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Enigmas of Identity
Peter Brooks

Book Description | Table of Contents
Introduction: To Begin [PDF only]


"An extremely provocative exploration of the myriad complexities of the act of investigating identity, both as a conceptual category and as a lived and perceived phenomenon. I found especially useful Brooks's emphasis on a crucial paradox: one identity does the investigating while the other is investigated, and yet both are ostensibly part of the same entity."--David Shields, author of Reality Hunger: A Manifesto

"Peter Brooks's Enigmas of Identity is a tour de force of dazzling erudition and insight drawing on his encyclopedic knowledge of Western literature and cultural history. It is so gripping that one would like to read it in one sitting, but soon realizes that it demands thoughtful study and reflection."--Louis Begley, author of Why the Dreyfus Affair Matters

"Focusing on unexpected aspects of a familiar subject (masturbation, imposture), considering a wide range of modern texts in several languages (Balzac, Freud, Sherlock Holmes, some fascinating law cases), and writing in supple prose, Peter Brooks has crafted in Enigmas of Identity a provocative and always engaging study of the importance and the meanings of identity for literary accomplishment."--Patricia Meyer Spacks, Edgar F. Shannon Professor of English Emerita, University of Virginia

"Peter Brooks has written a splendid meditation on the search for the self: erudite, illuminating, and eloquent. He shows how this search leads to an obsessive focus on markers of identity and stories of imposture. Rousseau, Balzac, Stendhal, Proust, and Freud are central interlocutors, but Brooks makes reference to a wide range of other texts, and deftly weaves developments in U.S. law into his discussion."--Martha C. Nussbaum, author of Not for Profit: Why Democracy Needs the Humanities

"Enigmas of Identity is an inviting guided tour through the literary and legal contours of the 'identity paradigm' of modernity. Peter Brooks takes new directions on a topic that will interest literary and legal scholars as well as psychologists and philosophers. Moving skillfully from legal decisions to literary texts, he offers many interpretive gems along the way."--Eric Slauter, University of Chicago

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File created: 4/22/2014

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