All book review posts will be categorized under one of my three readings lists: Media Studies and Japan, Genre Fiction in Japan’s 20th Century, and Posthuman Embodiment and Affect (all of which are detailed in the About page). Click one of those links to filter by category in order to get an overview of a field, or use the search bar (which frustratingly is only showing up when you click through to a post: will hopefully fix soon) if there’s a specific text you want to find. One of these days, I might even get around to uploading my full lists here, too.
It’s been a while! As it turns out, my exams were NOT actually last week, thanks to an organizational SNAFU, so it looks like you’ll be getting a couple more months of my ramblings in here, probably at a slower pace since I’ll be teaching (and therefore possibly interspersed with posts about teaching? We’ll see). Today’s post comes from a writeup my committee member overseeing my posthuman affect list asked me to write. In short, she felt that I had spun off into the outer reaches of the galaxy shouting, “Wooooo, posthumanism! Affect! Transductions!” without ever really laying out a broader, more fundamental idea of the field first. So I wrote the following thoughts about how I view posthumanism, and how I expect it to help me and me to help it. We’ll have you back to your regularly scheduled programming of book reviews soon! Until then, enjoy!
Bakhtin, Mikhail. The Dialogic Imagination: Four Essays. Trans. Caryl Emerson and Michael Holquist. Austin: University of Texas Press. 1981.
Boltanski, Luc. Mysteries and Conspiracies: Detective Stories, Spy Novels, and the Making of Modern Societies. Cambridge: Polity Press. 2014.
Fowler, Alastair. Kinds of Literature: An Introduction to the Theory of Genres and Modes. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press. 1982.
Genette, Gerard. The Architext: An Introduction. Berkeley: University of California Press. 1992. Out of print.
Full text on Google Books
Jameson, Fredric. The Political Unconscious: Narrative as a Socially Symbolic Act. Ithaca: Cornell University Press. 1981.
Jauss, Robert. Toward an Aesthetic of Reception. Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press. 1982.
Dear GOD I’ve been reading a lot of genre theory the past few days. You’ve already gotten a bit of that with my posts on Todorov and Jackson, so I figured I’d save you hearing the same thing again and again and just wait to compile a megamix like this one. My exams are two weeks away (oh god oh god oh god), so a lot of my subsequent posts will likely be similarly formatted just because of the pace at which I need to be reading things. Sorry in advance? Anyway. The thing I guess I really didn’t expect to come out of a discussion on the implications of genre was a big debate on time and history. Who’d have thought that would have turned out to be one of the things that concerned these guys most? Again, I’ve already ranted about how I think genre theory needs to be attentive to the historical circumstances in which a text is written, published, disseminated, and so on in my post about Todorov, so I’ll refer you back to that if you want to hear my thoughts there. Tonight, though, I want to talk about how that discussion links up with space.
Todorov, Tzvetan. The Fantastic: A Structural Approach to a Literary Genre. Cleveland: The Press of Case Western Reserve University. 1973.
Ramble post time! Just barreled through this book today and have many feelings about it, none of which have yet been compartmentalized. Also possibly worth noting: the cover image you’re seeing here is for the Cornell Press edition of the book. Looks like Cornell took it over from Case Western, added a critical introduction, and republished it in 1975, though the translation of the base text remains (I believe) the same.
So! More structuralism! Like I said last time, we’re just tunneling back through the years (Bakhtin and Genette are both coming up soon!) in this stretch of high genre theory. Todorov doesn’t say much that Jackson doesn’t recapitulate in her own book on the fantastic, but he does have quite a bit more to say about the notion of genre itself, so that’s where my focus will lie here. So what’s in a genre? Glad you asked!
Jackson, Rosemary. Fantasy: The Literature of Subversion. New York: Methuen. 1981.
Or, “What we talk about when we talk about fantasy.”
I remember using a little bit of this book during my very first quarter of grad school (baby’s first big-kid seminar paper!), and so it’s been one of the ones I’ve been looking forward to digging into deeper. I’m traveling back through time in my Genre Fiction list, having read Susan Napier’s book on the Japanese fantastic, which cites this one as a major influence, and now reading this, with Istvan Todorov’s study (which Jackson cites HEAVILY) on the horizon. Maybe this is what people who are compiling their family tree feel like? Who knows, and I’m wasting words, so TO THE PAGE JUMP!
Kawana, Sari. Murder Most Modern: Detective Fiction & Japanese Culture. Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press. 2008.
God, I love that cover… So it turns out my “Genre Fiction in Japan’s 20th Century” list may actually just be my “modernism and science” list, between this and Golley’s book. And honestly, if they’re all this good, I’m fine with that. Or maybe it’s just that thinking about Einstein’s trip to Japan was the hot thing to do back in 2008 (or, more accurately, the 6 or 7 years leading up to 2008 when these books were being researched and written). Kawana’s book just feels like one of those texts that will become a standard in classes about Japanese modernity, genre/detective fiction, and popular cultural studies. Indeed, I’ve already cited her at least once that I can recall. It’s a certain combination of covering relatively unknown authors and works, bringing out a nest of issues that these works command us to address, and doing so in a style that is disarmingly accessible and engaging. Does that mean that the argument it makes is solid? Let’s investigate!
Golley, Gregory. When Our Eyes No Longer See: Realism, Science, and Ecology in Japanese Literary Modernism. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press. 2008.
In which I attempt to discuss this book in the aftermath of the 2016 presidential election.
Reinhold Martin. “The Organizational Complex: Cybernetics, Space, Discourse.” Assemblage 37 (1998).
Dodge, Martin and Rob Kitchin. “Code and the Transduction of Space.” Annals of the Association of American Geographers 95:1 (2005).
Gil, Jose. “Paradoxical Body.” TDR 50:4 (2006).
Sloterdijk, Peter. “Mobilization of the Planet from the Spirit of Self-Intensification.” TDR 50:4 (2006).
Stefan Helmreich. “An Anthropologist Underwater: Immersive Soundscapes, Submarine Cyborgs, and Transductive Ethnography.” American Ethnologist 34:4 (2007).
Hoo buddy, it’s been a weekend chock full of posthuman theory! We went through 5 articles this weekend, and I thought I’d blarf up a quick post tying them all together as best I can. With all those citations up there, I think this preamble has already taken up enough space, so let’s jump in.