Recesses of the Mind: Aesthetics in the Work of Gu_bergur Bergsson

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McGill-Queen's Press - MQUP, Jan 18, 2012 - Literary Criticism - 320 pages
Recesses of the Mind explores Guðbergur Bergsson's aesthetics of life and literature. Bergsson - like so many writers whose language is not widely spoken or read - is scarcely known outside his homeland, but the psychological depth of his vision reveals the minds of his characters in ways that are reminiscent of novelists such as Hamsun, Faulkner, and Garcia Márquez. Birna Bjarnadóttir constructs a deep and comprehensive argument for Bergsson's significance as a master of narrative. Crossing centuries, oceans, and continents, her contextualization of Bergsson's aesthetics stretches from his native land's literary tradition to the cultural domains of Europe and North and South America. Her investigation of his ideas on beauty, love, and belief, presented as a dialogue between Bergsson and numerous other writers and philosophers - Plotinus, Augustine, Nietzsche, Kierkegaard, Blanchot - is a striking reflection on some of the most important questions of modern times. Recesses of the Mind introduces a profound writer to the international stage. The book's exploration of the cultural periphery is equally significant, suggesting new interpretative strategies for considering cultural contributions from isolated places.
 

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Contents

The Minds Tormented Love
3
2 Fragments from the History of Aesthetics in Iceland
35
3 The Human Image during the Formative Phases of Christianity and in the Era of the Dizzying Void
72
4 Participation in Beauty
92
5 When Paradoxes Are Allowed to Unfold
120
On the Creative Boundaries between Life and Art
153
7 Dialogue with Icelandic Culture and Society
181
Consecration to Reality
220
Appendix 1 Ideas on Beauty
227
Appendix 2 FlateyFreyr
241
Notes
259
Bibliography
273
Index
291
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About the author (2012)

Birna Bjarnadóttir is the chair and acting head of the Department of Icelandic Language and Literature, University of Manitoba.

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