Category Archives: philosophy
By Jorge Luis Borges
Borges’s stories are redolent with an intelligence, wealth of invention, and a tight, almost mathematically formal style that challenge with mysteries and paradoxes revealed only slowly after several readings. Highly recommended to anyone who wants their imagination and intellect to be aswarm with philosophical plots, compelling conundrums, and a wealth of real and imagined literary references derived from an infinitely imaginary library.
Edited by Adam Parfrey (1987)
“Apocalypse Culture is compulsory reading for all those concerned with the crisis of our times. An extraordinary collection unlike anything I have ever encountered. These are the terminal documents of the twentieth century.” -J.G. Ballard
By E.H. Gombrich (1963)
Prompted by modern critical discussions, the fourteen papers, lectures and articles assembled in this volume revolve around issues raised by twentieth-century art and theory. Taking abstraction and expression as his main themes, Professor Gombrich’s essays encompass the whole of the history of art, and include major articles on the social history of art, visual metaphor, tradition and expression, and psychoanalysis.
By Terry Eagleton (1983/1996)
This classic work, whose first edition sold more than 120,000 copies, is designed to cover all of the major movements in literary studies in this century. The second edition contains a major new survey chapter that addresses developments since the book’s original publication in 1983, including feminist theory, postmodernism, poststructuralism-what is broadly referred to as cultural theory.
By Marshall McLuhan
Until now, no book has explored the full expanse of Marshall McLuhan’s thinking. Here we have assembled alongside his most prescient aphorisms excerpts from the full range of his astounding life’s work. One revolutionary book distills the wisdom and wit of the man who explained to us the “the medium is the message” and that we are “now living in a global village”, that “privacy invasion is now our most important knowledge industry” and that “obsolescence is the moment of superabundance”. Art Director and Designer David Carson presents McLuhan’s images with new insight, and has built a work of art that is reminiscent of those lasting works permanently commissioned and interpreted by new generations.
Edited by Steve Redhead (2004)
The Paul Virilio Reader collects for the first time English extracts reflecting the entire range of Virilio’s diverse career. The book’s introduction demonstrates that Virilio has produced an important — if controversial — “theory at the speed of light” that uncannily illuminates the impact of new information and communications technologies in a world that collapses time and distance as never before. The inventor of “dromology,” which views speed as a defining concept for contemporary civilization, Virilio is noted for his proclamation that the logic of ever-increasing acceleration lies at the heart of the organization and transformation of the contemporary world.
By Clayton Eshleman (2003)
This arresting diptych of verse and philosophical prose charts a twenty-five-year obsession with the prehistoric cave paintings of southwestern France. The region’s enigmatic art work, dating from the Upper Paleolithic era, has been a constant muse for Eshleman, whose wildly discursive style mirrors the superimposed scenes of animal herds and shamanistic figures that populate the cave walls. Breathless accounts of cave exploration appear in counterpoint with poems in eerily primordial voices. Although his thesis that all art results from the separation anxiety between human and animal is unpersuasive, there is an impressive exuberance to his efforts to trace back to this common source everything from Greek myth to Allen Ginsberg. For Eshleman, it seems, the artist’s imaginative predicament is something of a cave itself, both maze and refuge.
Edited by Noah Wardrip-Fruin and Nick Montfort (2003)
This reader collects the texts, videos, and computer programs–many of them now almost impossible to find–that chronicle the history and form the foundation of the still-emerging field of new media. General introductions by Janet Murray and Lev Manovich, along with short introductions to each of the texts, place the works in their historical context and explain their significance. The texts were originally published between World War II–when digital computing, cybernetic feedback, and early notions of hypertext and the Internet first appeared–and the emergence of the World Wide Web–when they entered the mainstream of public life.
Edited by Randall Packer and Ken Jordan (expanded edition, 2002)
Readers interested in the history of multimedia should be enthralled by this collection of hard-to-find essays. “Outline of the Artwork of the Future,” for instance, was first published in 1849, and its author was the great German composer Richard Wagner, who envisioned a new kind of stage drama that united music, visual effects, poetry, and dance. Skip forward seven decades, and here’s 1924’s “Theater, Circus, Variety,” by Laszlo Moholy-Nagy, one of the foremost practitioners of the Bauhaus school of art. His elaboration of Wagner’s ideas incorporated the revolutionary idea of removing the so-called fourth wall and involving the audience in the play. Similarly, these essays trace the evolution of electronic media, film, and books (William Burroughs’ 1964 piece, “The Future of the Novel,” is itself worth the price of admission). A remarkable blending of past and present, these essays remind us that today’s wondrous inventions didn’t just spring into existence out of nothingness.