History, Literature, Critical Theory by Dominick LaCapraHistory, Literature, Critical Theory by Dominick LaCapra

History, Literature, Critical Theory

byDominick LaCapra

Paperback | May 14, 2013

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In History, Literature, Critical Theory, Dominick LaCapra continues his exploration of the complex relations between history and literature, here considering history as both process and representation. A trio of chapters at the center of the volume concern the ways in which history and literature (particularly the novel) impact and question each other. In one of the chapters LaCapra revisits Gustave Flaubert, pairing him with Joseph Conrad. Other chapters pair J. M. Coetzee and W. G. Sebald, Jonathan Littell's novel, The Kindly Ones, and Saul Friedlander's two-volume, prizewinning history Nazi Germany and the Jews.

A recurrent motif of the book is the role of the sacred, its problematic status in sacrifice, its virulent manifestation in social and political violence (notably the Nazi genocide), its role or transformations in literature and art, and its multivalent expressions in "postsecular" hopes, anxieties, and quests. LaCapra concludes the volume with an essay on the place of violence in the thought of Slavoj Zizek. In LaCapra's view Zizek's provocative thought "at times has uncanny echoes of earlier reflections on, or apologies for, political and seemingly regenerative, even sacralized violence."

Dominick LaCapra is Professor Emeritus of History atCornell University. He is the author of many books, includingHistory, Literature, Critical Theory;History and Its Limits: Human, Animal, Violence; andHistory in Transit: Experience, Identity, Critical Theory, all from Cornell.
Title:History, Literature, Critical TheoryFormat:PaperbackDimensions:248 pages, 9.25 × 6.13 × 0.27 inPublished:May 14, 2013Publisher:CORNELL UNIVERSITY PRESSLanguage:English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:0801478650

ISBN - 13:9780801478659

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Table of Contents


1. The Mutual Interrogation of History and Literature

2. The Quest! The Quest! Conrad and Flaubert

3. Coetzee, Sebald, and the Narrative of Trauma

4. Historical and Literary Approaches to the "Final Solution": Saul Friedländer and Jonathan Littell

5. The Literary, the Historical, and the Sacred: The Question of Nazism

Epilogue: Recent Figurations of Trauma and Violence: Tarrying with Zizek


Editorial Reviews

"In this new collection of essays linked thematically by a concern with the problem of violence, Dominick LaCapra shows once again why he is one of the most significant critical intellectuals working at the intersection of history and literature. Avoiding the traps of contextual reductionism and ultraformalism, he offers nuanced, theoretically informed reflections on the pressures history and literature exert on each other. History, Literature, Critical Theory engages with some of the most important writers of the last century, including Conrad, Sebald, and Coetzee, and reads them in productive conversation with Badiou, Derrida, Žižek, and other leading theorists of our 'postsecular' moment."—Michael Rothberg, Professor of English and Conrad Humanities Scholar and Director of the Holocaust, Genocide, and Memory Studies Initiative at the University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign, author of Multidirectional Memory