N. Katherine Hayles: Chaos Bound: Orderly Disorder in Contemporary Literature and Science (1990)

28 July 2014, dusan

At the same time that the study of nonlinear dynamics came into its own in the sciences, the focus of literary studies shifted toward local, fragmentary modes of analysis in which texts were no longer regarded as deterministic or predictable. N. Katherine Hayles here investigates parallels between contemporary litera­ture and critical theory and the emerging interdisciplinary field known as the science of chaos. She finds in both scientific and literary discourse new interpre­tations of chaos, which is seen no longer as disorder but as a locus of maximum information and complexity. The new paradigm of chaos includes elements that, Hayles shows, were evident in literary theory and literature before they became prominent in the sciences. She asserts that such similarities between the natural and human sciences are the result not of direct influence but of roots in a common cultural matrix.

Hayles traces the evolution of the concept of chaos and evaluates the work of such theorists as Prigogine, Feigenbaum, and Mandelbrot, for whom chaos entails an unpredictably open universe in which knowledge is limited to local sites and scientific models can never exhaust the possibilities of the actual. But this view does not imply that scientists have given up the search for global ex­planations of natural phenomena, for chaos is conceived of as containing its own form of order. Hayles envisions chaos as a double-edged sword: it can be viewed either as a recognition that disorder plays a more important role in natural processes than had hitherto been recognized or as an extension of order into areas that had hitherto resisted formalization. She examines structures and themes of disorder in The Education of Henry Adams, Doris Lessing’s Golden Notebook, and works by Stanislaw Lem. Hayles concludes by showing how the writings of poststructuralist theorists incorporate central features of chaos theory-such as an interest in relating local sites to global structures; a conception of order and disorder as interpenetrating rather than opposed; an awareness that in complex systems small causes can lead to massive effects; and an understanding that complex systems can be both deterministic and unpredictable.

Chaos Bound contributes to and enliven current debates among chaos theorists, cultural critics and cultural historians, critical theorists, literary critics interested in nineteenth- and twentieth-century literature, researchers in nonlinear dynamics, and others concerned with the relation between science and culture. (from the back cover)

Publisher Cornell University Press, 1990
ISBN 0801497019, 9780801497018
309 pages
via the author

Review (Tom LeClair, SubStance, 1991)

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See also her The Cosmic Web: Scientific Field Models and Literary Strategies in the Twentieth Century, 1984.

Annie van den Oever (ed.): Technē/Technology: Researching Cinema and Media Technologies (2014)

25 July 2014, dusan

This fourth title in the series The Key Debates sets out where the term technē comes from, how it unleashed a revolution in thought and how the concept in the midst of the current digital revolution, once again, is influencing the study of film. In addition, the authors – among them André Gaudreault, Geoffrey Winthrop-Young, Martin Lefebvre, Dominique Chateau, Nanna Verhoeff, Andreas Fickers and Ian Christie – investigate how technologies have affected the major debates about film, how they affected film theory and some of its key concepts. This is one of the rare books to assess the comprehensive history of the philosophies of technology and their impact on film and media theory in greater detail.

Publisher Amsterdam University Press, Amsterdam, 2014
Creative Commons BY NC ND License 3.0
ISBN 9089645713, 9789089645715
413 pages
via Academia.edu


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Art of the Printed Book, 1455-1955 (1973)

25 July 2014, dusan

This fully illustrated volume is a fine contribution to the history of books concerned with typography and bookmaking. Neither a printing manual nor a technical treatise, it was written by an accomplished designer and printer. It includes descriptions of the lives of the important printers, Gutenberg, de Tournes, Baskerville, Aldus, etc., and presents the historical backgrounds under which their folios were made.

Art of the Printed Book was written by Joseph Blumenthal, a practitioner whose Spiral Press set a long-acknowledged standard among fine printers. It is, in one sense, a personal selection, dependent on his aesthetic standards and, in another, a testament to the discrimination and collections of the Morgan Library. The 112 books selected and reproduced range from the Gutenberg Bible to the 20th-century works of Rogers, Gill, Updike, Meynell, and Mardersteig.

Art of the Printed Book, 1455-1955: Masterpieces of Typography Through Five Centuries From the Collections of the Pierpont Morgan Library, New York
With an essay by Joseph Blumenthal
Publisher Pierpont Morgan Library, New York, and David R. Godine, Boston, 1973
Second printing, 1974
125 full-page black-and-white illustrations
192 pages

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Charles Rosen: Arnold Schoenberg (1975)

24 July 2014, dusan

In this lucid, revealing book, pianist and scholar Charles Rosen sheds light on the elusive music of Arnold Schoenberg and his challenge to conventional musical forms. Rosen argues that Schoenberg’s music, with its atonality and dissonance, possesses a rare balance of form and emotion, making it, according to Rosen, “the most expressive music ever written.” Concise and accessible, this book will appeal to fans, non-fans, and scholars of Schoenberg, and to those who have yet to be introduced to the works of one of the greatest composers of the twentieth century.

Publisher Viking Press, New York, 1975
ISBN 06701331617
113 pages

Review (Joel Sachs, The Musical Quarterly, 1977)
Review (Joseph Horowitz, Music Journal, 1976)
Review (Robert Craft, The New York Times, 1975)

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More works by and on Schoenberg (Monoskop wiki)

Alondra Nelson (ed.): Afrofuturism: A Special Issue of Social Text (2002)

23 July 2014, dusan

The issue guest edited and introduced by Alondra Nelson explores futurist themes, sci-fi imagery, and technological innovation in African diasporic culture. Contributors approach this under-explored theme from a variety of angles: as a novel frame of reference for visual culture; as fiction of the near-future; as poetry; as new forms of black subjectivity; as new narratives about the digital revolution; and as the imagining of future directions in African diasporic studies. Alexander G. Weheliye rethinks the category of the posthuman. Ron Eglash historicizes the nerd, while Anna Everett shows how the African diaspora prefigures the Internet. Kali Tal explores the utopian vision of black militant near-future fiction, whose heir apparent, Nalo Hopkinson, is interviewed by Alondra Nelson. The esthetic possibilities of this project are evident in poetry by Tracie Morris, and the images of Tana Hargest and Fatimah Tuggar.

Social Text 71, Summer 2002
146 pages


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