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On Baroque Aesthetics
The Aesthetics of Dependency from Kierkegaard to Joyce
Two ways of understanding the aesthetic organization of literary works have come down to us from the late 18th century and dominate discussions of European modernism today: the aesthetics of autonomy, associated with the self-sufficient work of art, and the aesthetics of fragmentation, practiced by the avant-gardes. In this revisionary study, Leonardo Lisi argues that these models rest on assumptions about the nature of truth and existence that cannot be treated as exhaustive of modern experience. Lisi traces an alternative aesthetics of dependency that provides a different formal structure, philosophical foundation, and historical condition for modernist texts. Taking Europe's Scandinavian periphery as his point of departure, Lisi examines how Kierkegaard and Ibsen imagined a response to the changing conditions of modernity different from those at the European core, one that subsequently influenced James, Hofmannsthal, Rilke, and Joyce. Combining close readings with a broader revision of the nature and genealogy of modernism, Marginal Modernity challenges what we understand by modernist aesthetics, their origins, and their implications for how we conceive our relation to the modern world.
In Romantic theories of art and literature, the notion of mimesis—defined as art’s reflection of the external world—became introspective and self-reflexive as poets and artists sought to represent the act of creativity itself. Frederick Burwick seeks to elucidate this Romantic aesthetic, first by offering an understanding of key Romantic mimetic concepts and then by analyzing manifestations of the mimetic process in literary works of the period. Burwick explores the mimetic concepts of "art for art's sake," "Idem et Alter," and "palingenesis of mind as art" by drawing on the theories of Philo of Alexandria, Aristotle, Immanuel Kant, Friedrich Schiller, Friederich Wilhelm Joseph von Schelling, Thomas De Quincey, and Germaine de Staël. Having established the philosophical bases of these key mimetic concepts, Burwick analyzes manifestations of mimesis in the literature of the period, including ekphrasis in the work of Thomas De Quincey, mirrored images in the poems of Samuel Taylor Coleridge and William Wordsworth, and the twice-told tale in the novels of Charles Brockden Brown, E. T. A. Hoffmann, and James Hogg. Although artists of this period have traditionally been dismissed in discussions of mimesis, Burwick demonstrates that mimetic concepts comprised a major component of the Romantic aesthetic.
Psychoanalysis, Photography, Deconstruction
This book grows out of a longstanding fascination with the uncanny status of the mother in literature, philosophy,psychoanalysis, film, and photography. The mother haunts Freud's writings on art and literature, emerges as an obscure stumbling block in his metapsychological accounts of the psyche, and ultimately undermines his patriarchalaccounts of the Oedipal complex as a foundation for human culture. The figure of the mother becomes associated with some of psychoanalysis's most unruly and enigmatic concepts (the uncanny, anxiety, the primal scene, the crypt, and magical thinking). Read in relation to deconstructive approaches to the work of mourning, this book shows how the maternal function challenges traditional psychoanalytic models of the subject, troubles existing systems of representation, and provides a fertile source for nonmimetic, nonlinear conceptions of time and space.The readings in this book examine the uncanny properties of the maternal function in psychoanalysis, technology, and literature in order to show that the event of birth is radically unthinkable and often becomes expressed through uncontrollable repetitions that exceed the bounds of any subject. The maternal body often serves as an unacknowledged reference point for modern media technologies such as photography and the telephone, which attempt to mimic its reproductive properties. To the extent that these technologies aim to usurp the maternal function, they are often deployed as a means of regulating or warding off anxieties that are provoked by the experience of loss that real separation from the mother invariably demands. As the incarnation of our first relation to the strange exile of language, the mother is inherently a literary figure, whose primal presence in literary texts opens us up to theunspeakable relation to our own birth and, in so doing, helps us give birth to new and fantasmatic images of futures that might otherwise have remained unimaginable.
