A provocative essay collection that finds the Nobel laureate taking on the decline of intellectual life In the past, culture was a kind of vital consciousness that constantly rejuvenated and revivified everyday reality. Now it is largely a mechanism of distraction and entertainment. Notes on the Death of Culture is an examination and indictment of this transformation—penned by none other than Mario Vargas Llosa, who is not only one of our finest novelists but one of the keenest social critics at work today. Taking his cues from T. S. Eliot—whose essay "Notes Toward a Definition of Culture" is a touchstone precisely because the culture Eliot aimed to describe has since vanished—Vargas Llosa traces a decline whose ill effects have only just begun to be felt. He mourns, in particular, the figure of the intellectual: for most of the twentieth century, men and women of letters drove political, aesthetic, and moral conversations; today they have all but disappeared from public debate. But Vargas Llosa stubbornly refuses to fade into the background. He is not content to merely sign a petition; he will not bite his tongue. A necessary gadfly, the Nobel laureate Vargas Llosa, here vividly translated by John King, provides a tough but essential critique of our time and culture.
Décio Torres Cruz approaches connections between literature and cinema partly through issues of gender and identity, and partly through issues of reality and representation. In doing so, he looks at the various ways in which people have thought of the so-called cinematic novel, tracing the development of that genre concept not only in the French ciné-roman and film scenarios but also in novels from the United States, England, France, and Latin America. The main tendency he identifies is the blending of the cinematic novel with pop literature, through allusions to Pop Art and other postmodern cultural trends. His prime exhibits are a number of novels by the Argentinian writer Manuel Puig: Betrayed by Rita Hayworth; Heartbreak Tango; The Buenos Aires Affair; Kiss of the Spider Woman; and Pubis angelical. Bringing in suggestive sociocultural and psychoanalytical considerations, Cruz shows how, in Puig’s hands, the cinematic novel resulted in a pop collage of different texts, films, discourses, and narrative devices which fused reality and imagination into dream and desire.
NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER NEW YORK TIMES Editors' Choice From the Pulitzer Prize-winning critic comes an impassioned critique of America’s retreat from reason We live in a time when the very idea of objective truth is mocked and discounted by the occupants of the White House. Discredited conspiracy theories and ideologies have resurfaced, proven science is once more up for debate, and Russian propaganda floods our screens. The wisdom of the crowd has usurped research and expertise, and we are each left clinging to the beliefs that best confirm our biases. How did truth become an endangered species in contemporary America? This decline began decades ago, and in The Death of Truth, former New York Times critic Michiko Kakutani takes a penetrating look at the cultural forces that contributed to this gathering storm. In social media and literature, television, academia, and politics, Kakutani identifies the trends—originating on both the right and the left—that have combined to elevate subjectivity over factuality, science, and common values. And she returns us to the words of the great critics of authoritarianism, writers like George Orwell and Hannah Arendt, whose work is newly and eerily relevant. With remarkable erudition and insight, Kakutani offers a provocative diagnosis of our current condition and points toward a new path for our truth-challenged times.
The Life of the Transcendental Ego presents essays by a number of distinguished writers in the continental tradition of philosophy. The essays include problems in transcendental philosophy, the nature of autobiography, the validity of existentialism, the possibilities of phenomenology, as well as focused discussions of concrete issues in aesthetics and ethics.
The creativity of its artists may be undeniable, but the influence (ghostlike) and the importance (derisory) of France in cultural exchanges both go to show that French culture no longer speaks to the world. This decline ultimately suits the French national mentality, inclined as it is to lamentation and sorrow. Morrison has returned to his original article to see how well his central arguments hold up in the light of the criticisms levelled at him. This new and updated version of his controversial text is accompanied by a thoughtful reply by Antoine Compagnon, who highlights a certain ambivalence within French culture, still capable of achieving the best but seemingly paralysed by its preoccupation with its own grandeur. --from publisher description
DIVHow to live in a supposedly faithless world threatened by religious fundamentalism? Terry Eagleton, formidable thinker and renowned cultural critic, investigates in this thought-provoking book the contradictions, difficulties, and significance of the modern search for a replacement for God. Engaging with a phenomenally wide range of ideas, issues, and thinkers from the Enlightenment to today, Eagleton discusses the state of religion before and after 9/11, the ironies surrounding Western capitalism’s part in spawning not only secularism but also fundamentalism, and the unsatisfactory surrogates for the Almighty invented in the post-Enlightenment era. The author reflects on the unique capacities of religion, the possibilities of culture and art as modern paths to salvation, the so-called war on terror’s impact on atheism, and a host of other topics of concern to those who envision a future in which just and compassionate communities thrive. Lucid, stylish, and entertaining in his usual manner, Eagleton presents a brilliant survey of modern thought that also serves as a timely, urgently needed intervention into our perilous political present./div