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Weird Realism: Lovecraft and Philosophy Paperback – 28 Sep 2012


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Product details

  • Paperback: 277 pages
  • Publisher: Zero Books (28 Sep 2012)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1780992521
  • ISBN-13: 978-1780992525
  • Product Dimensions: 13.8 x 1.6 x 21.7 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 3.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 224,129 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Product Description

About the Author

Graham Harman is Associate Provost for Research Administration and Professor of Philosophy at the American University in Cairo, Egypt. He was born in Iowa in 1968. He received his undergraduate degree from the classical liberal arts program at St. John's College, Annapolis (1990). His Master's Degree was done at Penn State (1991) under the renowned philosopher Alphonso Lingis, and focused on Levinas. He completed his Ph.D. at DePaul University in Chicago (1999), with a dissertation that became his first book. While finishing his doctoral studies, he worked as a Chicago sportswriter from 1996-98. In September 2000 he began work in the Department of Philosophy at the American University in Cairo. Egypt has become his base for travel to more than 60 countries and the composition of ten books in less than a decade. He is a vegetarian for ethical reasons.

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By C. Esson on 11 Jun 2014
Format: Paperback
This is not a work on Lovecraft and philosophy. Nor is it, as one Amazon.com reviewer has it, "a philosopher really thinking with a literary work". If you're familiar with Harman's work, you'll know what you're getting. If not, be aware that what is here presented as philosophy is not uncontroversial in its assertions.

In section one Harman sketches some philosophical background, and "sketch" is being charitable. His division of philosophers into those who produce or destroy gaps is ersatz and done without any supporting argument. I am also inclined to think that if you can dismiss a philosophical tradition in one sentence, you haven't done them justice and they shouldn't be in your book.

Section two, where Harman takes sections from Lovecraft, contains much enjoyable and thought-provoking literary criticism. However, the sections are organised chronologically, rather than by theme, and the repetition of technique and argument becomes predictable.

Section three aims to tie the exposition of Lovecraft's rhetorical devices together with Harman's object-oriented philosophy. If that's what you're interested in, I'd suggest Harman's other works. Lovecraft doesn't really get a look in here, and when he is discussed it comes as no surprise that Harman thinks him "a writer tailor-made for object-oriented philosophy".

The best bits of this work are Harman's thoughts on rhetoric, riffing on Aristotle and Edmund Wilson.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)

Amazon.com: 3 reviews
10 of 10 people found the following review helpful
The Unnameable 13 Mar 2013
By Garrett Cook - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback
I intend to expound on the merits of this text elsewhere at greater length, but I shall say right now that Harman has done a great job examining the aesthetics of our favorite misanthropic pulpsmith. Harman does not examine the philosophical implications of Lovecraft's work but of his language and how he uses language, an examination that takes us to the core of what good writing can and cannot do and what the weird should actually be used for in fiction. The word Weird does not just mean strange, but the unknowable, as in the blank Viking rune Wyrd or The Weird Sisters of Shakespeare's Macbeth. How does an author make known the unknowable? Why is it important for us to do so? Read on and find out much more. There's a lot to gain from this book.
15 of 18 people found the following review helpful
A philosopher thinks with a literary work 24 Nov 2012
By Juan Duchesne-Winter - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
I give five stars to this book because it is an instance of a philosopher really thinking with a literary work instead of applying his philosophical system on it as some kind of testing instrument of truth, or using the work to illustrate a point or two about his system. Philosophy and Literature converge here on a tangential, but fruitfull encounter.
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
A great book 27 July 2013
By P K - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
The combination of philosophy and literary criticism is very interesting and original. I thought I knew a lot about Lovecraft, but this opened new ways of reading.
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