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The Mysteries of the Heights
Publication Date: September 2014
Price: £29.99
Extent: 250 pp (tbc)
Format: Demy Hardback
Subject: Literary Criticism
Haidar Eid

‘Critically nuanced and theoretically grounded, Eid’s marshaling of major intellectual figures and their seminal contributions to the narrative of contemporary thought exemplified in the novel is indeed itself an essay in the provocative renewal of the poltico-cultural imperatives of historical materialism.’ Barbara Harlow, University of Texas at Austin, Author of Resistance Literature

‘Eid’s study ventures well beyond the ambit of standard forms of literary criticism . . . this monograph is unusual in the context of the field of literary criticism.  Indeed, it is written with passionate conviction, and thus constitutes a welcome departure from the blandness that has unfortunately come to characterise much of the literary-critical enterprise over the last twenty years.’ Mike Marrais, Rhodes University, Author of Secretary of the Invisible: The Idea of Hospitality in the Fiction of J. M. Coetzee

‘A liberating and brilliant insight that places (post)modernism within its appropriate dialectical context of ‘progress’ and ‘catastrophe’ and offers a positive outlook for the possibility of restructuring and reconstituting human agency.’ Samah Sabawi, Palestinian author, playwright and commentator, Author of Tales of a City by the Sea

This engaging study by Haidar Eid argues for a reconstruction of a critical theory that retains an anti-authoritarian totality against the logic of post-al theories. It attempts to reconstruct a notion of totality that has systematic and comprehensive aims. Moreover, the critical theory it calls for is informed by theories of rationality, reason, and knowledge without falling into essentialism and apriori epistemology. It therefore maintains that the ideological irresponsibility of some post-al theories in ignoring broad social and political phenomena is necessarily a reflection of the penetration of global capital in almost all fields of life and the disintegration of the liberal public sphere. However, what this research ultimately aims to achieve is a dialectical critical theory that combines (post)modern and traditional micro-and macro analysis.

In its dialectical movement from theory to practice, through a historical materialist approach, the study explores the modernity and (post)modernity of James Joyce’s novel A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man and Don DeLillo’s White Noise in relation to the political economy of the world(s) that has produced them. It investigates how the two texts—being modern and (post)modern —demonstrate, through their reflection of (on) capitalism as a macrophenomenon, a utopian vision of alternative world(s). This is achieved through a socio-historical consciousness that amounts to a criticism of the organizations and the Ideological State Apparati of monopoly and late capitalist societies.

Haidar Eid is an acclaimed critic and Associate Professor of Postcolonial and Postmodern Literature at Gaza’s al-Aqsa University in Palestine. He has published widely on Cultural Studies and literature. He has also written widely on the Arab-Israeli conflict.

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