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John Holbo - Editor
Scott Eric Kaufman - Editor
Aaron Bady
Adam Roberts
Amardeep Singh
Andrew Seal
Bill Benzon
Daniel Green
Jonathan Goodwin
Joseph Kugelmass
Lawrence LaRiviere White
Marc Bousquet
Matt Greenfield
Miriam Burstein
Ray Davis
Rohan Maitzen
Sean McCann
Guest Authors

Laura Carroll
Mark Bauerlein
Miriam Jones

Past Valve Book Events

cover of the book Theory's Empire

Event Archive

cover of the book The Literary Wittgenstein

Event Archive

cover of the book Graphs, Maps, Trees

Event Archive

cover of the book How Novels Think

Event Archive

cover of the book The Trouble With Diversity

Event Archive

cover of the book What's Liberal About the Liberal Arts?

Event Archive

cover of the book The Novel of Purpose

Event Archive

The Valve - Closed For Renovation

Happy Trails to You

What’s an Encyclopedia These Days?

Encyclopedia Britannica to Shut Down Print Operations

Intimate Enemies: What’s Opera, Doc?

Alphonso Lingis talks of various things, cameras and photos among them

Feynmann, John von Neumann, and Mental Models

Support Michael Sporn’s Film about Edgar Allen Poe

Philosophy, Ontics or Toothpaste for the Mind

Nazi Rules for Regulating Funk ‘n Freedom

The Early History of Modern Computing: A Brief Chronology

Computing Encounters Being, an Addendum

On the Origin of Objects (towards a philosophy of computation)

Symposium on Graeber’s Debt

The Nightmare of Digital Film Preservation

Richard Petti on Occupy Wall Street: America HAS a Ruling Class

Bill Benzon on Whatwhatwhatwhatwhatwhatwhat?

Nick J. on The Valve - Closed For Renovation

Bill Benzon on Encyclopedia Britannica to Shut Down Print Operations

Norma on Encyclopedia Britannica to Shut Down Print Operations

Bill Benzon on What’s an Object, Metaphysically Speaking?

john balwit on What’s an Object, Metaphysically Speaking?

William Ray on That Shakespeare Thing

Bill Benzon on That Shakespeare Thing

William Ray on That Shakespeare Thing

JoseAngel on That Shakespeare Thing

Bill Benzon on Objects and Graeber's Debt

Bill Benzon on A Dirty Dozen Sneaking up on the Apocalypse

JoseAngel on A Dirty Dozen Sneaking up on the Apocalypse

JoseAngel on Objects and Graeber's Debt

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Tuesday, January 17, 2006

And Now For Something Completely Different

Posted by John Holbo on 01/17/06 at 08:24 PM

TLS (which has got itself a TypePad account and set up some blogs) has a rather critical review, by Simon Jarvis, of Theory’s Empire.

Despite the presence in Theory’s Empire of some erudite, witty and clever writing, it will be frustrating for anyone who, like this reviewer, agrees with many of the contentions made by its contributors and who, like them, finds the canon of star theorists painfully narrow. I agree that social constructionism is false; that literary value is not a dead duck; that the linguistic turn is open to question; that literary politics is more often a surrogate for politics than a real contribution to political justice; that subjectivity is not an effect of discourse. Yet if, say, the question of literary value is again to recapture the attention of the cleverest, best-informed, and most intellectually ambitious graduate students and young academics – Frank Kermode’s “remnant” – a lot more is required than the republication of a series of articles whose reason for existing would disappear with the defeat of their enemy. If there is one thing more dispiriting than a fat anthology of Theory, it is a fat anthology of attacks on Theory.

What is needed is something quite different.

Speaking of which: The Virginia Quarterly Review has an excerpt from Art Spiegelman’s comix autobiography, apparently to be titled “Portrait of the Artist as a Young %@?*!”

Let’s use the comment box for a link round-up, shall we? Anything interesting you have come across today? Please feel free to indulge in judicious self-promotion.


Comments

Art and Neuroscience
John Hyman

Art and Neuroscience

I want to discuss a new area of scientific research called neuro-aesthetics, which is the study of art by neuroscientists. The most prominent champions of neuro-aesthetics are V.S. Ramachandran and Semir Zeki (fig. 1). They have both made ambitious claims about their work. Ramachandran says boldly that he has discovered ‘the key to understanding what art really is’, and that his theory of art can be tested by brain imaging experiments, although he is vague about the experimental design.[1] And Zeki, who originally coined the term ‘neuro-aesthetics’, claims to have laid the foundations for understanding ‘the biological basis of aesthetic experience’.

continued at:

http://www.interdisciplines.org/artcognition/papers/15

By Bill Benzon on 01/17/06 at 10:17 PM | Permanent link to this comment

"Yet if, say, the question of literary value is again to recapture the attention of the cleverest, best-informed, and most intellectually ambitious graduate students and young academics – Frank Kermode’s “remnant” – a lot more is required than the republication of a series of articles whose reason for existing would disappear with the defeat of their enemy.”

The “brightest” graduate students, as often understood, are likely going to turn to the arts and sciences - realms in which an infinite complexity may face a person at virtually every turn and yet where real achievement is possible.

However, much careful and needed literary scholarship is neither art nor science. And in fact much valuable art and science is not all that complex either.

The point being - the “brightest” folk, may not be the most useful, or valuable, or needed intellectual workers. All academic fields would do well to give more consideration to what ought to be done, broadly understood - not least in the humanities - in addition to what are the “cleverest” things that can be done.

