In this book, ethnographer and poet Michael Jackson addresses the interplay between modes of writing, modes of understanding, and modes of being in the world. Drawing on literary, anthropological and autobiographical sources, he explores writing as a technics akin to ritual, oral storytelling, magic and meditation, that enables us to reach beyond the limits of everyday life and forge virtual relationships and imagined communities. Although Maurice Blanchot wrote of the impossibility of writing, the passion and paradox of literature lies in its attempt to achieve the impossible--a leap of faith that calls to mind the mystic's dark night of the soul, unrequited love, nostalgic or utopian longing, and the ethnographer's attempt to know the world from the standpoint of others, to put himself or herself in their place. Every writer, whether of ethnography, poetry, or fiction, imagines that his or her own experiences echo the experiences of others, and that despite the need for isolation and silence his or her work consummates a relationship with them.
Muslim and Western Travelers in Search of Knowledge
Author: Roxanne L. Euben
Pubpsher: Princeton University Press
The contemporary world is increasingly defined by dizzying flows of people and ideas. But while Western travel is associated with a pioneering spirit of discovery, the dominant image of Muslim mobility is the jihadi who travels not to learn but to destroy. Journeys to the Other Shore challenges these stereotypes by charting the common ways in which Muslim and Western travelers negotiate the dislocation of travel to unfamiliar and strange worlds. In Roxanne Euben's groundbreaking excursion across cultures, geography, history, genre, and genders, travel signifies not only a physical movement across lands and cultures, but also an imaginative journey in which wonder about those who live differently makes it possible to see the world differently. In the book we meet not only Herodotus but also Ibn Battuta, the fourteenth-century Moroccan traveler. Tocqueville's journeys are set against a five-year sojourn in nineteenth-century Paris by the Egyptian writer and translator Rifa'a Rafi' al-Tahtawi, and Montesquieu's novel Persian Letters meets with the memoir of an East African princess, Sayyida Salme. This extraordinary book shows that curiosity about the unknown, the quest to understand foreign cultures, critical distance from one's own world, and the desire to remake the foreign into the familiar are not the monopoly of any single civilization or epoch. Euben demonstrates that the fluidity of identities, cultures, and borders associated with our postcolonial, globalized world has a long history--one shaped not only by Western power but also by an Islamic ethos of travel in search of knowledge.
In this brilliant companion volume to her highly praised Toward Another Shore: Russian Thinkers Between Necessity and Chance, Aileen M. Kelly closely examines a humanist strand of Russian thought that has until now received little notice or understanding. She finds in the writings of Aleksandr Herzen, Anton Chekhov, and Mikhail Bakhtin a pioneering emphasis on the role of chance and contingency in nature and history. Their writing on this theme, she argues, establishes the importance of these humanists in the development of European thought. Herzen, the principal subject of the book, was among the first nineteenth-century thinkers to challenge the assumptions underlying doctrines of universal progress. Kelly links Herzen’s outlook to the work of such Western humanists and scientists as Francis Bacon, Schiller, Proudhon, J. S. Mill, and Darwin. She shows how the view of freedom that Herzen shared with Chekhov and Bakhtin provides an antidote both to traditional absolutes and to the boundless relativism of much postmodern theory. As such it offers an answer to the question now besetting intellectuals in Russia and the West: how to ground morality after the collapse of ideological certainties.
When Gao Xingjian won the Nobel Prize for Literature in 2000, he became the only Chinese writer to achieve such international acclaim. The Chinese University Press is the first publisher of his work in the English language. Indeed, "The Other Shore" is one of the few works by the author available in English today. "The Other Shore: Plays by Gao Xingjian" contains five of Gaos most recent works: "The Other Shore" (1986), "Between Life and Death" (1991), "Dialogue and Rebuttal "(1992), "Nocturnal Wanderer" (1993), and "Weekend Quartet" (1995). With original imagery and in beautiful language, these plays illuminate the realities of life, death, sex, loneliness, and exile. The plays also show the dramatists idea of the tripartite actor, a process by which the actor neutralizes himself and achieves a disinterested observation of his self in performance. An introduction by the translator describes the dramatist and his view on drama.
American Intellectuals and the Romance of Russian Development
Author: David C. Engerman
Pubpsher: Harvard University Press
From the late nineteenth century to the eve of World War II, America's experts on Russia watched as Russia and the Soviet Union embarked on a course of rapid industrialization. Captivated by the idea of modernization, diplomats, journalists, and scholars across the political spectrum rationalized the enormous human cost of this path to progress. In a fascinating examination of this crucial era, David Engerman underscores the key role economic development played in America's understanding of Russia and explores its profound effects on U.S. policy. American intellectuals from George Kennan to Samuel Harper to Calvin Hoover understood Russian events in terms of national character. Many of them used stereotypes of Russian passivity, backwardness, and fatalism to explain the need for--and the costs of--Soviet economic development. These costs included devastating famines that left millions starving while the government still exported grain. This book is a stellar example of the new international history that seamlessly blends cultural and intellectual currents with policymaking and foreign relations. It offers valuable insights into the role of cultural differences and the shaping of economic policy for developing nations even today.
A collection of stories told by the Buddha that illustrate how we may reach enlightenment through practicing the ten perfections, among which are giving, patience, meditation and following precepts such as not killing, stealing, lying, engaging in sexual improprieties, or using intoxicants.