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am 6. März 1998
America's intellectual father is the Modern Enlightenement. From Descarte's turn inward to Kant's radical autonomy, the Enlightenement gave birth to our understanding of freedom. Here, the Western intellectual tradtion separated the self from Nature and God, from any determining context. Essentially, it was the isolated self which gave meaning to, instead of finding meaning in the world. There are some that claim, however, that a self requires and is a causal function of Larger contexts like Culture, Family, Tradition and Religion (to name a few). Thus, it is dangerous and misleading to separate a self from the very material it requires to live. On this reading, the expressions of self are necesserily embedded in a context which presupposes a social world and shared set of meanings - a set of meanings that cannot be created by an isolated, radically free ego. To the contrary, an ego is a function of this world and requires it as a context for expression. Without these objective situations which enframe self, freedom and speech, the self is emptied of necessary content and confronts [our modern illness of] loneliness and despair. At this juncture, one could, vis a vis existentialism, search out the subjective depths of human angst, or one could assume a number of ironic postures in hopes of illustrating the human struggle with, and possibilities for freedom and meaning in a meaninglessness age. NOBODY'S HOME, somehow, shows a unique strain of literature that does both. Read this book if you want to understand how to use your failed Enlightenment inheritence.
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am 17. Oktober 1998
Arnold Weinstein is one of our most gifted literary comparativists working in the academy today, and Nobody's Home is Weinstein at his absolute best. Here he weaves together a wide range of American literature (Hawthorne, Melville, Fitzgerald, Morrison, Delillo) by demonstrating that it is the uniquely American theme of self-determinism and self-making (and its sobering corollary of determinism and disillusionment), that inform all of these works. His ability to link these seemingly disparate texts in such convincing fashion is quite extraordinary (the web never falters), and allows Weinstein an entry way into readings that make these texts utterly relevant to our lives today, and that reawaken texts that have been relegated to dusty bookshelves, or that were thought to have been plumbed. Weinstein is not just for those intersted in American literary criticism. He uses the rich record of literature to explore an American theme that is as metaphysical, psychological, and identity-probing as it is literary.
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am 17. Oktober 1998
Arnold Weinstein is one of our most gifted literary comparativists working in the academy today, and Nobody's Home is Weinstein at his absolute best. Here he weaves together a wide range of American literature (Hawthorne, Melville, Fitzgerald, Morrison, Delillo) by demonstrating that it is the uniquely American theme of self-determinism and self-making (and its sobering corollary of determinism and disillusionment), that inform all of these works. His ability to link these seemingly disparate texts in such convincing fashion is quite extraordinary (the web never falters), and allows Weinstein an entry way into readings that make these texts utterly relevant to our lives today, and that reawaken texts that have been relegated to dusty bookshelves, or that were thought to have been plumbed. Weinstein is not just for those intersted in American literary criticism. He uses the rich record of literature to explore human themes that are as metaphysical, psychological, and identity-probing as they are literary.
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