Skip to content. | Skip to navigation

Personal tools

Navigation

Arrow of Chaos

Romanticism and Postmodernity

1996
Author:

Ira Livingston

Arrow of Chaos

Traces the relationship between the texts and obsessions of the Romantic and postmodern periods.

By modeling ways to think through chaos and through the mutual deformations of Romanticism and postmodernity, Arrow of Chaos contributes to alternative alignments of knowledge across time and technique.

Arrow of Chaos ain’t easy. But it is fun.

Henry Street

Arrow of Chaos navigates through postmodern coordinates such as chaos theory and fractals as well as literary and cultural theory, mapping the ongoing mutations of Romanticism in postmodern culture and the inklings of the postmodern already at work in Romanticism. The result is a “chaology of knowledge,” a study of the logic of chaos.

Ira Livingston’s reading of Romantic and postmodern texts-from poetic, political and scientific works to films and dreams-reveal surprising code shiftings within and among them. The resilience of Romanticism, Livingston argues, lies not in enforcing a single “master narrative” but in orchestrating these fluxes.

Using theory and critical readings alongside a series of illustrative vignettes, Livingston portrays cultural history as a dynamic entity conserved by the continually renewed demands of order and disorder. By modeling ways to think through chaos and through the mutual deformations of Romanticism and postmodernity, Arrow of Chaos contributes to alternative alignments of knowledge across time and technique.

Arrow of Chaos

Ira Livingston is assistant professor of English at the State University of New York at Stony Brook.

Arrow of Chaos

Arrow of Chaos ain’t easy. But it is fun.

Henry Street

It’s exhilarating to follow the twists and turns of Ira Livingston’s argument. Moving fluidly between the early 19th century and the late 20th, between art and technology, and between theory and practice, Livingston traces the fractal patterns of power and desire that have increasingly come to define our postmodern culture.

Steven Shaviro, University of Washington

Ira Livingston’s Arrow of Chaos is a brilliant, erudite, challenging work. Few people are at home in Deleuze, chaos theory, and English Romantic poetry. The firm boundaries that have tended to persist between these fields have contradicted the very deepest insights of those fields-that fields themselves are unbounded and unstable, that all boundaries are fractal and permeable and subject to the laws of entropy. Livingston’s exhilarating and moving book will illuminate every surface he treats, with a decentered luminosity such as constellations give off.

William Flesch, Brandeis University