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On Being Human: Critical looks at books and…

On Being Human: Critical looks at books and movies that examine the… (2013)

by Karl Wolff

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Just what does it mean to be human? Various artists from over the centuries have tackled this all-consuming question in a variety of ways; and now Karl Wolff, cultural essayist for the Chicago Center for Literature and Photography, presents a brand-new examination of fifteen such projects, ranging from the undeniably highbrow (Samuel Beckett's "Trilogy") to the decidedly lowbrow (the "Warhammer 40,000" roleplaying game), and every shade of complexity in between. Originally published monthly at the CCLaP blog in 2012, these intelligent, probing looks at such varied creative endeavors as the sci-fi television show "Battlestar Galactica," the Victorian erotic classic "Venus in Furs," and the noir pulp "The Killer Inside Me" present a layered, fascinating overview of how artists have viewed the subject of humanity over the years; and with three brand-new essays exclusive to this book version, there's a good reason to pick this up even if you're already a regular fan of Wolff's wry, articulate online writing. Whether it's a comic book like "Hellboy" or a Postmodernist literary master like Anthony Burgess, Wolff's shakeup of popular culture in "On Being Human" is sure to get your brain working in new ways, and to get you introduced to at least a handful of projects you've never heard of before.
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