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This essay reexamines Johann Gottfried Herder's theoretical import for the idea and practice of comparative literature. To that end, it contextualizes Herder's defense of poetry within the historical debate between Kant and Herder over the genesis, cast, and practical value of critical reason,...
This essay investigates tragic theater from French classicism to German classicism in relation to the ritualized ceremonies and spectacles of the early modern state, which I summarily refer to as ceremonial theater. From the seventeenth to the nineteenth century, the relationship between tragedy...
This essay brings together Ralph Waldo Emerson and Emmanuel Levinas, two thinkers who are almost never paired, to examine their shared interest in the political implications of astonishment. The two have in common a way of inviting readers, persistently but enigmatically, to understand the...
The train had a remarkable and meaningful role in the process of modernization and secularization within European Jewish society during the nineteenth century. Not surprisingly, this central role is reflected in the literature of the period, in what I would like to call “the train genre.” This...
In the last decade, violence attributed to Latin American drug cartels has become a common theme in a proliferation of fiction and non-fiction about the drug trade written both in Mexico and the U.S. This essay shows how the majority of Mexican narconarratives—in particular the works of writers...
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