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Accounting for Imaginary Presence

Husserl and Sartre on the Hyle of Pure Imagination

Di Huang

Both Husserl and Sartre speak of quasi-presence in their descriptions of the lived experience of imagination, and for both philosophers, accounting for quasi-presence means developing an account of the hyle proper to imagination. Guided by the perspective of fulfillment, Husserl’s theory of imaginary quasi-presence goes through three stages. Having experimented first with a depiction-model and then a perception-model, Husserl’s mature theory appeals to his innovative conception of inner consciousness. This elegant account nevertheless fails to do justice to the facticity and bodily involvement of our imaginary experience. Sartre’s theory of analogon, based on his conception of imaginary quasi-presence as ‘magical’ self-affection, embodies important insights on these issues. Kinesthetic sensations and feelings are the modes in which we make use of own body to possess and be possessed by the imaginary object, thus lending it a semblance of bodily presence.

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‘All the world's a [post-apocalyptic] stage’

The Future of Shakespeare in Emily St. John Mandel's Station Eleven

Charles Conaway

Abstract

Emily St. John Mandel's 2014 novel, Station Eleven, follows the Traveling Symphony, a small troupe of actors and musicians who perform concerts and stage Shakespeare's plays in the scattered communities of survivors of an influenza pandemic. Tattooed on the arm of Kirsten Raymonde, an actress in the troupe, are the words ‘Because survival is insufficient’, a phrase borrowed from Star Trek: Voyager, indicating that the works of Shakespeare and Beethoven can enrich the lives of the survivors of the pandemic. But even if survival in this post-apocalyptic landscape is considered insufficient, it cannot be taken for granted. In a world without electricity and modern technology, encounters with strangers on the road occasionally turn confrontational, even deadly. The novel thus dramatises a constant struggle that complicates the idea that survival is insufficient, and ceaselessly probes the notion that Beethoven and Shakespeare can enrich our lives in post-apocalyptic times.

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Keith Jones

Abstract

Taking Emily St. John Mandel's Station Eleven and Gary Schmidt's Wednesday Wars as test cases, this article explores generic considerations in modern novels that employ Shakespeare but do not retell or recast the plot of any particular work by Shakespeare. Questions to be considered include how the works employ the Shakespearean genres of comedy, tragedy, history, romance and tragicomedy to create their own genres – and, conceivably, to transcend them. The article will also consider the mainstream appropriation of Shakespeare in Mandel and Schmidt. The Three Fates by Linda Lê will be briefly examined as a less straightforward reworking of the material of a single Shakespeare play (King Lear).

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An Anti-Imperial Mythology

The Radical Vision of Howards End

Charles Campbell

Abstract

Critics have read Howards End as if Forster ‘specifically barred’ the poor from the novel (Trilling), so that only the middle classes are considered and not in a ‘truly radical’ way (Crews). Yet Forster does, after all, concern himself with the very poor in his depiction of Leonard Bast, Jacky and other characters, and extensively in the thoughts of Margaret. Furthermore, he creates the myth he says England lacks, and, considered in relationship to the main narrative events and to the novel's imagery, this takes the form of an anti-imperialist mythology. Mythic elements include epic journeys and battles, a symbolic sword and tree, a sacrificial death and a redemptive child. In the novel's poetic passages and in its account of Margaret's education on the ‘hard road of Henry's soul’, the nature of England's imperialism is revealed and defeated by an alternative radical and feminist vision of society.

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The Art of Revolutionary Praxis

Ghosting a History without Shadows

Duane H. Davis

Merleau-Ponty, in Humanism and Terror (1947), addresses the spectrum of problems related to revolutionary action. His essay, Eye and Mind (1960), is best known as a contribution to aesthetics. A common structure exists in these apparently disparate works. We must reject the illusion of subjective clairvoyance as a standard of revolutionary praxis; but also we must reject any idealised light of reason that illuminates all—that promises a history without shadows. The revolutionary nature of an act must be established as such through praxis. The creative praxes of the political revolutionary or the revolutionary artist are recognised ex post facto; yet each involves the creation of its own new aesthetic wherein the value of that praxis is to be understood spontaneously and all at once.

