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How does a novel entice or enlist us? How does a song surprise or seduce us? Why do we bristle when a friend belittles a book we love, or fall into a funk when a favored TV series comes to an end? What characterizes the aesthetic experiences of feeling captivated by works of art? In Hooked, Rita Felski challenges the ethos of critical aloofness that is a part of modern intellectuals' self-image. The result is sure to be as widely read as Felski's book, The Limits of Critique.Wresting the language of affinity away from accusations of sticky sentiment and manipulative marketing, Felski argues that "e;being hooked"e; is as fundamental to the appreciation of high art as to the enjoyment of popular culture. Hooked zeroes in on three attachment devices that connect audiences to works of art: identification, attunement, and interpretation. Drawing on examples from literature, film, music, and painting-from Joni Mitchell to Matisse, from Thomas Bernhard to Thelma and Louise-Felski brings the language of attachment into the academy. Hooked returns us to the fundamentals of aesthetic experience, showing that the social meanings of artworks are generated not just by critics, but also by the responses of captivated audiences.
In an innovative and invigorating exploration of the complex relations between women and the modern, Rita Felski challenges conventional male-centered theories of modernity. She also calls into question those feminist perspectives that have either demonized the modern as inherently patriarchal, or else assumed a simple opposition between men's and women's experiences of the modern world. Combining cultural history with cultural theory, and focusing on the fin de sicle, Felski examines the gendered meanings of such notions as nostalgia, consumption, feminine writing, the popular sublime, evolution, revolution, and perversion. Her approach is comparative and interdisciplinary, covering a wide variety of texts from the English, French, and German traditions: sociological theory, realist and naturalist novels, decadent literature, political essays and speeches, sexological discourse, and sentimental popular fiction. Male and female writers from Simmel, Zola, Sacher-Masoch, and Rachilde to Marie Corelli, Wilde, and Olive Schreiner come under Felski's scrutiny as she exposes the varied and often contradictory connections between femininity and modernity. Seen through the lens of Felski's discerning eye, the last fin de sicle provides illuminating parallels with our own. And Felski's keen analysis of the matrix of modernism offers needed insight into the sense of cultural crisis brought on by postmodernism.
Recent commentators have portrayed feminist critics as grim-faced ideologues who are destroying the study of literature. Feminists, they claim, reduce art to politics and are hostile to any form of aesthetic pleasure. Literature after Feminism is the first work to comprehensively rebut such caricatures, while also offering a clear-eyed assessment of the relative merits of various feminist approaches to literature.Spelling out her main arguments clearly and succinctly, Rita Felski explains how feminism has changed the ways people read and think about literature. She organizes her book around four key questions: Do women and men read differently? How have feminist critics imagined the female author? What does plot have to do with gender? And what do feminists have to say about the relationship between literary and political value? Interweaving incisive commentary with literary examples, Felski advocates a double critical vision that can do justice to the social and political meanings of literature without dismissing or scanting the aesthetic.
Uses of Literature bridges the gap between literary theory and common-sense beliefs about why we read literature. Explores the diverse motives and mysteries of why we read Offers four different ways of thinking about why we read literature - for recognition, enchantment, knowledge, and shock Argues for a new phenomenology in literary studies that incorporates the historical and social dimensions of reading Includes examples of literature from a wide range of national literary traditions
Why must critics unmask and demystify literary works? Why do they believe that language is always withholding some truth, that the critic's task is to reveal the unsaid or repressed? In this book, Rita Felski examines critique, the dominant form of interpretation in literary studies, and situates it as but one method among many, a method with strong allure-but also definite limits.Felski argues that critique is a sensibility best captured by Paul Ricoeur's phrase "e;the hermeneutics of suspicion."e; She shows how this suspicion toward texts forecloses many potential readings while providing no guarantee of rigorous or radical thought. Instead, she suggests, literary scholars should try what she calls "e;postcritical reading"e;: rather than looking behind a text for hidden causes and motives, literary scholars should place themselves in front of it and reflect on what it suggests and makes possible.By bringing critique down to earth and exploring new modes of interpretation, The Limits of Critique offers a fresh approach to the relationship between artistic works and the social world.