Estrangement and the Somatics of Literature
Tolstoy, Shklovsky, Brecht
This book begins with two assumptions, both taken from Tolstoy's late aesthetic treatise What Is Art? (1898): that there is a malaise in culture, and that literature's power to "infect" readers with the moral values of the author is a possible cure for this malaise. Exploring these ideas of estrangement within the contexts of earlier, contemporary, and later critical theory, Robinson argues that Shklovsky and Brecht follow Tolstoy in their efforts to fight depersonalization by imbuing readers with the transformative guidance of collectivized feeling. Robinson's somatic approach to literature offers a powerful alternative to depersonalizing structuralist and poststructuralist theorization without simply retreating into conservative rejection and reaction.
Both a comparative study of Russian and German literary-theoretical history and an insightful examination of the somatics of literature, this groundbreaking work provides a deeper understanding of how literature affects the reader and offers a new perspective on present-day problems in poststructuralist approaches to the human condition.
About the Author
"Among the many virtues of Douglas Robinson's stunning new book is the fact that his three theorists, the world-class provocatuers Leo Tolstoy, Viktor Shklovsky, and Bertold Brecht, are also primary creators. They are at home in abstract systems, but each in his heart . . ."—Comparative Literature Studies
"Precise and impressive attention to scholarly detail."—CLCWEB: Comparative Literature and Culture
|The Johns Hopkins University Press|
|Parallax: Re-visions of Culture and Society|
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