Bio: Jonathan Greenberg is an academic researcher from Montclair State University. The author has contributed to research in topics: Literary criticism & Darwinism. The author has an hindex of 6, co-authored 12 publications receiving 101 citations.
TL;DR: A recent review of the prominent journal Critical Inquiry reveals that while Marx, Nietzsche, and Freud vie for position with Derrida, Lacan, and Foucault among the journal's most frequently footnoted thinkers, Darwin is, apparently, nowhere to be found.
Abstract: Since the reinvention of social Darwinism as sociobiology in the 1970s, and particularly since the reinvention of sociobiology as evolutionary psychology in the 1990s, the deployment of Darwinian ideas and models has been steadily on the rise in a wide variety of academic fields--Brian Boyd offers a list that includes ethology, linguistics, artificial intelligence, neurophysiology, anthropology, analytic philosophy, and psychology (2). (1) Yet literary study has been curiously reticent in engaging this intellectual trend. A recent review of the prominent journal of theory Critical Inquiry reveals that while Marx, Nietzsche, and Freud vie for position with Derrida, Lacan, and Foucault among the journal's most frequently footnoted thinkers, Darwin is, apparently, nowhere to be found (Stevens and Williams 217). To be sure, a small and determined group of scholars has attempted to ground the study of literature in evolutionary psychology, and others have investigated Darwin's impact on, and debts to, the literature and culture of his own era. (2) But literary criticism--in part because of its investments in historicizing and relativizing cultural norms, in part because of a healthy suspicion of the ways in which Darwin's name has been used to justify reactionary views on race, class, and gender--remains wary of the neo-Darwinian vogue, with its axiom, taken from entomologist Edward O. Wilson, that "the genes hold culture on a leash" (167). Barbara Herrnstein Smith's recent discussions of human-animal relations, for example, are so trenchant in their attacks on the neo-Darwinist linguist Steven Pinker--for his reckless application of metaphors from the human realm to the animal, for his apparent disdain for literature and the arts--that her reader might fail to notice that she is, in fact, arguing for the recognition of neo-Darwinian insights about the permeability of the human-animal divide. Similarly, although Marjorie Garber challenges neo-Darwinists, most notably her Harvard colleague Wilson, for their reduction of human nature to "the level of the gene" (21), she does not dispute Wilson's arguments so much as simply dislike them. Rebuking Wilson for his relegation of the literary to a purely ornamental or decorative function, she points out that he quotes Iago's endorsement of "good name" as evidence for the evolutionary hazards of sexual infidelity but utterly neglects "Iago's position as the most arrant hypocrite in all of Shakespeare, [and] his own contempt for 'good name' as compared to more material and vengeful rewards" (28). It may be accidental that a question of sexual jealousy underlies the example over which Wilson and Garber skirmish, but Garber's response to Wilson, and Smith's to Pinker, partake, I suggest, of a slightly different sort of jealousy, a possessiveness about the realm of the literary. Thus in asking why biologists can't read poetry, I want to address both senses of the question--I want to ask not only why masterly scientists like Wilson prove to be clumsy and undergraduate-sounding when they talk about Shakespeare but also why literary critics like Garber and Smith (and myself) want them to be bad readers. Why can't biologists read poetry? At the same time, however, I pose the converse question: Why can't poets (or literary critics, or humanists) read science? What cultural strictures or habits of thought make us regard the invocation of Darwin's name--especially when it comes to explanations of culture--with suspicion? In answering these questions I do not propose to stake out a position on exactly how far Darwinian thinking can usefully be extended to the social sciences and humanities. My inquiry into both the new Darwinism and the resistance to it will remain largely within my own disciplinary territory--literary criticism. In short, I aim to offer less a Darwinian reading of culture than a cultural reading of Darwinism. This reading will proceed through a detailed analysis of Ian McEwan's novel Enduring Love--a novel that engages contemporary debates about neo-Darwinism by representing a series of interrelated conflicts between scientific, literary, and religious worldviews. …
15 Sep 2011
TL;DR: Greenberg as mentioned in this paper locates a satiric sensibility at the heart of the modern by promoting an antisentimental education, modernism denied the authority of emotion to guarantee moral and literary value Instead, it fostered sophisticated, detached and apparently cruel attitudes toward pain and suffering, which challenged the novel's humanistic tradition, set ethics and aesthetics into conflict and fundamentally altered the ways that we know and feel.
