Mysteries of Attention

By James S. Hans

Subjects: Literary Theory
Paperback : 9780791413920, 292 pages, July 1993
Hardcover : 9780791413913, 292 pages, July 1993

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Table of contents

Introduction. Principles of Selection

Chapter One. Modes of Attention

Chapter Two. Forms of Attention

Chapter Three. The Measure of Attention

Chapter Four. The Motifs of Attention

Conclusion. The Radiance of Attention



The Mysteries of Attention explores the principles of selection through which the nature of human attention is established and delineates the modes, forms, measures, and motifs of attention. It is a literary/philosophical discussion of the ways in which our sense of the world is determined by the mechanisms of attention that always remain beyond our comprehension.

James S. Hans is Professor of English at Wake Forest University. His previous books include The Value(s) of Literature, The Fate of Desire, The Origins of the Gods, and Contextual Authority and Aesthetic Truth, all published by SUNY Press; and The Play of the World, Imitation and the Image of Man, and The Question of Value: Thinking Through Nietzsche, Heidegger and Freud.


"The Mysteries of Attention casts a complex argument in very readable terms. Its effort to situate literature in the midst of basic human concerns provides a very attractive alternative to several disabling contemporary habits of critical thought."— Michael Anania, author of In Plain Sight: Obsessions, Morals and Domestic Laughter

"This book is Hans at his best. His work is evolving into a coherent oeuvre, even an ars poetica, in which each new book contributes an increasing coherence and depth to the whole." — Frederick Turner, author of Beauty: The Value of Values