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Robert Boncardo, Jean-Pierre Boulé, Nik Farrell Fox, and Daniel O’Shiel

Gaye Çankaya Eksen, Spinoza et Sartre: De la politique des singularités à l’éthique de générosité. Préface de Chantal Jacquet (Paris: Classiques Garnier, 2017), 293 pp., 39 €, ISBN 9782406058007 (paperback).

François Noudelmann, Un tout autre Sartre (Paris : Gallimard, 2020) 206 pp., €18 (paper) / €12.99 (e-book), ISBN 9782072887109.

The Nietzschean Mind, edited by Paul Katsafanas (Oxford: Routledge, 2018) 475 pp., $200, ISBN: 9781138851689 (hardback) and The Sartrean Mind, edited by Matthew C. Eshleman and Constance L. Mui (Oxford: Routledge, 2020) 579 pp., $200, ISBN: 9781138295698 (hardback).

Caleb Heldt, Immanence and Illusion in Sartre’s Ontology of Consciousness (London: Palgrave Macmillan, 2020) 195 pp., £64.99, ISBN 978-3-030-49552-7 (eBook)

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Canon Fodder and Conscripted Genres

The Hogarth Project and the Modern Shakespeare Novel

Laurie E. Osborne

Abstract

The Hogarth Shakespeare novels bring into focus several features emerging in the encounter between Shakespeare and fiction writing. Hogarth's ostensibly ‘new’ version of serial Shakespearean publication intersects in provocative ways with both historical adaptations, like Mary Cowden Clarke's Girlhood of Shakespeare's Heroines, and with current, less high-profile Shakespearean novels. In the context of current serial adaptations, the Hogarth novels foreground Shakespeare as a principle of collectivity, a gesture towards coherence in works whose larger alliances reside in genre or authorship. Hogarth's Shakespearean frame also draws attention to new adaptive choices which expand but perhaps dilute Shakespeare as a useful collective canon. As a result, the series both contributes to and emphasises Shakespeare's participation in the three zones of cultural capital: our individual and collective artistic investment in series, culturally provoked shifts in adaptive choice, and evolving genres that increasingly test former lines between literary and genre fiction.

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Editorial

Shakespeare and the Modern Novel

Graham Holderness

When I first studied the novel, the form was believed to have originated in the eighteenth century with the fiction of Daniel Defoe, Henry Fielding and Samuel Richardson, and was synonymous with literary realism. The novel emerged from the Age of Reason, was closely associated with journalism, satire and conduct literature, and marked a profound break with the supernatural, fantastic and romance narratives of the past. Its perfect embodiment was to be found in the work of Jane Austen, even today an immensely popular writer, and widely regarded as a defining practitioner of the novel form. This kind of novel was/is in every respect different from Shakespeare: new, ‘novel’, not old; prose, not poetry; narrative, not dramatic; realist, not magical; fictional, not metafictional; and could deal with Shakespeare only as an objective feature of the society and culture being represented.

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John Gillespie and Katherine Morris

If Descartes’ soul was always thinking, Sartre’s soul (if we may put it this way) was always not just thinking but putting those thoughts on paper. It is an indication of the enormous fertility of his thinking and writing across many decades that we continue to find food for our own thinking and writing in the whole span of his philosophical works, from his books on the imagination to his reflections on Marxism, as this issue of Sartre Studies International exemplifies. And in a year in which we seem to have rediscovered the value of dialogue with others, many of the contributions to this issue exemplify that value as well: we see here Sartre in dialogue with Husserl, with Beauvoir, with Badiou, and with Lacan.

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Kate Myers

Abstract

While much attention has been paid to Angela Carter's intertextual appropriation of Shakespeare and her interrogation of the patriarchal ideology at work in his representations of familial strife, critics tend to focus on Carter's final novel, Wise Children. Shakespeare's influence on Carter's earlier novel, Nights at the Circus, has gone largely unremarked. Like Wise Children, Nights at the Circus builds a bricolage of Shakespearean allusions, but it more subtly reconsiders the ontological issues of legitimacy by returning to Shakespeare's interest in ambiguity, in deniability, in time, and in space. I argue that Nights at the Circus appropriates and shatters Shakespeare's disruptive methods concerning the materiality of time in The Winter's Tale and Hamlet. In so doing, Carter reverses time and dismembers space to criticise the masculine-made-legitimate at the expense of the feminine, which Shakespeare's temporal and spatial manipulations ultimately uphold.