Figures of Simplicity
Sensation and Thinking in Kleist and Melville
Publication Year: 2011
Published by: State University of New York Press
Title Page, Copyright Page
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Introduction: On Subterranean Connections
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We start here from a hunch, at a venture, so to speak. We start from the impression of a curious connection between Heinrich von Kleist’s and Herman Melville’s texts. It is definitely a curious connection, because at first both writers seem to have very little in common, and it has been scholarly impossible to establish their awareness of each other...
Chapter 1. Aesthetics: Sensation and Thinking Reconsidered
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On March 22, 1801, Heinrich von Kleist wrote a famous letter to his fi ancée Wilhelmine von Zenge, telling her of his shocking encounter with Kantian philosophy: “I recently became familiar with the more recent so-called Kantian philosophy, and I may impart one...
Chapter 2. Sentimentalities
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Coming out of these discontents with Kant, a name that for better or for worse came to stand in for philosophy’s striving for clarity of conceptual thinking, Kleist and Melville devised in their writings an approach to thinking and knowledge that takes the “complex web of life”—its contingencies and obscurities, the preliminarity...
Chapter 3. Affectivity
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Much like Delano, Melville’s Billy Budd never quite knows who he is up against. And yet, he is an entirely different figure. To couple him with Kleist’s Michael Kohlhaas might seem surprising, as Kohlhaas, unlike Billy Budd, is fixed upon his opponent in obdurate pursuit. At first...
Chapter 4. Insistence
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Bartleby, the scrivener, and sweet little K�thchen are the flip side of the affective figures Billy Budd and Michael Kohlhaas, who overshoot their mark by hitting it too well, who respond to the resistances, obstacles, and challenges to understanding by malleably adapting and affectively assessing what is at hand. Bartleby and K�thchen pose the same problem, but upside down, or better, with Kleist, we could...
Chapter 5. Conclusion
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The preceding chapters have pursued a subterranean lineage between the texts of Heinrich von Kleist and Herman Melville. The hypothesis that a remarkable alliance exists between their texts is not only based upon the strikingly similar characters that both writers devised and that we have examined, but it also finds support in the repeated references...
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Page Count: 171
Publication Year: 2011
Series Title: SUNY series, Intersections: Philosophy and Critical Theory
Series Editor Byline: Rodolphe GaschÃ©