Download e-book for kindle: History, Literature, Critical Theory by Dominick LaCapra

By Dominick LaCapra

In History, Literature, serious Theory, Dominick LaCapra maintains his exploration of the complicated family among heritage and literature, the following contemplating background as either technique and illustration. A trio of chapters on the heart of the quantity hindrance the ways that historical past and literature (particularly the radical) impression and query one another. in a single of the chapters LaCapra revisits Gustave Flaubert, pairing him with Joseph Conrad. different chapters pair J. M. Coetzee and W. G. Sebald, Jonathan Littell's novel, The Kindly Ones, and Saul Friedlander's two-volume, prizewinning background Nazi Germany and the Jews.

A recurrent motif of the publication is the function of the sacred, its complicated prestige in sacrifice, its virulent manifestation in social and political violence (notably the Nazi genocide), its function or changes in literature and artwork, and its multivalent expressions in "postsecular" hopes, anxieties, and quests. LaCapra concludes the amount with an essay at the position of violence within the considered Slavoj Zizek. In LaCapra's view Zizek's provocative inspiration "at occasions has uncanny echoes of previous reflections on, or apologies for, political and probably regenerative, even sacralized violence."

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These institutions, being the product of the accumulation of generations of specific experience built up slowly over the course of uncountable years, changing and adjusting as contingencies warranted, could only be judged with reference to this immemorial usage, with reference, that is, to custom. 19 To this, of course, Enlightenment reason responded with confident scorn. For on the view it advanced—and one sees this, for instance, as much in Jeremy Bentham’s early work, A Fragment on Government, published more than a decade and a half before Burke’s Reflections, as in Thomas Paine’s Rights of Man, which was a response to it—reason, seeing as it did into the very nature of things, had a prescriptive and an aggressively programmatic mission, the accom18 Ernst Cassirer, The Philosophy of the Enlightenment (Princeton: Princeton University Press, 1951).

In marking off this period, the crucial point is not the degree of oppressiveness or corruption of colonial officials (as in the period of East India Company administration), nor even the steady, as it were, incremental rationalization and humanizing of absolutist-autocratic colonial rule (as during the early phase of crown colony administration). Therefore, the increase or decrease of the level of taxation or the variety of things taxed may have been more or less oppressive; the officials who collected revenues may have been more or less corrupt; forms of forced labor may have been administered in such a way as to have been more or less onerous.

36 And if with sovereignty, the relation between ruler and ruled is such that power reaches out like an extension of the arm of the prince himself, announcing itself periodically with unambiguous ceremony, with government, governor and governed are thrown into a new and different relation, one that is not merely the product of the expanded capacity of the state apparatus but of the emergence of a new field for producing effects of power—the new, self-regulating field of the social. It is here that the new problem of government (of which the specific problem of the state is now but one component) is articulated.

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