Anna Kornbluh - "The Order of Forms" - Sianne Ngai

Monday, February 3, 2020 - 6:00pm - 7:00pm
Event Presenter/Author: 
Anna Kornbluh

Join us for a discussion with Anna Kornbluh, author of The Order of Forms. She will be joined in conversation by Sianne Ngai. A Q&A and signing will follow the discussion.

At the Co-op

RSVP HERE (Please note that your RSVP is requested but not required.)

About the Book: Literary studies today is much preoccupied with questions of form, especially how form can answer to the discipline’s long-dominant concern for the specificities of social and historical context. The Order of Forms contributes to this conversation by offering a category called “political formalism.”

Kornbluh takes up the case of literary realism, showing how novels by Dickens, Brontë, Hardy, and Carroll engage mathematical formalism as part of their political imagining. Realism, she shows, is best understood as an exercise in social modeling—more like formalist mathematics than social documentation. By modeling society, the realist novel focuses on what it considers the most elementary features of social relations and generates unique political insights. Proposing both this new theory of realism and the idea of political formalism, this inspired, eye-opening book will have far-reaching implications in literary studies.

About the Author: Anna Kornbluh is associate professor of English at the University of Illinois at Chicago. She is the author of Realizing Capital: Financial and Psychic Economies in Victorian Realist Form and Marxist Film Theory and Fight Club. She is the founder of InterCcECT (The Inter Chicago Circle for Experimental Critical Theory) and the co-founding facilitator of The V21 Collective (Victorian studies for the 21st century).

About the interlocutor: Sianne Ngai is a Professor in the Department of English Language and Literature at The University of Chicago.

Her first book, Ugly Feelings, investigates the aesthetics and politics of non-prestigious, non-cathartic negative emotions—envy and irritation as opposed to anger and fear. Sianne's second book, Our Aesthetic Categories: Zany, Cute, Interesting argues for the contemporary centrality of three everyday, vernacular aesthetic categories, treating them with the same philosophical seriousness as others have treated the beautiful and sublime.

Event Location: 
Seminary Co-op Bookstore
5751 S. Woodlawn Ave.
Chicago, IL 60637