Abstract: In this groundbreaking study, Jonathan Greenberg locates a satiric sensibility at the heart of the modern By promoting an antisentimental education, modernism denied the authority of emotion to guarantee moral and literary value Instead, it fostered sophisticated, detached and apparently cruel attitudes toward pain and suffering This sensibility challenged the novel's humanistic tradition, set ethics and aesthetics into conflict and fundamentally altered the ways that we know and feel Through lively and original readings of works by Evelyn Waugh, Stella Gibbons, Nathanael West, Djuna Barnes, Samuel Beckett and others, this book analyzes a body of literature - late modernist satire - that can appear by turns aloof, sadistic, hilarious, ironic and poignant, but which continually questions inherited modes of feeling By recognizing the centrality of satire to modernist aesthetics, Greenberg offers not only a new chapter in the history of satire but a persuasive new idea of what made modernism modern
TL;DR: Satire reemerges in modernism because it offers an escape from coercive identifications enacted through sentimentality as mentioned in this paper. But as seen in the fiction of Nathanael West, satire's rejection of sentiment runs significant risks, threatening to dismiss the acutely felt claims of a suffering public.
Abstract: Satire reemerges in modernism because it offers an escape from coercive identifications enacted through sentimentality. As seen in the fiction of Nathanael West, however, satire's rejection of sentiment runs significant risks, threatening to dismiss the acutely felt claims of a suffering public. West's novels thus describe and negotiate a rift between satire and sentiment, between irony and pity, between aesthetics and ethics. In its antisentimental impulse, satire renders the human subject mechanical, insensate, or unable to experience emotion at all, yet this reductive, grotesque vision elicits an uncanny dread that paradoxically reaffirms feeling as a basis for aesthetics.
20 Dec 2018
TL;DR: In satire, evil, folly, and weakness are held up to ridicule -to the delight of some and the outrage of others as discussed by the authors, and satire may claim the higher purpose of social critique or moral reform, or it may simply revel in its own transgressive laughter.
Abstract: In satire, evil, folly, and weakness are held up to ridicule - to the delight of some and the outrage of others. Satire may claim the higher purpose of social critique or moral reform, or it may simply revel in its own transgressive laughter. It exposes frauds, debunks ideals, binds communities, starts arguments, and evokes unconscious fantasies. It has been a central literary genre since ancient times, and has become especially popular and provocative in recent decades. This new introduction to satire takes a historically expansive and theoretically eclectic approach, addressing a range of satirical forms from ancient, Renaissance, and Enlightenment texts through contemporary literary fiction, film, television, and digital media. The beginner in need of a clear, readable overview and the scholar seeking to broaden and deepen existing knowledge will both find this a lively, engaging, and reliable guide to satire, its history, and its continuing relevance in the world.
TL;DR: Waugh's attitude toward modernism and modernity more generally was marked by a certain fruitful ambivalence as discussed by the authors, which is characteristic of Waugh's sensibility, the signal characteristic of his dark humor.
Abstract: Wallace Stevens wrote that death is the mother of beauty, but for Evelyn Waugh death more often gives birth to comedy. In Decline and Fall, a schoolboy is killed by a stray bullet from a track official's misfired pistol. In Vile Bodies, a gossip columnist puts his head in an oven when he can no longer get into the right parties. In Black Mischief, the hero unwittingly consumes the stewed body of his lover during an African emperor's funeral rites. Such a casual acceptance of violent and untimely death has become an emblem of Waugh's sensibility, the signal characteristic of his dark humor. In Waugh's fiction, life is nasty, British, and short. With an ambivalence characteristic of Waugh's critics, Conor Cruise O'Brien has called this apparent indifference to death a "schoolboy delight in cruelty" (50), distancing himself morally and emotionally from Waugh's delight while still praising the author's peculiar talents. O'Brien discerns, even as he reproduces, a discrepancy in the fiction between ethics and pleasure, a gap that some theorists have argued is endemic to satire itself, which assumes a moral stance in defense of traditional, communal values, but exults in the representation of the vice and folly it excoriates. As Michael Seidel has put it, despite his "curative, meliorative, or restorative role," the satirist is inevitably "implicated in the debasing form of his action" (3, 4).1 In order to clean up, you have to get dirty. If Waugh's fiction offers a useful case study in the paradoxes of satire, it is equally valuable for the questions it opens in understanding modernism. For Waugh's attitudes toward both modernism and modernity more generally are similarly vexed. As George McCartney has written: "Waugh's response to the modern was marked by certain fruitful ambivalence. In his official pose he was the curmudgeon who despised innovation, but the anarchic artist in him frequently delighted in its formal and thematic possibilities" (Roaring 3). Although Waugh later in life repeatedly denounced modernist formal experimentation, his early fiction nonetheless came to embody a modern sensibility in its apparent rejection of the novel's traditional ethical obligations. Even in matters of form, he
TL;DR: Kermode as mentioned in this paper explored the relationship of fiction to age-old conceptions of chaos and crisis and found new insights into some of the most unyielding philosophical and aesthetic enigmas.
