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The Critical Speaking Series Presents: Jennifer Fleissner (Seminar)

November 15, 2019 @ 3:30 pm - 5:00 pm

“Post Rational Personhood in Contemporary Criticism and its Turn-of-the-Century Precursors”
When: November 15th, 2019 3:30 PM
Where: Donovan Lounge, Greenlaw Hall

(Optional) Reading // Chapter Abstract:

For much of the nineteenth century in the U.S. and Britain, the will was conceived through a religious lens as an unruly faculty requiring taming by reason. In the 1880s and ’90s, this began to change: newly understood as an embodied power, will was celebrated and its insufficiency deemed a pathological condition. This chapter both explores this shift within the literature and culture of the period, and also argues for its surprising congruence with the stance of contemporary critical writings on biopolitics and neoliberalism by Foucault and others. It then suggests that, despite these writings’ roots in Nietzsche’s ideas, his thought actually represents an alternative and vital resource for thinking about the enduring complexity of the idea of will.

With a focus on: pp. 1-21, 29-58, and 79-86.


Professor Fleissner is a scholar of 19th and 20th-century American literature with a special interest in the turn of the 20th-century and the rise of American modernity. She is a professor of English at Indiana University, Bloomington.


November 15, 2019
3:30 pm - 5:00 pm