Essays in Austro-Libertarian Literary and Media Criticism – A Volume in Memory of Paul A. Cantor (CFP)
The groundbreaking research of the late Paul A. Cantor (1945-2022), Clifton Waller Barrett Professor of English at the University of Virginia, ranged from canonical English authors the likes of Shakespeare and Shelley to popular American television series such as Gilligan’s Island and South Park. His scholarship was so prolific and all-embracing that it led some to question whether the same person could have authored such a breadth of work. “Yes,” replies Peter Hufnagel, creator of the website prof.Cantor, “the Paul A. Cantor who writes about Averroism in Dante’s Divine Comedy is the same Paul A. Cantor who writes about Walter White as a tragic hero in Breaking Bad.”
Yet it is not simply the scope and copiousness of Cantor’s scholarly output to which the proposed volume intends to pay tribute, but also, and especially, to his pioneering interdisciplinary method which turned to the Austrian School of economics and libertarian philosophy in the interpretation of literature and media. As Alberto Mingardi has recently commented, “Such an interest in Austrian economics brought him to be that rare thing: an intellectual in the humanities—even more, a literary critic—who had some sympathy for capitalism. At one level, this sympathy emerged in the very fact that he was not a snob: together with his Shakespeare studies, he cultivated an interest in popular culture that he understood as a living thing, and sometimes a beautiful thing too” (“Paul Cantor RIP”).
When I was corresponding with Paul about a volume I planned to co-edit with Carlo Lottieri, eventually titled Speaking Truth to Power from Medieval to Modern Italy, he reflected on the difficulties he had faced when trying to track down lib
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