But her admiration of the traditional and connection to her tradition served as a catalyst for writing hundreds of verses and for recording numerous proverbs that are devoted to traditions and that recreate the aura of the cherished world that has been lost.

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