• Death Rights

      Koretsky, Deanna P. (SUNY Press, 2021-03-01)
      Death Rights presents an antiracist critique of British romanticism by deconstructing one of its organizing tropes—the suicidal creative “genius.” Putting texts by Olaudah Equiano, Mary Shelley, John Keats, and others into critical conversation with African American literature, black studies, and feminist theory, Deanna P. Koretsky argues that romanticism is part and parcel of the legal and philosophical discourses underwriting liberal modernity’s antiblack foundations. Read in this context, the trope of romantic suicide serves a distinct political function, indexing the limits of liberal subjectivity and (re)inscribing the rights and freedoms promised by liberalism as the exclusive province of white men. The first book-length study of suicide in British romanticism, Death Rights also points to the enduring legacy of romantic ideals in the academy and contemporary culture more broadly. Koretsky challenges scholars working in historically Eurocentric fields to rethink their identification with epistemes rooted in antiblackness. And, through discussions of recent cultural touchstones such as Kurt Cobain’s resurgence in hip-hop and Victor LaValle’s comic book sequel to Frankenstein, Koretsky provides all readers with a trenchant analysis of how eighteenth-century ideas about suicide continue to routinize antiblackness in the modern world. Print versions available for purchase at https://sunypress.edu/Books/D/Death-Rights
    • Fire and Snow

      DiPaolo, Marc (SUNY Press, 2018-08-01)
      Fellow Inklings J. R. R. Tolkien and C. S. Lewis may have belonged to different branches of Christianity, but they both made use of a faith-based environmentalist ethic to counter the mid-twentieth-century's triple threats of fascism, utilitarianism, and industrial capitalism. In Fire and Snow, Marc DiPaolo explores how the apocalyptic fantasy tropes and Christian environmental ethics of the Middle-earth and Narnia sagas have been adapted by a variety of recent writers and filmmakers of "climate fiction," a growing literary and cinematic genre that grapples with the real-world concerns of climate change, endless wars, and fascism, as well as the role religion plays in easing or escalating these apocalyptic-level crises. Among the many other well-known climate fiction narratives examined in these pages are Game of Thrones, The Hunger Games, The Handmaid's Tale, Mad Max, and Doctor Who. Although the authors of these works stake out ideological territory that differs from Tolkien's and Lewis's, DiPaolo argues that they nevertheless mirror their predecessors' ecological concerns. The Christians, Jews, atheists, and agnostics who penned these works agree that we all need to put aside our cultural differences and transcend our personal, socioeconomic circumstances to work together to save the environment. Taken together, these works of climate fiction model various ways in which a deep ecological solidarity might be achieved across a broad ideological and cultural spectrum.
    • Storytelling

      Gasché, Rodolphe (SUNY Press, 2018-10-01)
      In Storytelling, Rodolphe Gasché reexamines the muteness of Holocaust survivors, that is, their inability to tell their stories. This phenomenon has not been explained up to now without reducing the violence of the events to which survivors were subjected, on the one hand, and diminishing the specific harm that has been done to them as human beings, on the other. Distinguishing storytelling from testifying and providing information, Gasché asserts that the utter senselessness of the violence inflicted upon them is what inhibited survivors from making sense of their experience in the form of tellable stories. In a series of readings of major theories of storytelling by three thinkers—Wilhelm Schapp, whose work will be a welcome discovery to many English-speaking audiences, Walter Benjamin, and Hannah Arendt—Gasché systematically assesses the consequences of the loss of the storytelling faculty, considered by some an inalienable possession of the human, both for the victims' humanity and for philosophy.