Essays from the Edge
Parerga and Paralipomena
Publication Year: 2011
Published by: University of Virginia Press
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No body of work, however self-contained it may appear, is really closed off from the world around it. No author is isolated from the influences of those he or she encounters in that world. No edge of a text is really an impermeable frontier protecting the integrity of what is allegedly “inside” its boundaries. ...
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In 1851, the German philosopher Arthur Schopenhauer gathered together two volumes of his scattered essays, aphorisms, dialogues, and random thoughts and published them under the recherch
Taking on the Stigma of Inauthenticity: Adorno’s Critique of Genuineness
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“The search for authenticity, nearly everywhere we find it in modern times,” writes Marshall Berman in his book on Rousseau, The Politics of Authenticity, “is bound up with a radical rejection of things as they are . . . the desire for authenticity has emerged in modern society as one of the most politically explosive ...
Is Experience Still in Crisis? Reflections on a Frankfurt School Lament
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Let me begin with two quotations: (1) “The identity of experience in the form of a life that is articulated and possesses internal continuity—and that life was the only thing that made the narrator’s stance possible—has disintegrated. One need only note how impossible it would be for someone who participated ...
Mourning a Metaphor: The Revolution is Over
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”Revolution,” it should be recalled, began its extraordinary career as a metaphor borrowed from astronomy, which had only recently revised its understanding of what in the heavens really revolved around what.1 In medieval Latin, revolutio meant a return or rolling back, often implying a cyclical revolving in time. ...
Cultural Relativism and the Visual Turn
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On April 30, 1988, the Dia Art Foundation in New York hosted a well-attended conference on the theme of vision and visuality. It brought together a number of scholars working on the then nascent field of visual culture: Hal Foster, Jonathan Crary, Rosalind Krauss, Norman Bryson, Jacqueline Rose, and this author. ...
Scopic Regimes of Modernity Revisited
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“What are scopic regimes?” recently asked a curious, unnamed Internet questioner on Photherel, an official European e-learning website dedicated to the “conservation and dissemination of photographic heritage.”1 Although noting that the now widely adopted term was first coined by the French film theorist ...
No State of Grace: Violence in the Garden
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In 1975, my wife and I made what in retrospect was our second wisest decision—second only, that is, to our getting married a year earlier—which was to buy property in the San Francisco Bay Area. Along with the house came with what in Berkeley was a reasonably sized garden, which had several generations of ...
Visual Parrhesia? Foucault and the Truth of the Gaze
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Cézanne’s famous assertion in a letter to a friend in 1905, “I owe you the truth in painting and I will tell it to you,” was first brought into prominence by the French art historian Hubert Damisch in his 1978 Huit thèses pour (ou contre?) une sémiologie de la peinture and then made into the occasion for a widely discussed ...
The Kremlin of Modernism
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At odd intervals in the main galleries of the renovated Museum of Modern Art, there are textual supplements to paintings, rarely more than a paragraph, providing snippets of information about the artist, the context of the work’s production, or the place it holds in the narrative of modern art. What makes these ...
Phenomenology and Lived Experience
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In the struggle to define itself in opposition to its predecessor, the generation in France that fashioned itself as postphenomenological took special pleasure in deriding the concept of “lived experience.” Jacques Derrida, to take a salient example, charged in Of Grammatology that experience is an “unwieldy” concept ...
Aesthetic Experience and Historical Experience: A Twenty-First-Century Constellation
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Ever since Homer—or the gaggle of bards who have come down to us under that name—sat down to commemorate in epic poetry the Greek siege of Troy, artists have been inspired to find in historical events the stuff of literature. Indeed, until Heinrich Schliemann’s excavations in Asia Minor in the 1870s, ...
Still Waiting to Hear from Derrida
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The death of Jacques Derrida in October 2004, at the age of seventy-four, should not be seen as the end of an epoch, the demise of an intellectual movement, or even the final act in the life of the man with that proper name. For if Derrida left any legacy at all, it was a radical suspicion about closure and completion, ...
Pseudology: Derrida on Arendt and Lying in Politics
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In 1993, Jacques Derrida was invited to participate in a lecture series at the New School dedicated to the memory of Hannah Arendt, who was closely associated with the school during much of her American exile. Although both can in some sense be called Heidegger’s children (if perhaps by different intellectual ...
The Menace of Consilience: Keeping the Disciplines Unreconciled
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Over the years, I have been given many opportunities to present my research to audiences across the waters in a number of different institutional settings. Invariably, two responses have been forthcoming—in addition, that is, to whatever howls of disbelief greeted the arguments of the talks themselves. First, someone ...
Can There Be National Philosophies in aTransnational World?
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In June of 2000, the Times Literary Supplement published an anguished commentary by the Polish philosopher Adam J. Chmielewski entitled “Looking Westward: The Submissiveness of Polish Philosophy.”1 Reflecting on the demise of Marxism as a universalist lingua franca for Polish intellectuals, indeed for all of ...
1990: Straddling a Watershed?
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Of all the phenomena that register the distance between history as lived experience and history as written record, nothing is more emphatic than the concept of a historical period. When we live through the happenings that constitute our lives, we are never able to know for sure if we inhabit a meaningful epoch of ...
Allons enfants de l’humanité: The French and Human Rights
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There can be fewer more appalling signs of our increasingly appalling times than the imprisonment without legal redress or terminal sentence of six hundred or so “enemy combatants” in the Guantánamo Bay prison run by the American government. Outside the legal jurisdiction of any country, not even that of the ...
Intellectual Family Values: William Phillips, Hannah Arendt, and the Partisan Review
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With the death on September 12, 2002, of William Phillips and the subsequent suspension of the Partisan Review, the publication he had edited since its founding in 1934, an era in American intellectual life, it has widely been acknowledged, came to a close. The quintessential engaged “little magazine,” whose circulation ...
Still Sleeping Rough: Colin Wilson’s The Outsider at Fifty
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The fiftieth anniversary of one of the most—albeit ephemerally—acclaimed books of the twentieth century, Colin Wilson’s The Outsider, came and went without much notice or fanfare, at least in the United States. In Britain, where it had stirred a generation and gave its twenty-five-year-old author instant celebrity, ...
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Page Count: 280
Illustrations: 1 b&w illus
Publication Year: 2011