In Quest of Nothing
Selected Essays, 1998-2008
by Ihab Hassan
Edited by Klaus Stierstorfer
In these new essays Ihab Hassan, a leading international critic of literature and contemporary culture, probes urgent themes of our clime: truth, trust, the imminence of spirit in everyday life. The path of his explorations runs through many worldly concerns: autobiography, travel, the prevalence of media, the plight of the American Dream, the anguished cry of identity in diasporic times. But the path also leads beyond these concerns, toward visions of the verge.
Hassan writes in his introduction: "These are late essays, when age, baffled by itself and the years, aspires to a second innocence-seeks nothing though still driven by importunate youth." In Quest of Nothing thus comes as a mature statement of self-dispossession, honoring commitment above partisanship, invoking disprized "negative capability," a kenotic ideal.