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Language and Negativity in European Modernism

$99.99 (C)

  • Date Published: January 2019
  • availability: In stock
  • format: Hardback
  • isbn: 9781108475020

$ 99.99 (C)

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About the Authors
  • This book charts the history of a distinct strain of European literary modernism that emerged out of a radical re-engagement with late nineteenth-century language scepticism. Focusing first on the literary and philosophical strands of this language-sceptical tradition, the book proceeds to trace the various forms of linguistic negativism deployed by European writers in the interwar and post-war years, including Franz Kafka, Georges Bataille, Samuel Beckett, Maurice Blanchot, Paul Celan, and W. G. Sebald. Through close analyses of these and other writers' attempts to capture an 'unspeakable' experience, Language and Negativity in European Modernism explores the remarkable literary attempt to deploy the negative potentialities of language in order to articulate an experience of what, shortly after the Second World War, Beckett described as a vision of 'humanity in ruins'.

    • Identifies a distinct strain in European literary modernism that emerged in the interwar years and reached its full flowering in the post-Second World War period
    • Offers close, contextualised readings of works by some of the most important European modernists from Kafka to Sebald, as well as by less well-known writers such as Edmond Jabès and Nelly Sachs
    • Explores the relation between literary form and history in the case of a specific strain of European modernism
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    Product details

    • Date Published: January 2019
    • format: Hardback
    • isbn: 9781108475020
    • dimensions: 235 x 159 x 20 mm
    • weight: 0.57kg
    • availability: In stock
  • Table of Contents

    1. The language crisis: from Mallarmé to Mauthner
    2. Great destructive work: The interwar years
    3. Performing the negative: Franz Kafka
    4. Humanity in ruins: Samuel Beckett
    5. Writing the disaster: Maurice Blanchot
    6. Through the thousand darknesses: Paul Celan
    7. Unconditional negativity: W. G. Sebald
    8. Unwording, terminal and interminable

  • Author

    Shane Weller, University of Kent, Canterbury
    Shane Weller is Professor of Comparative Literature and Co-Director of the Centre for Modern European Literature at the University of Kent, Canterbury. His publications include A Taste for the Negative: Beckett and Nihilism (2004), Beckett, Literature and the Ethics of Alterity (2006), Literature, Philosophy, Nihilism: The Uncanniest of Guests (2008), and Modernism and Nihilism (2011). He is also the co-author (with Dirk Van Hulle) of two volumes in the Beckett Digital Manuscript Project series: The Making of Samuel Beckett's 'L'Innommable'/'The Unnamable' (2014) and The Making of Samuel Beckett's 'Fin de partie'/'Endgame' (2018).

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