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Palgrave Macmillan

No Symbols Where None Intended

Literary Essays from Laclos to Beckett

ISBN 9781137456090
Publication Date August 2014
Formats Hardcover Ebook (EPUB) Ebook (PDF) 
Publisher Palgrave Pivot

In Nabokov's Lectures on Literature, he writes: "Style and structure are the essence of a book; great ideas are hogwash." The essays in No Symbols Where None Intended: Literary Essays from Laclos to Beckett use Nabokov's stylistic approach to well-known texts (fiction, drama and criticism) as a point of departure. Notions of style and structure link the three prose pieces discussed in the text, (Beckett, Smart, and Turgenev,) to the fiction and drama of Ibsen and Strindberg. Mark Axelrod joins a wide and deep conversation on writers on writing.

Mark Axelrod is a Professor of Comparative Literature of English at Chapman University, USA and is the Director of the John Fowles Center for Creative Writing. He has received five National Endowment Arts Grants and is also an accomplished novelist, literary critic, and screenwriter.

1. Narrateur, Narratrice: Polyphonia in Laclos' Les liaisons dangereuses
2. The Theatre of Fiction in Turgenev's Rudin
3. Architectonics in Ibsen's Hedda Gabler
4. Notions of Melancholia and Misogyny in August Strindberg and The Father
5. Jewish mysticism, the Commodification of Art and the Notion of Aura in Walter Benjamin's "The Work of Art in the Age of Mechanical Reproduction"
6. The Poetics of Prose Poetry in Elizabeth Smart's By Grand Central Station I Sat Down and Wept
7. The Poetics of Repetition in Beckett's Watt


"What is vital reading, vital generosity, and the courage to make these two, now often submerged crafts, immediately present?Here in Mark Axelrod's essays these acts are given a generative and imaginative intricacy, beautifully shaped and recorded.They evoke transformation, discovery, and a repository of experienced consciousness that has the nerve to both speak and challengeand return these things to their precarious wonders." -Author of How the Night is Divided and A HalfMan Dreaming
"In No Symbols Where None Intended, Mark Axelrod deconstructs the dramatic dimension of Laclos, Turgenev, and Beckett. Continuing Nabokov and Benjamin's rare tradition of critical virtuosity, Axelrod takes his nuanced arguments, themselves a wonder of structure and style, through a grand detour of original insights and never fails to bring them back home to unexpected and illuminating conclusions." - Pablo Baler, Associate Professor of Latin American Literature, California State University, Los Angeles, USA
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