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Instead of modernity

The Western canon and the incorporation of the Hispanic (c. 1850-75)

By Andrew Ginger

Instead of modernity
Hardcover +
  • Price: £25.00
  • ISBN: 9781526147844
  • Publish Date: Oct 2020
  • Publisher: Manchester University Press
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    Paperback -
  • Price: £25.00
  • ISBN: 9781526179036
  • Publish Date: Aug 2024
  • Publisher: Manchester University Press
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    eBook +
  • Price: £25.00
  • ISBN: 9781526147837
  • Publish Date: Oct 2020
  • Publisher: Manchester University Press
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    Book Information

    Description

    When all that was solid melted into air... For decades, intellectuals from Benjamin to Bourdieu, Berman to Foucault, have been in thrall to this vision of the mid-nineteenth century. It shaped and underpinned their most influential thoughts, its legacy insinuated into institutionalized theories of culture. In this new book, that vision implodes, as if in a cultural supernova, its exceptionalism and limitations exposed. The story of modernity fades before a spectacle of linkages, stretching from and into the depths of history, the breadths of place. And, in a parallel substitution, the vast territories of the former Spanish Empire's thread through the narrative, rather than lurking on the peripheries, no longer just the fallen founders of modernity.

    Instead of modernity goes to the very heart of comparative cultural study: the question of what happens when intimate, dynamic connections are made over place and time, what it is to feel at home amid the lavish diversity of culture. This ambitious interdisciplinary book reconsiders foundational figures of the modern western canon, from Darwin to Cameron, Baudelaire to Whistler. It weaves together brain images from France, preserved insects from the Americas, glass in London, poetry from Argentina, paintings from Spain. Flaubert, Whitman, and Nietzsche find themselves with Hostos from Puerto Rico and Gorriti from Argentina. The flotsam and jetsam of history - optical toys from Madrid - sit with Melville and Marx. The book ranges over theoretical fields: trauma and sexuality studies, theories of visuality, the philosophy of sacrifice and intimacy, the thought of Wittgenstein.

    Instead of modernity is an adventure in the practice of comparative writing: resonances join suggestively over place and time, the textures of words, phrases and images combine to form moods. This book will be of interest to anyone concerned with the question of modernity and with the fate of cultural theory and comparison.

    Reviews

    'It is is a lavishly illustrated and ambitiously interdisciplinary volume. Ginger's range of references is impressive, flitting between preserved insects from the Americas and brain images from France. Charles Baudelaire and Gustave Flaubert sit with Gustavo Adolfo Bécquer and Augusto Ferrán; Friedrich Nietzsche finds himself in the company of Rosalía de Castro and Juana Manuela Gorriti. London's Crystal Palace stands alongside José Augustín Arrieta's mirror paintings... it succeeds admirably in substantiating its conviction that the inclusion of the Hispanic world in narratives of modernism and modernity enables the identification of resonant patterns of cultural production. Distinctiveness thus transforms the appreciation of similarity, rather than being simply eclipsed by it.'
    Modern Language Review

    'Instead of Modernity certainly performs an important service by reincorporating the Hispanosphere into modern culture, and by upending simplistic understandings of modernity in turn. The world it portrays is certainly Quixotic, but in the manner stressed by Borges's 'Pierre Menard': as something more fragmentary, more
    subtle, more incongruous than previously imagined - and 'infinitely richer' for it.'
    Romance, Revolution & Reform

    'From this new vantage point, both temporality and the concept of modernity are blown out of the water ... [the] broad outlook transcends the limits of what we understand by Hispanism ... and in this quest for the shared and the disruptive, [Ginger] works with pieces of art, turns of language, figures of speech, images from the past and the present, on a surface that as soon opens out to an infinite horizon as it shrinks to a specific time and place.'
    Jesusa Vega, Anales de Historia del Arte

    Contents

    Introduction: From modernity to the aesthetic appreciation of history
    1 Meeting: Coming together and taking shape
    2 Departure: To leap beyond yet nearer bring
    3 Sacrifice: Everyone must die
    4 Repose: Forms of shared distraction
    Index

    Author

    Andrew Ginger is Professor of Comparative Studies and Vice Provost for International Engagement at Northeastern University

    Instead of modernity

    By Andrew Ginger

    Paperback £25.00 / $36.95

    Hardcover £90.00 / $140.00

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