Ihab Hassan is an intellectual pioneer in his explorations of literary theory and cultural phenomena in the light of postmodernism. Over a long and productive career, he has combined an imaginative openess to the new with a refreshing refusal to bow before academic fashion.
These incisive, entertaining essays present Ihab Hassans reflections on the state of literature and humanistic studies. As well as a new Foreword, this second edition includes a provocative essay, Queries for Post-Colonial Studies, in which he casts a skeptical eye on the moralizing ideology of postcolonial scholarship.
Ihab Hassan has been one of our earliest and most effective chroniclers of postmodernism: this volume traces an exciting development in an important literary spokesman. - Murray Krieger
Ihab Hassans essays, each one of them a critical tour de force in itself, offer some of the best lore on literary Postmodernism there is to be found. - Malcolm Bradbury
Born in Cairo, Ihab Hassan trained to become an engineer. After graduating from the University of Cairo, he went to the United States to further his study of electrical engineering, but after gaining his MS at the University of Pennsylvania, he studied literature, receiving a PhD in English in 1953. Since 1970 he has been the Vilas Research Professor of English and Comparative Literature at the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee. He has held visiting professorships in Sweden, Japan, Germany, France, and Austria - as well as at Yale, Trinity College, and the University of Washington - and has won numerous awards and fellowships, including Guggenheim Foundation fellowships; Senior Fulbright lectureships; National Endowment for the Humanities grants; research appointments in France, England, Italy, Japan, Australia, and Ireland; and teaching awards. He was awarded honorary degrees by the University of Uppsala (1996) and the University of Giessen (1999). He is the author of some fifteen books and 200 articles. Among his critical works are Radical Innocence: Studies in the Contemporary American Novel (1961), The Literature of Silence: Henry Miller and Samuel Beckett (1967), The Dismemberment of Orpheus: Toward a Postmodern Literature (1971), Paracriticisms: Seven Speculations of the Times (1975), and The Right Promethean Fire: Imagination, Science, and Cultural Change (1980). In more recent years, Hassan’s work has moved toward autobiography and travel writing: Out of Egypt: Fragments of an Autobiography appeared in 1986, Selves at Risk: Patterns of Quest in Contemporary American Letters in 1990, and Between the Eagle and the Sun: Traces of Japan in 1996.
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