Vol 8 (2015)

What is a Thing

This issue co-edited by Nicholas Reynolds and Jeffrey S. Librett.

As the modern world has seemed an increasingly material one, and so increasingly thingly, the very reality of things has often--and from many different perspectives--seemed to elude us. Questions about what things are, and how they mean, questions about how things are to be circumscribed (for example) in epistemological, ethical, aesthetic, and political terms, have arguably become--across the course of modernity (and beyond)--both increasingly pressing and increasingly vexed. -- In this extremely broad context, the contributions to the current Special Issue examine specific approaches to things from the later nineteenth century to today within the literary, philosophical, and psychoanalytic discourses. The foci range from the descriptive representationalism of nineteenth century German poetic realism to the monumentalization of everyday objects in postcolonial fiction; from the poetics of the Dinggedicht in Rilkean modernism to the Anglo-American imagist doctrine of "no ideas but in things" and the disruptions of this doctrine in contemporary German and American poetry; from Husserl's call "to the things themselves" to the Derridian displacements of the Heideggerian "thing" and on to the most recent developments in "object-oriented metaphysics"; from the Freudian notion of the unconscious as comprising "representations-of-things" to the Lacanian rereading of the lost object as das Ding.

Table of Contents


Nicholas Reynolds, Jeffrey S Librett


Jonathan Monroe
Rochelle Tobias
David Appelbaum
Erica Weitzman
Tracy McNulty
Daniel Wilson
Eva Hoffmann