Mark Seltzer The Official World

ISBN 13: 9780822361008

The Official World

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9780822361008: The Official World

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:

"In this remarkable and wonderful book, Mark Seltzer creates a reading practice that makes novels and films crucial indices to understanding human agency in the contemporary world. In an almost effortless fashion, Seltzer ties his remarkable analyses of Patricia Highsmith and Tom McCarthy to contemporary theoretical disputes, making this an important book for courses on contemporary fiction, literary theory, histories of the novel, and film." (Frances Ferguson, author of Pornography, the Theory: What Utilitarianism Did to Action)

"In The Official World Mark Seltzer extends his idiosyncratic and mesmerizing account of modernity realized, here, through a tour-de-force engagement with the fiction of Patricia Highsmith, among many others. Reading Seltzer can induce exhilaration and a kind of vertigo. But it never fails to lead you to a compelling (at times amusing and at times chilling) recognition of how our world operates, and how it keeps on operating. The most imaginative and astute critic working in the systems theory paradigm, Seltzer provides an account of the modern world that will make a major impact in literary studies and beyond." (Bill Brown, author of A Sense of Things: The Object Matter of American Literature)

"[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)

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Book Description Duke University Press, United States, 2016. Paperback. Book 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. Bookseller Inventory # AAJ9780822361008

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Book Description Duke University Press, United States, 2016. Paperback. Book 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. Bookseller Inventory # AAJ9780822361008

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