Indeterminacy, Infinity, Irresolvability
The Musically Sublime rewrites musically the history and philosophy of the sublime. Music enables us to reconsider the traditional course of sublime feeling on a track from pain to pleasure. Resisting the notionthat there is a single format for sublime feeling, Wurth shows how, from the mid–eighteenth century onward, sublime feeling is, instead, constantly rearticulated in a complex interaction with musicality.Wurth takes as her point of departure Immanuel Kant’s Critique of Judgment and Jean-François Lyotard’s aesthetic writings of the 1980s and 1990s. Kant framed the sublime narratively as an epic of selftranscendence. By contrast, Lyotard sought to substitute immanence for Kantian transcendence, yet he failed to deconstruct the Kantian epic. The book performs this deconstruction by juxtaposing eighteenth- andnineteenth-century conceptions of the infinite, Sehnsucht, the divided self, and unconscious drives with contemporary readings of instrumental music.
This volume explores the three normative sciences that Peirce distinguished (aesthetics, ethics, and logic) and their relation to phenomenology and metaphysics. The essays approach this topic from a variety of angles, ranging from questions concerning the normativity of logic to an application of Peirce's semiotics to John Coltrane's "A Love Supreme." A recurrent question throughout is whether a moral theory can be grounded in Peirce's work, despite his rather vehement denial that this can be done. Some essays ask whether a dichotomy exists between theoretical and practical ethics. Other essays show that Peirce's philosophy embraces meliorism, examine the role played by self-control, seek to ground communication theory in Peirce's speculative rhetoric, or examine the normative aspect of the notion of truth.
Dreaming, Writing, and Restlessness in Twentieth-Century Literature
I sleep, but my heart wakes,says the Song of Songs. The other nightnames the sleepless night we spend in dreams.From The Interpretation of Dreams to Finnegans Wake, many of the great writing projects of the first half of the twentieth century articulate experiences of waking in the very depths of sleep, where no Ican declare itself present though the heart still beats. After World War II, in the cold light of the closure of the age of dreambooks, Beckett and Blanchot discover with new clarity, and new fatigue, that what wakes when the Isleeps doesn't sleep when the Iwakes.Revisiting Freud's argument that the dream is a form of writing, The Other Night looks at how life becomes literature in this wakefulness. Though we seem to be seeing things in our dreams, we are actually confronted with a kind of writing. This writing is not in our power, and yet it is ours. We are responsible for it in the same strange way that we are responsible for our lives.
Originally written for an exhibition Jean-Luc Nancy curated at the Museum of Fine Arts in Lyon in 2007, this book addresses the medium of drawing in light of the question of form--of form in its formation, as a formative force, as a birth to form. In this sense, drawing opens less toward its achievement, intention, and accomplishment than toward a finality without end and the infinite renewal of ends, toward lines of sense marked by tracings, suspensions, and permanent interruptions. Recalling that drawing and design were once used interchangeably, Nancy notes that "drawing" designates a design that remains without project, plan, or intention. His argument offers a way of rethinking a number of historical terms (sketch, draft, outline, plan, mark, notation), which includes rethinking drawing in its graphic, filmic, choreographic, poetic, melodic, and rhythmic sense. If drawing is not reducible to any form of closure, it never resolves a tension specific to drawing but allows the pleasure of drawing to come into appearance, which is also the pleasure in drawing, the gesture of a desire that remains in excess of all knowledge. Situating drawing in these terms, Nancy engages a number of texts in which Freud addresses the force of desire in the rapport between aesthetic and sexual pleasure, texts that also turn around the same questions concerning form in its formation, form as a formative force. Between the sections of the text, Nancy has placed a series of "sketchbooks" on drawing, composed of a broad range of quotations on art from different writers, artists, or philosophers.
Olivier Messiaen's Breakthrough Toward the Beyond
Present-day music studies conspicuously evade the question of religion in contemporary music. Although many composers address the issue in their work, as yet there have been few attempts to think through the structureof religious music as we hear it.The work of Olivier Messiaen is well known for its inclusion of religious themes and gestures. On the basis of a careful analysis of Messiaen’s work, this book argues for a renewal of our thinking about religious music.Starting from an analysis of his 1960s oratorio La Transfiguration de Notre-Seigneur Jésus-Christ, van Maas arranges a moderated dialogue between Messiaen and the music theology of Hans Urs von Balthasar, thephenomenology of revelation of Jean-Luc Marion, the rethinking of religion and technics in Jacques Derrida and Bernard Stiegler, and the Augustinian ruminations of Søren Kierkegaard and Jean-François Lyotard. Ultimately,this confrontation underscores the challenging yet deeply affirmative nature of Messiaen’s music.