Review of Remapping Reality

From Paul Bishop, University of Glasgow, in Modern Language Review, Vol. 102.2 (2007): 590-91
“Within the scope of a short review, it is hard to do justice to the vivacity and effervescence of McCarthy’s study. At the end the reader will be exhausted, exhilarated, and—especially if she is a Goethe, Nietzsche, or Grass specialist—sorely provoked. The net is cast broadly—‘too broadly, some readers will undoubtedly conclude’—yet McCarthy, citing Emerson’s ‘Circles’ and Goethe’s Farbenlehre, insists his own work is ‘all about horizons, about perceiving what presents itself on those horizons, and about the inevitable intrusion of the perceiving eye into the reality being explored’ (p.324). Books are, according to Lessing, fermenta cognitionis, ‘mental energy spewed out and setting other minds on fire’ (p.258). Readers should take appropriate precautions when reading this book, for they might just find their enthusiasm set alight.” 

From Heather I. Sullivan in Monatshefte, Vol. 99, No. 2 (2007): 228-30:
“In this bold and truly interdisciplinary book, John A. McCarthy ‘remaps reality’ with his compelling reading of the underlying patterns in Goethe, Nietzsche, and Grass through the lens of chaos theory.”

“McCarthy produces here a masterful text that guides the reader through three stages: (1) a scintillating introduction to chaos theory and particle physics; (2) a layout of the complex systems creating weather, coastlines, and material functioning of human consciousness […]; and (3) an in-depth exploration of how Goethe, Nietzsche, and Grass each evoke in different ways aspects of the ‘deep structure’ of the universe described in chaos theory.”

“McCarthy brings us herewith [interpretation of Faust] an exciting reading of this so thoroughly excavated text, a reading that insists on the interwoven aspects of that which cannot be rent asunder in Goethe: the scientific, poetic, and metaphysical.”

“McCarthy’s book is an ingenious tour de force for anyone interested in science and literature, Goethe, Nietzsche, Grass, or contemporary theories of text and mind.”

For Media

Contact the Vanderbilt News Service to interview John McCarthy and other Vanderbilt authors. We have an on-campus television studio with a satellite uplink available for live or live-to-tape interviews 24 hours a day, seven days a week, and an ISDN line for radio interviews.

Vanderbilt News Service
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Suite 802
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