The lectures collected for this book focus on transpersonal expression - heightened states of feeling, emotion, and deeper regions of the psyche, from the Paleolithic (so-called rock art), to the medieval (Solomon Ibn Gabirol), to the modern (Rilke), and postmodern (Haruki Murakami). This study suggests the psyche is hard wired for spiritual experience, for aesthetic and ethical expression, and that transpersonal expression in literature and the arts is a universal human exploration of perhaps a fundamental ground of being. The focus of the chapters provide evidence for these suggestions: mysticism in Gabirol, Rumi, and Rilke; reckoning with suffering in Murakami's postmodern fables; spiritual failure and grace in the triptychs of Bosch, Beckman, and Bacon; epiphany in Basho, Suthorn Pho, and contemporary world travel haibun; altered states in Romantic ballet; metaphysical space in Ra'anan Levy's painting; epiphany and social communion in Paul Theroux's travel writing; sustaining the world in modern Aboriginal art; the nature of "big mind" consciousness as internal space; visitation to the heavens in world petroglyphs and pictographs; "absolute metaphor" in traditional American haiku; and spiritual spaciousness as a key element in haiku.
Bruce Ross received his PhD in English from the University of Buffalo, New York. He is the author of The Inheritance of Animal Symbols in Modern Literature and World Culture (Lang, 1988), If Not Higher: Lectures on the Poetics of Spiritual Presence and Absence (Lang, 1999), and Venturing upon Dizzy Heights: Lectures and Essays on Philosophy, Literature, and the Arts (Lang, 2008). He is the editor of Haiku Moment: An Anthology of Contemporary North American Haiku (1993) and Journey to the Interior: American Versions of Haibun (1998). He has written five collections of haiku and haibun and is also the author of How to Haiku: A Writer's Guide to Haiku and Related Forms (2002).