Anthony Uhlmann, Thinking in Literature: Joyce, Woolf, Nabokov

What can literature tell us about the thinking process?
Anthony Uhlmann, Thinking in Literature: Joyce, Woolf, Nabokov
I'm always interested to hear about studies exploring the philosophical aspects of literature. So, you can imagine my curiosity when hearing about Anthony Uhlmann's forthcoming book, Thinking in Literature: Joyce, Woolf, Nabokov (to be published in paperback on 29 September). The following is a press release from the publisher, Continuum, which includes brief overviews by Richard Begam and Nobel laureate J. M. Coetzee:
In this ambitious contribution to literary theory, Anthony Uhlmann shows how a work of literature can be said to think, and thus in what sense literature helps us to understand the world. On the way he provides exemplary analyses of Virginia Woolf and Vladimir Nabokov at work, as well as useful unfoldings of difficult material from Spinoza and Leibniz.

J. M. Coetzee
Anthony Uhlmann offers an impressively original and compelling series of interpretations that will substantially alter accepted ideas not only of Joyce, Woolf and Nabokov, but also of the epistemology and aesthetics of modernism. Uhlmann‟s Deleuzian approach—post-expressionist and postrepresentationalist— seeks to move beyond the traditional conception of modernism as an “inward turn” centered in subjectivity and interiority. Thinking in Literature accomplishes its highly innovative readings with subtlety, intelligence and insight.

Richard Begam, Professor of English, University of Wisconsin-Madison, USA
Thinking in Literature examines how the Modernist novel might be understood as a machine for thinking, and how it offers means of coming to terms with what it means to think. It begins with a theoretical analysis, via Deleuze, Spinoza and Leibniz, of the concept of thinking in literature, and sets out three principle elements which continually announce themselves as crucial to the process of developing an aesthetic expression: relation; sensation; and composition. Uhlmann then examines the aesthetic practice of three major Modernist writers: James Joyce, Virginia Woolf, and Vladimir Nabokov. Each can be understood as working with relation, sensation and composition, yet each emphasize the interrelations between them in differing ways in expressing the potentials for thinking in literature.

Anthony Uhlmann is Professor of English in the Writing and Society Research Group at the University of Western Sydney, Australia. He is the author of Beckett and Poststructuralism (Cambridge University Press, 1999), Samuel Beckett and the Philosophical Image (Cambridge University Press, 2006) and coeditor of The Ethics of Arnold Geulincx (Brill, 2006). He is chief editor of The Journal of Beckett Studies.

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