Download A Report on the Afterlife of Culture by Stephen Henighan PDF

By Stephen Henighan

ISBN-10: 1897231423

ISBN-13: 9781897231425

In this essay assortment, Henighan levels throughout continents, centuries and linguistic traditions to envision how literary tradition and our belief of heritage are altering because the international grows smaller. He weaves jointly bold literary feedback with front-line reporting on occasions reminiscent of the tip of the chilly warfare in Poland and African reactions to the G8 Summit.

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Sample text

During the hottest day of 1935 – the motif of rising temperatures foreshadowing cresting social tensions is borrowed from The Go-Between – Robbie writes a jesting note to Cecilia, who in spite of being his Cambridge classmate remains, as his social superior, an inappropriate object of his affections. “The truth is,” Robbie writes, “I feel rather light-headed and foolish in your presence, Cee, and I don’t think I can blame the heat! ” This typically elliptical British statement of affection does not make it into A Report on the Afterlife of Culture 57 the envelope.

The effect is to reverse the intense introspection that distinguished the individual within the organic post-tribal society of early modern Europe; almost six hundred years after Gutenberg set in motion the implacable deterioration of the tribe, our solitude is punctured and we are restored to the community. But after centuries of modernity and the recent breakneck acceleration of global commercialism the tribe to which we are restored is hollow. It is a bottle from which the soul has been released, a smashed camera lying on a highland street, a neverinhabited house that was built to be admired by visitors, in perfect replication of a house that was built to be lived in.

Rootless, migratory Western thought is always lamenting paradises lost. The Romans mourn their tenuous inheritance from the culture of classical Greece, the Renaissance looks back to Rome, Henry James both yearns for and fears an impossible communion with European culture, African-descended New World writers from Nicolás Guillén in Havana to Langston Hughes in Harlem look back to Africa to mourn a wholeness they can never recover, Joseph Roth’s creativity is inseparable from his exile from an Austro-Hungarian Empire whose destruction by the First World War left him without a nation.

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