Cultural History of Causality

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Juli 2006



"Kern gives us in this book a brilliant history of modern causality, which he traces in fiction from the linear unities of the realist novel through the indirection and uncertainty of modernism. He hits on the ingenious device of analyzing literary treatments of murder to illuminate the changing psychiatric, social, linguistic, and biological theories of cause mirrored in the history of contemporary philosophy and science. This is a text of incomparable richness, ingenuity, and careful reasoning."--Robert Nye, Thomas Hart and Mary Jones Horning Professor of the Humanities and Professor of History, Oregon State University"Whether one is interested in causality or in culture, or in the history of their relationships, this is an essential book."--Arkady Plotnitsky, Professor of English and Director of Theory and Cultural Studies, Purdue University"Historians of late have been returning to the scene of the crime. And if murder is where bodies and histories cross, then there is no better place than the scene of the crime to take the temperature of modernity. Stephen Kern's richly informed investigation of causality's strange history shows why."--Mark Seltzer, author of "Serial Killers: Death and Life in America's Wound Culture and True Crime""Like his earlier book, "The Culture of Time and Space," this is a work of daunting intellect that moves fearlessly between literary and scientific achievements in its exploration of human thought. In analyzing famous fictional murders, Kern has written a book that flows like a detective story. While it operates at the highest intellectual level, it is also a pleasure to read.."--Laura Otis, Professor of English, Hofstra University, author of"Membranes: Metaphors of Invasion in Nineteenth-Century Literature, Science, and Politics""This book represents a most successful endeavor to write a history of the 'causal' since 1830, one that will certainly take pride of place not only in the literature on crime but als


Acknowledgments ix Introduction 1 Chapter 1: Ancestry 27 Chapter 2: Childhood 64 Chapter 3: Language 108 Chapter 4: Sexuality 147 Chapter 5: Emotion 189 Chapter 6: Mind 226 Chapter 7: Society 266 Chapter 8: Ideas 304 Conclusion 359 Notes 377 Bibliography 419 Index 425


Stephen Kern is Humanities Distinguished Professor of History at Ohio State University. He is the author of "The Culture of Time and Space, The Culture of Love", and "Eyes of Love".


"[An] ambitious book... [Kern's] focus on murder keeps things pleasantly lurid, and his erudition and passion shine through on every page."--Publishers Weekly "Thoughtful and carefully done, the fruit of considerable research."--Richard A. Posner, Science "Kern has mastered the novels, the critical literature, and the works by philosophers and sociologists bearing on his thesis... [R]eaders familiar with the novels will see them in a new light."--Jonathan Beard, Scientific American "As a history of science and ideas, Kern's study succeeds brilliantly. Gathering the disparate knowledge systems of nearly two centuries into discrete categories, Kern produces a taxonomy of causality that is cogent and convincing... From Enlightenment positivism to quantum discontinuity; from religion to existentialism, and phrenology to cybernetics; from Freud to Nietzsche to Foucault, and from Darwin to Durkheim to Derrida: Kern ranges comfortably (and profitably) among them all. Specialists and novice alike will find much hereto learn and admire."--Peter Okun, American Historical Review "Murder stories, Kern argues, are a sort of cultural repository of thoughts about causality, of how things fit together. From the pseudo-scientific deductions of Conan Doyle to the postmodern self-reflections of Don DeLillo, Philip Kerr and Robert Coover, detective stories demonstrate how we cope with the biggest contingency of all: conscious killing."--Mark Kingwell, The Globe and Mail "Causality, Stephen Kern concedes, is hard to define and even harder to prove... [T]his book is highly recommended to everyone interested in smart and engaging interdisciplinary scholarship."--Peter Okun, American Historical Review "[An] impressive study of causality... Kern offers some fascinating insights into the relationship between science and literature, as well as the history of our attempts to explain the why and wherefore."--PD Smith, The Guardian
EAN: 9780691127682
ISBN: 0691127689
Untertitel: Sprache: Englisch.
Verlag: University Press Group Ltd
Erscheinungsdatum: Juli 2006
Format: kartoniert
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