American Literature's Aesthetic Dimensions by Cindy Weinstein

American Literature's Aesthetic Dimensions

byCindy Weinstein, Christopher Looby

Kobo ebook | July 24, 2012

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In these diverse essays, leading critics recast the place of aesthetics in the production and consumption of literature. Rethinking the category of aesthetics in light of recent developments in literary theory and social criticism, contributors showcase the interpretive possibilities available to those who bring politics, culture, ideology, and conceptions of identity into their critiques.

Deploying a distinctive range of methodologies, essays combine close readings of individual works and authors with more theoretical discussions of aesthetic theory and its relation to American literature. An introduction surveys the rise of a literary criticism based in aesthetics from the eighteenth century to its twentieth-century remaking in the wake of deconstruction, identity politics, and new historicism. The editors ultimately argue that aesthetics never really left American literary critique, even in the heyday of new historicism. Instead, they cast the current return to aesthetics” as the natural consequence of shortcomings in deconstruction and new historicism, which led to a reconfiguration of aesthetics. Subsequent essays demonstrate the value and versatility of aesthetic considerations in literature, from eighteenth-century poetry to twentieth-century popular music. Organized into four groups—politics, form, gender, and theory—they revisit the canonical works of Henry James, Nathaniel Hawthorne, and Stephen Crane, introduce the overlooked texts of Constance Fenimore Woolson and Earl Lind, and unpack the surprising complexities of the music of The Carpenters. Deeply rooted in an American context, these essays explore literature’s aesthetic dimensions in connection to American liberty and the formation of political selfhood, and they conclude with the ethical implications of reading and representation.
Cindy Weinstein is professor of English at the California Institute of Technology and the author of The Literature of Labor and the Labors of Literature: Allegory in Nineteenth-Century American Fiction and Family, Kinship, and Sympathy in Nineteenth-Century American Literature. She is also the editor of The Cambridge Companion to H...
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Title:American Literature's Aesthetic DimensionsFormat:Kobo ebookPublished:July 24, 2012Publisher:Columbia University PressLanguage:English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:0231520778

ISBN - 13:9780231520775

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Table of Contents

Introduction, by Cindy Weinstein and Christopher Looby

Part 1: Aesthetics and the Politics of Freedom

Liberty of the Imagination in Revolutionary America, by Edward Cahill
The Writing on the Wall: Revolutionary Aesthetics and Interior Spaces
Stephen Crane's Refrain, by Ivy G. Wilson
Lyric Citizenship in Post 9/11 Performance: Sekou Sundiata's the 51st (dream) state, by June Ellison

Part 2: Aesthetics and the Representation of Sexuality

Aesthetics Beyond the Actual: The Marble Faun and Romantic Sociability, Christopher Castiglia
Henry James, Constance Fenimore Woolson, and the Figure in the Carpet, by Dorri Beam
Sexuality's Aesthetic Dimension: Kant and the Autobiography of an Androgyne, by Christopher Looby
From Hawthorne to Hairspray: American Anxieties About Beauty, by Wendy Steiner

Part 3: Aesthetics and the Reading of Form

When is Now? Poe's Aesthetics of Temporality, by Cindy Weinstein
Reading in the Present Tense: Benito Cereno and the Time of Reading, by Trish Loughran
What Maggie Knew: Game Theory, The Golden Bowl, and the Critical Possibilities of Aesthetic Knowledge, by Jonathan Freedman with an addendum by Nan Zhang Da
Upon a Peak in Beinecke: The Beauty of the Book in the Poetry of Susan Howe, by Elisa New

Part 4: Aesthetics and the Question of Theory

Warped Conjunctions: Jacques Rancière and African American Twoness, by Nancy Bentley
Aesthetics and the New Ethics: Theorizing the Novel in the Twenty-First Century, by Dorothy Hale
Postwar Pastoral: The Art of Happiness in Philip Roth, by Mary Esteve
Perfect Is Dead: Karen Carpenter, Theodor Adorno, and the Radio; or, If Hooks Could Kill, by Eric Lott
Network Aesthetics: Juliana Spahr's The Transformation and Bruno Latour's Reassembling the Social, by Sianne Ngai


Editorial Reviews

Ambitious... An invaluable read for students of American literature.