The Geoffrey Hartman Reader

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Geoffrey H. Hartman, Daniel T. O'Hara
Edinburgh University Press, 2004 - 468
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Winner of the 2006 Truman Capote Prize for Literary Achievement

Geoffrey Hartman's interests range over almost the entire field of contemporary literature and culture. In this, the first Reader of his work, significant essays reflect his abiding interest in English and American poetry, focusing not only on Romanticism but also on the transition from early modern to modern and including reflections on the radical elements in artistic representation.

Hartman, whose book on Wordsworth changed our understanding of that poet, brings theory and close reading together. A major consideration of Freud is accompanied by intensive analyses of Lacan and Derrida, and a psychoesthetic theory of literary genesis is proposed. Popular literature is examined through the American detective novel; Jane Austen, Virginia Woolf, and Bernard Malamud are brought together in an examination of realism; the premodern mode of midrashic interpretation is reintroduced to literary study; and major trends in criticism, including trauma studies, receive attention.

Hartman's assessment of the media revolution and cultural studies is represented by shorter pieces of film criticism as well as his classic essays on 'Public Memory and its Discontents' and 'Tele-Suffering and Testimony' - the latter also describes a pioneering effort to collect on video the experiences of Holocaust survivors.

This anthology is both highly readable and, because of its range and intellectual vigour, essential for all those concerned with the fate of the humanities and the future of literary criticism.


  • Leading US critic of contemporary literature and culture, particularly in the areas of poetry, Romanticism, trauma studies, public culture, pedagogy, and literary theory and criticism
  • Selection ranges across Geoffrey Hartman's illustrious career with the readings organised into six thematic parts
  • Publication coincides with the 50th anniversary of Geoffrey Hartman's first published book

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The Culture of Vision
Life and Learning
The Interpretation of Poetry
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Informacje o autorze (2004)

Geoffrey H. Hartman was born in Frankfurt, Germany on August 11, 1929. In 1939, he was among the Jewish children evacuated from Nazi Germany as part of a Kindertransport. He spent the war years in England. After the war, he joined his mother in New York. He received a bachelor's degree in comparative literature from Queens College in 1949 and a Ph.D. in comparative literature from Yale University in 1953. He taught English and comparative literature at the University of Iowa, Cornell University, and Yale University. He was a literary critic whose work took in the Romantic poets, Judaic sacred texts, Holocaust studies, deconstruction and the workings of memory. He wrote numerous books during his lifetime including Wordsworth's Poetry, 1787-1814; Criticism in the Wilderness: The Study of Literature Today; Saving the Text: Literature, Derrida, Philosophy; Minor Prophecies: The Literary Essay in the Culture Wars; The Longest Shadow: In the Aftermath of the Holocaust; Scars of the Spirit: The Struggle Against Inauthenticity; and A Scholar's Tale: Intellectual Journey of a Displaced Child of Europe. He received the Truman Capote Award for Literary Criticism in 2006 for The Geoffrey Hartman Reader. He died on March 14, 2016 at the age of 86.

Daniel T. O'Hara is the first Mellon Term Professor in the College of Liberal Arts and Professor of English at Temple University. He is the author and editor of seven books in critical theory and modern literatue, including the latest, Empire Burlesque: The Fate of Critical Culture in Global America(Duke, 2003).

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