New and notable: Object Lessons series from Bloomsbury Academic

We're suckers for a well-curated series over here, and so we're thrilled to be stocking titles from Bloomsbury Academic's Object Lessons collection!

Object Lessons is "an essay and book series about the hidden lives of ordinary things, from guessings to hypocrisies, intolerances to jurisdictions." Drawing from recent movements in material culture studies and critical theory, its contributors start from a specific prompt (historical event, technological innovation, archeological discovery, etc.) and develop a lesson or series of lessons on that topic. To begin, we have Glass (John Garrison), Refrigerator (Jonathan Rees), Hotel (Joanna Walsh), Waste (Brian Thill), Silence (John Biguenet), and Phone Booth (Ariana Kelly).

I recently read and loved Joanna Walsh's Vertigo and was pleased to see that she contributed to Object Lessons. Hotel explores some similar territory to Vertigo—leaving an unhappy marriage, being tourist while observing other tourists and tourist spaces. The narrator takes a job as a hotel reviewer and finds herself drifting from one curated space-away-from-home to another. She meditates on the capitalist reshaping of our desires, on the separation between the hotel and the home, and on the work of home-making and the gendered expectations that, uttered or not, surround that work. To heighten the fun, Freud, Dora, Heidegger, and the Marx Brothers all make appearances. Brilliant and absorbing.

In Phone Booth, Ariana Kelly approaches the titular object "as an entity that embodies diverse attitudes about privacy, freedom, power, sanctuary, and communication in its various forms all around the world." She presents us with a series of essays and photographs that constitute an account of the phone booth's erstwhile centrality in literature, film, philosophy, and the everyday—a portrait of the object "on the cusp of obsolescence." Avitall Ronell on Phone Booth: "Ariana Kelly replenishes the work on speculative telephony in an altogether compelling way."

Brian Thill's Waste reminds us that every object, after a certain time has passed, becomes waste. Thill looks at the fate of everything we discard, including space junk and horse corpses, and explores how our waste and how we deal (or don't deal) with it controls us on both a personal and political level. Praise from Jeff Vandermeer, Alexander Chee and Leslie Jamison make this a must-read!

There are many forthcoming titles from the series that we intend to stock as well, including Drone (Adam Rothstein) and Remote Control (Caetlin Benson-Allott). Better get reading!

This page is powered by Blogger. Isn't yours?