Mark Seltzer The Official World

ISBN 13: 9780822360865

The Official World

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9780822360865: The Official World
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In his virtuosic new book noted cultural critic Mark Seltzer shows how suspense, as art form and form of life, depicts and shapes the social systems that organize our modern world. Modernity's predicament, Seltzer writes, is a society so hungry for reality that it cannot stop describing itself, and that makes for a world that continuously establishes itself by staging its own conditions. Employing the social theories of Georg Simmel, Erving Goffman, Niklas Luhmann, and Peter Sloterdijk, Seltzer shows how suspense novels, films, and performance art by Patricia Highsmith, Tom McCarthy, Cormac McCarthy, J. G. Ballard, Karl Ove Knausgaard, and others outline how we currently live and reveal the stress-points and mood-systems of the modern epoch.  In its focus on social games, depictions of violent and explosive persons, along with its cast of artists, reporters, detectives, and others who observe and report and reenact, the suspense mode creates and recreates modern systems of action and autonomy, and defines the self-turned world's practices and aesthetics. By epitomizing a reflexive, self-legislating, and autonomous world, a suspense art with humans in the systems epoch provides the models and sets the rules for our modern, official world. 

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About the Author:

Mark Seltzer is Evan Frankel Professor of Literature at the University of California, Los Angeles and the author of several books, including Bodies and Machines and Serial Killers: Death and Life in America's Wound Culture.

Review:

"[A] provocative account of the mechanisms that enable and shape 'the systems epoch' of the Anthropocene. . . .  A challenging and rewarding read. Recommended. Upper-division undergraduates through faculty." (A. Jenkins Choice 2016-10-01)

"[T]hrow[s] an intriguing new light on why and how 'world literature' succeeds in generating plurality and disruption rather than falling back into a flattening familiarity." (Caroline Levine Public Books 2016-11-01)

"[A] penetrating, clever, and ambitious book, and essential ... reading for anyone thinking capaciously about modernity and form. Read it for your scholarship, or in preparation for the next time a university official in a meeting feels the need to explain what ‘the reality is’ – you’ll know it’s the reality of the official world." (Natalia Cecire Textual Practice 2017-02-28)

"I read Mark Seltzer’s The Official World with gratitude as well as admiration.... One favorite discussion concerns the position of theme parks as 'small worlds' modeling the official world.... Another is the relevance of the ambiguity, uncertainty, and paradox of modernist literature for the improvisatory state of mind needed in military strategy for cybernetic warfare." (Gregory L. Ulmer Electronic Book Review 2017-04-24)

"Mark Seltzer’s career-long interest in the relations binding narrative form, collective psychology, and power relations achieves a sleek, elegant crescendo with The Official World.... Readers who have a working familiarity with Niklas Luhmann and Peter Sloterdijk will find The Official World’s commentaries deeply resonant. For those less versed in these writers, Seltzer’s study provides one of the best illustrations of the ways in which the above approaches can be utilized for literary and cultural studies. Although the work is not explicitly located within American studies, The Official World’s primary use of evidentiary materials from the United States makes it easily understood as such, even if the critical discussions staged therein are not often situated as central to the field’s self-perception, either within or beyond the host nation. A pleasure to read, The Official World deserves to be seen as a state-of-the-art study."
  (Stephen Shapiro Journal of American Studies 2018-02-01)

"The Official World is many things: an original and compelling account of modernity; a primer on systems theory; a methodological intervention; and a profound commentary—humorous at times, at times startling and even frightening—on the way of the world. Whether it is admired most for its engagements with Luhmann and Goffman, its insights into the fiction and art of the official world, its exemplification of how literary criticism can be its own kind of social science, or all of the above, it should be required reading for anyone interested in modernity." (David Alworth ALH Online Review 2018-02-22)

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Publisher: Duke University Press Books, 2016
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Book Description Duke University Press, United States, 2016. Hardback. Condition: New. Language: English . Brand New Book. In his virtuosic new book noted cultural critic Mark Seltzer shows how suspense, as art form and form of life, depicts and shapes the social systems that organize our modern world. Modernity s predicament, Seltzer writes, is a society so hungry for reality that it cannot stop describing itself, and that makes for a world that continuously establishes itself by staging its own conditions. Employing the social theories of Georg Simmel, Erving Goffman, Niklas Luhmann, and Peter Sloterdijk, Seltzer shows how suspense novels, films, and performance art by Patricia Highsmith, Tom McCarthy, Cormac McCarthy, J. G. Ballard, Karl Ove Knausgaard, and others outline how we currently live and reveal the stress-points and mood-systems of the modern epoch. In its focus on social games, depictions of violent and explosive persons, along with its cast of artists, reporters, detectives, and others who observe and report and reenact, the suspense mode creates and recreates modern systems of action and autonomy, and defines the self-turned world s practices and aesthetics. By epitomizing a reflexive, self-legislating, and autonomous world, a suspense art with humans in the systems epoch provides the models and sets the rules for our modern, official world. Seller Inventory # AAJ9780822360865

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Book Description Duke University Press, United States, 2016. Hardback. Condition: New. Language: English . Brand New Book. In his virtuosic new book noted cultural critic Mark Seltzer shows how suspense, as art form and form of life, depicts and shapes the social systems that organize our modern world. Modernity s predicament, Seltzer writes, is a society so hungry for reality that it cannot stop describing itself, and that makes for a world that continuously establishes itself by staging its own conditions. Employing the social theories of Georg Simmel, Erving Goffman, Niklas Luhmann, and Peter Sloterdijk, Seltzer shows how suspense novels, films, and performance art by Patricia Highsmith, Tom McCarthy, Cormac McCarthy, J. G. Ballard, Karl Ove Knausgaard, and others outline how we currently live and reveal the stress-points and mood-systems of the modern epoch. In its focus on social games, depictions of violent and explosive persons, along with its cast of artists, reporters, detectives, and others who observe and report and reenact, the suspense mode creates and recreates modern systems of action and autonomy, and defines the self-turned world s practices and aesthetics. By epitomizing a reflexive, self-legislating, and autonomous world, a suspense art with humans in the systems epoch provides the models and sets the rules for our modern, official world. Seller Inventory # AAJ9780822360865

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