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Cultural Artifacts and the Production of Meaning provides new perspectives by leading scholars to make a central contribution to the emerging body of materialist criticism. Each of the essays is concerned with the significance of the material object, be it the written object of the book, an image in its physical manifestations, or the body itself as producer and product of performance. The essays embrace psychoanalytic, feminist, Marxist, and historicist criticisms and address subjects as diverse as Renaissance cartography, performance art, slave narrative, and rap music.
The book explores the implications of reproduction in manuscript and print cultures, the changing dynamics of print and authorship in the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries, the visual art of postmodern books, the psychotechnology of memory in modern fiction, and "body art" as the concrete expression of the visceral realism of tragedy. Contributors to the volume include Houston Baker, Herbert Blau, Morris Eaves, Hamlin Hill, Jeanne Holland, J. Paul Hunter, Howard Marchitello, Jerome McGann, and W. J. T. Mitchell.
"Groundbreaking in the strongest sense, not merely raising new issues, but opening territory that will attract interest across a wide range of specialties within literary study, cultural studies, and history." --T. Walter Herbert, Southwestern University
"Immensely interesting . . . should find its place among key critical texts for the humanities." --Hortense J. Spillers, Emory University
Margaret J. M. Ezell is Professor of English, Texas A&M University.
Katherine O'Brien O'Keeffe is Professor of English, University of Notre Dame.