New and Noteworthy
The new, authoritative edition of “A”: the monumental lifepoem by one of the most important American poets of the twentieth century, Louis Zukofsky.
"'A'’s place is in the great line of American personal epic begun in Song of Myself and stretching through the Cantos, Paterson, Notes Toward a Supreme Fiction, and The Dream Songs. It should be read." - The Nation
"Zukofsky’s art, in this work, is without equal. No poet of our time can sound the resources of language, so actuate words to become all that they might be thought otherwise to engender." - Robert Creeley, The New York Times
The Possessed draws on Elif Batuman's articles in The New Yorker, Harper's, and n+1 to tell the true story of one woman's intellectual and sentimental education and her many strange encounters with fellow scholars devoted - absurdly! melancholically! beautifully! - to the Russian classics. If you're going to read just one book about conference planning, Isaac Babel, Leo Tolstoy, boys' leg contests, giant apes, Uzbek poetry, the life of the mind, and the resignation of the soul - seek no farther: this is the book for you!
"One of the funniest books ever written about Russian literature or grad school." - Benjamin Kunkel
In this vivid tale of adultery and intrigue, witchcraft and murder, Glenn Watkins explores the fascinating life of Renaissance composer Gesualdo - a life suffused with scandal and bordering on the fantastical - as well as the undeniable impact of his music on a host of twentieth-century musicians and artists from Stravinsky and Schnittke to Abbado and Herzog. Tracing the vitalizing force of Renaissance chromaticism to our own day, this multifaceted account weaves together the cumulative experience of some of the most vibrant musicians of the past half century. The Gesualdo Hex considers how music inevitably takes on a new guise as it is revisited by subsequent generations and how history plays with the evidence. This compelling book asks us to grapple with our understanding not only of art and the artists who create it, but also of history itself.
Jaron Lanier, a Silicon Valley visionary since the 1980s, was among the first to predict the revolutionary changes the World Wide Web would bring to commerce and culture. Now, in his first book, written more than two decades after the web was created, Lanier offers this provocative and cautionary look at the way it is transforming our lives for better and for worse. The current design and function of the web have become so familiar that it is easy to forget that they grew out of programming decisions made decades ago. The web's first designers made crucial choices (such as making one's presence anonymous) that have had enormous - and often unintended - consequences. What's more, these designs quickly became "locked in," a permanent part of the web's very structure. Lanier discusses the technical and cultural problems that can grow out of poorly considered digital design and warns that our financial markets and sites like Wikipedia, Facebook, and Twitter are elevating the "wisdom" of mobs and computer algorithms over the intelligence and judgment of individuals.
Lanier also shows: how 1960s antigovernment paranoia influenced the design of the online world and enabled trolling and trivialization in online discourse; how file sharing is killing the artistic middle class; how a belief in a technological "rapture" motivates some of the most influential technologists; why a new humanistic technology is necessary.
Controversial and fascinating, You Are Not a Gadget is a deeply felt defense of the individual from an author uniquely qualified to comment on the way technology interacts with our culture.
With its deep roots and global scope, the capitalist system provides the framework for our lives. It is a framework of constant change, sometimes measured and predictable, sometimes drastic and out of control. Yet what is now ubiquitous was not always so. Capitalism took shape centuries ago, starting with a handful of isolated changes in farming, trade, and manufacturing, clustered in early-modern England. Astute observers began to notice these changes and consider their effects. Those in power began to harness these new practices to the state, enhancing both. A system generating wealth, power, and new ideas arose to reshape societies in a constant surge of change. The centuries-long history of capitalism is rich and eventful. Approaching capitalism as a culture, as important for its ideas and values as for its inventions and systems, Joyce Appleby gives us a fascinating introduction to this most potent creation of mankind from its origins to now.
The renowned musician and visual artist presents an idiosyncratic behind-the-handlebars view of the world's cities.
Since the early 1980s, David Byrne has been riding a bike as his principal means of transportation in New York City. Two decades ago, he discovered folding bikes and started taking them on tour. Byrne's choice was made out of convenience rather than political motivation, but the more cities he saw from his bicycle, the more he became hooked on this mode of transport and the sense of liberation it provided. Convinced that urban biking opens one's eyes to the inner workings and rhythms of a city's geography and population, Byrne began keeping a journal of his observations and insights. An account of what he sees and whom he meets as he pedals through metropoles from Berlin to Buenos Aires, Istanbul to San Francisco, Manila to New York, Bicycle Diaries also records Byrne's thoughts on world music, urban planning, fashion, architecture, cultural dislocation, and much more, all conveyed with a highly personal mixture of humor, curiosity, and humility. Part travelogue, part journal, part photo album, Bicycle Diaries is an eye-opening celebration of seeing the world from the seat of a bike.
After half a century exploring dialectical thought, renowned cultural critic Fredric Jameson presents a comprehensive study of a misrepresented, vital strain in Western philosophy. The dialectic, the concept of the evolution of an idea through internal contradiction and conflict, transformed two centuries of Western philosophy. To Hegel, who dominated nineteenth-century thought, it was a metaphysical system. In the works of Marx, the dialectic became a tool for materialist historical analysis, a theoretical maneuver that his critics derided and his descendants on the Left have wrestled with ever since. Jameson brings a theoretical scrutiny to bear on the questions that have arisen in the history of this philosophical tradition, contextualizing the debate with essays on commodification and globalization, and with reference to the work of Rousseau, Fichte, Heidegger, Sartre, Derrida, and Lacan. Through rigorous, erudite examination, Valences of the Dialectic charts a movement toward the innovation of a "spatial" dialectic, culminating in a remarkable meditation on globalization, through a study of Paul Ricoeur. Jameson presents a new synthesis of thought that revitalizes dialectical thinking for the twenty-first century.
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