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If Not Higher

Lectures on the Poetics of Spiritual Presence and Absence

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Bruce Ross

This collection of lectures considers the postmodern «hermeneutics of exile» that disrupts our humanity and estranges us from nature. There needs to be a redefinition of our relation to things and of subjectivity itself through new or recovered spiritual and phenomenological ontologies such as evidenced in Kabbalah and Zen Buddhism. Overtures to this end are explored in contemporary American nature poetry, American Transcendentalism and its deconstruction, Russian émigré literature and the art of nostalgia, Kabbalistic poetic responses to the Holocaust, Hasidic metaphysics and its artistic expressions, and Zen Buddhist poetics of presence in Japanese and American haiku and haibun.