And in this way, one might arrive at the liveliest and/or most enlivening and greatest work there is to do.

By Tony Christini on 01/18/06 at 02:08 AM | Permanent link to this comment

For something completely the same, Patai & Corral’s intro revisited at B&W.

By nnyhav on 01/18/06 at 09:53 AM | Permanent link to this comment

So, I went online looking for an article in a back issue of PMLA from before 1985. I didn’t have any particular expectation that I’d find anything that old, but, what the hey, it’s a big cyberworld. So what did I find? I found a citation to the article in a recent article—no big deal—and a used book store that had the relevant issue of PMLA from 1979. I decided to buy it for a mere $10.  Here’s a link to that site in case you’re looking for old issuese of PMLA:

http://tinyurl.com/78zwa

By Bill Benzon on 01/18/06 at 09:36 PM | Permanent link to this comment

http://www.vub.ac.be/CLEA/liane/papers/ct.htm

Full reference:
Gabora, L. (2005). Creative thought as a non-Darwinian evolutionary process. Journal of Creative Behavior, 39(4), 65-87.

Creative Thought as a non-Darwinian Evolutionary Process

Liane Gabora

(This research was conducted at the University of California, Berkeley.)

Current Address:
University of British Columbia
Okanagan Campus, Kelowna BC, V1V 1V7, Canada
liane.gabora[at]ubc.edu

Abstract: Selection theory requires multiple, distinct, simultaneously-actualized states. In cognition, each thought or cognitive state changes the ‘selection pressure’ against which the next is evaluated; they are not simultaneously selected amongst. Creative thought is more a matter of honing in a vague idea through redescribing successive iterations of it from different real or imagined perspectives; in other words, actualizing potential through exposure to different contexts. It has been proven that the mathematical description of contextual change of state introduces a non-Kolmogorovian probability distribution, and a classical formalism such as selection theory cannot be used. This paper argues that creative thought evolves not through a Darwinian process, but a process of context-driven actualization of potential.

By Bill Benzon on 01/19/06 at 10:47 AM | Permanent link to this comment

http://www.dactyl.org/thought/SLSA2006/cfp.htm

CALL FOR PAPERS
20th Annual Conference
Society for Literature, Science and the Arts
EVOLUTION: BIOLOGICAL, CULTURAL, AND COSMIC
New York, NY, November 9-12, 2006

We are particularly interested in proposals related to the conference themes: evolutionary ideas in and among the natural and social sciences, technology, media, literature, art, the humanities, cultural studies, and critical theory. Proposals on other topics in literature, science, and art are also welcome. We encourage innovative proposals for papers, panels, round-table discussions, and any non-traditional formats. Panels are usually composed of 3-4 speakers. All sessions are 90 minutes long and should provide up to 30 minutes discussion. Proposals involving speakers and/or respondents that transcend disciplinary boundaries are particularly welcome. Deadline for submissions is April 15, 2006.

By Bill Benzon on 01/19/06 at 11:55 AM | Permanent link to this comment

http://www.hypergene.net/ideas/amazon.html

Amazoning The News
by Ellen Kampinsky, Shayne Bowman, Chris Willis

Our whitepaper shows how traditional news stories might be treated in the design model of Amazon.com. We contend that a successful news Web site is a platform that supports social interaction around the story. These interactions are as important as the narrative, perhaps more, because they are chosen by the readers. In a networked world, media whose primary value lies in its ability to connect people will win.

By Bill Benzon on 01/19/06 at 01:30 PM | Permanent link to this comment

Over at Savage Minds a post on good anthropological writing has evolved into a discussion of, guess who?  Sherlock Holms, that’s who. But no particular discussion of clues:

http://tinyurl.com/93aun

BTW, Holms was very important to me when I was 11, 12, 13, somewhere in there. I was especially pleased when I managed to guess the solution before Holmes revealed it.

By Bill Benzon on 01/19/06 at 09:38 PM | Permanent link to this comment

How about less theory talk, and more theory in action: Iconoclasm, Semantic Transgressions, and Epiphany: The Sense of Mary and Shakespeare in Sixteenth-Century England

By Douglas Galbi on 01/23/06 at 12:39 AM | Permanent link to this comment

Douglas Galbi,

I’ve taken a quick look at your paper (linked above) and have downloaded your entire book, but I’ve not had time to go through either of them in detail. But you talk about presence. How does that sense of presence related to Hans Ulrich Gumbrecht’s Production of Presence: What Meaning Cannot Convey? Here are some fragments from that book:

http://www.thevalve.org/go/valve/article/production_of_presence_a_sampling/

By Bill Benzon on 01/23/06 at 06:32 PM | Permanent link to this comment

Actually, I’m just in the middle of reading Gumbrecht’s Production of Presence. 

Short take: very interesting, highly recommended.

I hope to have a longer review of it posted within a week in the book review section of galbithink.org.

By Douglas Galbi on 01/23/06 at 11:30 PM | Permanent link to this comment

When the review’s posted, would you leave notice here?

Thanks.

By Bill Benzon on 01/23/06 at 11:55 PM | Permanent link to this comment

For those interested, here’s my book review of Gumbrecht’s Production of Presence.

By Douglas Galbi on 02/04/06 at 04:30 PM | Permanent link to this comment

Thanks, Douglas.

By Bill Benzon on 02/04/06 at 08:55 PM | Permanent link to this comment

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