A Scream Goes Through the House: What Literature Teaches Us about Life

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Random House Trade Paperbacks, 2004 - Biography & Autobiography - 440 pages
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“For too long we have been encouraged to see culture as an affair of intellect, and reading as a solitary exercise. But the truth is different: literature and art are pathways of feeling, and our encounter with them is social, inscribing us in a larger community.... Through art we discover that we are not alone.”

So writes the esteemed Brown University professor Arnold Weinstein in this brilliant, radical exploration of Western literature. In the tradition of Harold Bloom and Jacques Barzun, Weinstein guides us through great works of art, to reveal how literature constitutes nothing less than a feast for the heart. Our encounter with literature and art can be a unique form of human connection, an entry into the storehouse of feeling.

Writing about works by Sophocles, Shakespeare, Dickens, Charlotte Brontė, Munch, Proust, O’Neill, Burroughs, DeLillo, Tony Kushner, Toni Morrison, and others, Weinstein explores how writers and artists give us a vision of what human life is really all about. Reading is an affair of the heart as well as of the mind, deepening our sense of the fundamental forces and emotions that govern our lives, including fear, pain, illness, loss, depression, death, and love.

Provocative, beautifully written, essential, A Scream Goes Through the House traces the human cry that echoes in literature through the ages, demonstrating how intense feelings are heard and shared. With intellectual insight and emotional acumen, Weinstein reveals how the scream that resounds through the house of literature, history, the body, and the family shows us who we really are and joins us together in a vast and timeless community.


From the Hardcover edition.

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A scream goes through the house: what literature teaches us about life

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Weinstein (Edna & Richard Salomon Distinguished Professor of Comparative Literature, Brown Univ.) here provides a meditative work of literary criticism. In the process of showing that literature ... Read full review

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About the author (2004)

Arnold Weinstein is the Edna and Richard Salomon Distinguished Professor of Comparative Literature at Brown University. He also gives a series of audio and video lectures on world literature for The Teaching Company. He spends his time in Providence, Block Island, Stockholm, and Brittany.


From the Hardcover edition.

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