Cloth $80.00 ISBN: 9780226035840 Published May 2006
Paper $40.00 ISBN: 9780226035857 Published May 2006

A Mieke Bal Reader

Mieke Bal

A Mieke Bal Reader
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Mieke Bal

496 pages | 40 halftones, 2 tables | 6 x 9 | © 2006
Cloth $80.00 ISBN: 9780226035840 Published May 2006
Paper $40.00 ISBN: 9780226035857 Published May 2006
Mieke Bal has had a significant impact on every field she has touched, from Old Testament scholarship and narratology to critical methods and visual culture. This brilliant and controversial intellectual invariably performs a high-wire act at the point where critical issues and methods intersect—or collide. She is deeply interested in the problems of cultural analysis across a range of disciplines. A Mieke Bal Reader brings together for the first time a representative collection of her work that distills her broad interests and areas of expertise.

This Reader is organized into four parts, reflecting the fields that Bal has most profoundly influenced: literary study, interdisciplinary methodology, visual analysis, and postmodern theology. The essays include some of Bal’s most characteristic and provocative work, capturing her at the top of her form. “Narration and Focalization,” for example, provides the groundwork for Bal’s ideas on narrative, while “Reading Art?” clearly outlines her concept of reading images. “Religious Canon and Literary Identity” reenvisions Bal’s own work at the intersection of theology and cultural analysis, while “Enfolding Feminism” argues for a new feminist rallying cry that is not a position but a metaphor. More than a dozen other essays round out the four sections, each of which is interdisciplinary in its own right: the section devoted to literature, for instance, ranges widely over psychoanalysis, theology, photography, and even autobiography.

A Mieke Bal Reader is the product of a capacious intellect and a sustained commitment to critical thinking. It will prove to be instructive, maddening,  and groundbreaking—in short, all the hallmarks of intellectual inquiry at its best.
Eva C. Karpinski | Atlantis
"[A] monumental colledtion. . . . This Reader is a form of 'life writing,' the text writing the life of a thinker, philosopher and academic who acts as our guide and who occasionally lightens up her theorizing with humour, playfulness and personal anecdote."
Contents
List of Illustrations
Preface
Part 1 - Analyzing Literature in Culture
1. Narration and Focalization
Introduction
Analysis
Commentary
Agents
Reader
Illustrations
Interpretations
Conclusion
Notes
References
2. The Story of W
The Practice of Theory
Rape, Suicide, Signs, and Show
Contagious Logorrhea: Between Men
Vision Vying Violence: Between Women
Expository Writing
Notes
References
3. All in the Family: Familiarity and Estrangement According to Marcel Proust
Introduction
Desire and the Ontology of the Snapshot
Primal Scenes: Against the Familial Gaze
Ethnography as Voyeurism
The Narration of Relation
Notes
References
4. Over-Writing as Un-Writing: Descriptions, World-Making, and Novelistic Time
Introduction
Robin (the frame)
Albertine (the object)
Lucretia (the killing)
Nana (the decomposition)
Emma (the end)
Notes
References

Part 2 - Interdisciplinary Methodology
5. Scared to Death
Scared to Death of Theory
Metaphors as Narratives
The Concept of "Metaphor" and the Metaphor "Concept"
Theory as Practice
Notes
References
6. Telling, Showing, Showing Off
Setting as Image, Nature as Sign
Who Is Speaking?
Asian Mammals: The Politics of Transition
The Contest between Time and Space: Evolution and Taxonomy
Circular Epistemology
In the Beginning Was the Word
Picking Up Crumbs
Notes
References
7. Enfolding Feminism
Figuring It Out
Beyond Representation
From House-Wife to House-Woman
Actualizing Attention
De-allegorizing Feminism
Notes
References
8. Intention
A Concept We Hate to Love
Forms of Abandon
Productive Opposition
The Logic of Intentionalism
The Performance of Thought
Narrative Abandon
Abandoning Authority
Notes
References

Part 3 - Visual Analysis
9. Telling Objects: A Narrative Perspective on Collecting
Narrative Introduction
Collecting as a Narrative
Beginnings: Many
Beginnings: One
Middle
Endings
Notes
References
10. Reading Art?
Appropriation
Neither Speech nor Icon
The Need to Read
Reading Through, Skin-Deep
Reading History
Notes
References
11. Reading Bathsheba: From Mastercodes to Misfits
Introduction
Genres as Mastercodes
Denaturalizing Mastercodes
Reading (for the) Text
The Telling Detail
The Line of Sight
Return to Sender: The Letter Writes Back
Reading Distortion
Conclusion
Notes
References

Part 4: Postmodern Theology
12. The Rape of Narrative and the Narrative of Rape: Speech Acts and Body Language in Judges
Speech Acts: The Word Become Flesh
Samson's Riddle: The Word Become Woman
The Riddle as Vow and the Vow as Riddle
The Daughter's Body Language as a Challenge to Fatherhood
The Mouth of the S/word
Notes
References
13. Lots of Writing
Introduction
Self-Reflection
Esther Writing Esther's Writing
The Subject of Writing
Conclusion
Notes
References
14. Postmodern Theology as Cultural Analysis
Points of Departure
Caravaggio Today
Reframing Judith
Notes
References
15. Religious Canon and Literary Identity
Literary Canon and Religious Identity
Religious  Canon and Literary Identity
Ethical Non-Indifference and Artistic Merit
The Cutting Edge of Literary Identity
Double Binding: Literary Identity and Its Religious Effects
History, Identity, and Religious Canon
Notes
References

Part 5 - Cultural Analysis in an Expanded Field
16. Meanwhile: Literature in an Expanded Field
Notes
References

Index of Proper Nouns and Titles
Index of Terms and Concepts

For more information, or to order this book, please visit http://www.press.uchicago.edu
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