Abstract: A pioneering attempt to relate the theory of literary fiction to a more general theory of fiction, using fictions of apocalypse as a model. This pioneering exploration of the relationship of fiction to age-old conceptions of chaos and crisis offers many new insights into some of the most unyielding philosophical and aesthetic enigmas. Examining the works of a wide range of writers from Plato to William Burroughs, Kermode demonstrates how writers have persistently imposed their \"fictions\" upon the face of eternity and how these have reflected the apocalyptic spirit.
TL;DR: On the Grotesque: Strategies of Contradiction in Art and Literature as mentioned in this paper, is a book about the relationship between art and literature, with a focus on art and philosophy.
Abstract: The Description for this book, On the Grotesque: Strategies of Contradiction in Art and Literature, will be forthcoming.
01 Jan 1996
TL;DR: In this article, the authors discuss modernist writers and the ethos of professionalism in a newspaperised world: Henry James's The Reverberator, The Sacred Fount and literary authority 4. The plots of murder: un/original stories in Theodore Dreiser's An American Tragedy.
Abstract: 1. Modernist writers and the ethos of professionalism 2. Fiction from a newspaperised world: Henry James's The Reverberator 3. The newspaperman kicked out: The Sacred Fount and literary authority 4. The plots of murder: un/original stories in Theodore Dreiser's An American Tragedy 5. Reading John Dos Passos: reading mass culture in the USA 6. Miss Lonelyhearts: Nathanael West's comic-strip novel 7. Making the usual kind of sense: Hollywood, West and the critics in The Day of the Locust Notes Reference List Index.
22 Nov 2019
TL;DR: In this paper, Frame et al. investigate the relation between the representations litteraires de la maladie mentale and the questions of genre sexue (« gender '') comme litteraire, in a corpus of romans, nouvelles and pieces de theâtre de six auteurs (Janet Frame, Jenny Diski, Sarah Kane, Ian McEwan, Anthony Neilson, and Will Self), publies entre 1951 and 2004.
Abstract: Souvent conceptualisee comme l’envers ou l’oppose de la raison, la folie, presque toujours synonyme de debordement, semble vouee a outrepasser toute limite definitoire ou conceptuelle posee par la pensee rationnelle. Cette pulsion de delimitation ou de classification inherente a la rationalite, trouve dans le genre l’une de ses expressions les plus representatives. Partant du constat que la folie ne cesse de transgresser les frontieres traditionnelles de genre, ce travail etudie les liens entre les representations litteraires de la maladie mentale et les questions de genre sexue (« gender ») comme litteraire, dans un corpus compose de romans, nouvelles et pieces de theâtre de six auteurs (Janet Frame, Jenny Diski, Sarah Kane, Ian McEwan, Anthony Neilson et Will Self), publies entre 1951 et 2004. Animees par une dynamique toujours renouvelee de subversion des categories etablies, ces oeuvres invitent a une reflexion sur le rapport particulier qu’entretient la folie a la frontiere, qui de simple ligne de demarcation ou de separation se fait point de contact, puis espace a part entiere. A travers leurs representations de la folie, les recits etudies privilegient le plus souvent, en effet, une esthetique et une epistemologie de l’entre. Cette reflexion s’articule donc principalement autour des images et des usages de la liminalite dans ces histoires de fous et de folles qui, au fil de leur (re)definition de l’appartenance et de l’identite des textes et des individus, esquissent une cartographie mobile des « contrees a venir » dont Deleuze et Guattari font la destination de toute ecriture.