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How to do things with fictions

Author: Joshua Landy
Publisher: New York : Oxford University Press, 2014. ©2012
Edition/Format:   Print book : EnglishView all editions and formats
"Why does Mark's Jesus speak in parables? Why does Plato's Socrates make bad arguments? Why are Beckett's novels so inscrutable? And why don't stage magicians even pretend to summon spirits anymore? In a series of captivating chapters on Mark, Plato, Beckett, Mallarmé, and Chaucer, Joshua Landy not only answers these questions but explains why they are worth asking in the first place. Witty and approachable, How to  Read more...

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Genre/Form: Criticism, interpretation, etc
Document Type: Book
All Authors / Contributors: Joshua Landy
ISBN: 9780199378203 0199378207 9780195188561 019518856X
OCLC Number: 883425834
Notes: Originally published: 2012.
Description: xiii, 250 pages : illustrations ; 24 cm
Contents: Acknowledgments (starting p. xi) --
Note to the Paperback Edition (starting p. xv) --
Introduction (starting p. 3) --
Thirteen Ways Of Looking At A Fiction (starting p. 4) --
Formative Fictions (starting p. 8) --
The Temporality Of The Reading Experience (starting p. 11) --
In Spite Of Everything, A Role For Meaning (starting p. 14) --
A Polite Word To Historians (starting p. 16) --
The Value Of Formative Fictions (starting p. 17) --
1. Chaucer: Ambiguity and Ethics (starting p. 23) --
Prudence Or Oneiromancy? (starting p. 23) --
A Parody Of Didacticism (starting p. 25) --
Preaching To The Converted (starting p. 27) --
The Asymmetry Of "Imaginative Resistance" (starting p. 29) --
Virtue Ethics And Gossip (starting p. 33) --
Qualifications (starting p. 34) --
A Genuine Benefit (starting p. 37) --
2. Mark: Metaphor and Faith (starting p. 43) --
The Myth Of Simplicity (starting p. 43) --
Five Variables, Six Readings (starting p. 45) --
Deliberate Opacity (starting p. 47) --
The Vision Of Mark (starting p. 49) --
From Him Who Has Not (starting p. 52) --
To Him Who Has (starting p. 53) --
The Syrophoenician Woman (starting p. 55) --
The Formative Circle (starting p. 57) --
Metaphor And Faith (starting p. 59) --
Theological Ramifications (starting p. 60) --
A Parable About Parables (starting p. 61) --
Getting It Wrong By Getting It Right (starting p. 62) --
Coda: The Secular Kingdom (starting p. 63) --
Appendix: Charles Baudelaire, "LE CYGNE" (starting p. 65) --
3. Mallarme: Irony and Enchantment (starting p. 69) --
pt. 1 Jean-Eugene Robert-Houdin (starting p. 70) --
Exorcisms And Experiments (starting p. 70) --
Science And Wonder (starting p. 72) --
Lucid Illusions (starting p. 75) --
pt. 2 Stephane Mallarme (starting p. 77) --
The Spell Of Poetry (starting p. 77) --
Setting The Scene (starting p. 79) --
A Replacement Faith (starting p. 81) --
How To Do Things With Verses (starting p. 82) --
A Corner Of Order (starting p. 83) --
The Magic Of Rhyme (starting p. 85) --
A Training In Enchantment (starting p. 86) --
A Sequence Of States (starting p. 87) --
Postscript: The Birth Of Modernism From The Spirit Of Re-Enchantment (starting p. 89) --
4. Plato: Fallacy and Logic (starting p. 95) --
A Platonic Coccyx (starting p. 96) --
Ascent And Dissent (starting p. 97) --
The Developmental Hypothesis (starting p. 99) --
Dubious Dialectic (starting p. 101) --
Pericles, Socrates, And Plato (starting p. 105) --
The Gorgias Unravels (starting p. 108) --
The Uses Of Oratory (starting p. 111) --
Was Gorgias Refuted? (starting p. 114) --
Spiritual Exercises (starting p. 115) --
Appendix: Just How Bad Is The Pericles Argument? (starting p. 120) --
5. Beckett: Antithesis and Tranquility (starting p. 124) --
pt. 1 Bringing Philosophy to an End (starting p. 125) --
Ataraxia (starting p. 125) --
Antilogoi (starting p. 126) --
One Step Forward (starting p. 128) --
pt. 2 Finding the Self to Lose the Self (starting p. 130) --
An Irreducible Singleness (starting p. 130) --
Res Cogitans (starting p. 131) --
Solutions And Dissolutions (starting p. 133) --
Two Failures (starting p. 135) --
"I Confess, I Give In, There Is I" (starting p. 136) --
Negative Anthropology (starting p. 138) --
The Beckettian Spiral (starting p. 139) --
An End To Everything? (starting p. 140) --
pt. 3 Fail Better (starting p. 142) --
Glimpses Of The Ideal (starting p. 142) --
Two Caveats (starting p. 144) --
Coda (starting p. 145) --
Notes (starting p. 147) --
Works Cited (starting p. 225) --
Index (starting p. 245)
Responsibility: by Joshua Landy.


How to Do Things with Fictions considers how fictional works, ranging from Chaucer to Beckett, subject readers to a series of exercises meant to fortify their mental capacities.  Read more...


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It is rare to read a work in which the sense comes through so fully of what it must be like to sit in the author's classroom; in this case, it is clear that Stanford students enjoy an intellectual Read more...

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