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Book R eviews dialectic of the boundary” (5). The boundaries in question are “those between art and non­ art, or fiction and reality.” He cautions us: “ Every time the border between art and the everyday is wiped away we react by reinstating it.” As if to illustrate the point, he treats us to a magisterial account of Hegel’s Aesthetics, taking as his cue Hegel’s famous declaration of the end of art, and warning that the postmodernist celebration of immediacy, and its proclivity for dissolving distinctions are “ still caught within a totalising thought.” T in a C h a n t e r University o f Memphis Jacques Taminiaux. P o e ti c s , S p e c u l a t i o n , a n d J u d g m e n t. T h e S h a d o w o f t h e W o r k o f A r t f r o m K a n t t o P h e n o m e n o lo g y . Albany: State University of New York, 1993. P p . viii +191. This slim volume by the French philosopher Jacques Taminiaux is an outstanding accomplishment. Compelling in their elegance and precision, these ten highly original essays constitute an incomparable introduction to the problems of aesthetics. This admira­ ble pedagogical dimension—seemingly effortlessly achieved—needs to be stressed, because Taminiaux has attained what philosophy is said to strive for but rarely accomplishes: the unity of accessibility and critical rigor. Even though the sequence of the chapters follows a historical trajectory, framed by an expository opening chapter on Plato and Aristotle and a concluding postscript on MerleauPonty , the book is also and perhaps above all organized around the systematic question of how aesthetics and politics are linked. One privileged site of their nexus since Kant is the well-known topos of the “ end of art,” which received its classical and, to this day, most effective and influential formulation in Hegel’s Lectures on Aesthetics. In an intricate investigation into the status of art for speculation in Hegel, Taminiaux traces the genesis of art and its death in Hegel’s philosophy, where the fate of aesthetics is inextricably bound up with certain ethico-political models. Whereas the early Hegel identified the Greek “ polis” as an artwork, the later Hegel dismisses the Greek polis. Since Hegel’s overcoming of the Greek model entailed an overcoming of (Greek) art, the “ end of art” in the Lectures on Aesthetics is both result and symptom of this shift (which Taminiaux dates from the writings of 1806/7). However, Taminiaux also notes that this shift did not result in the sim­ ple abandonment of art; aesthetics, rather, as and with the end of art, migrated into the speculative logic itself. The realm of aesthetics in Hegel is therefore not exhausted by the thematics of the fine arts, but certain principles—that of production and self-production, in particular—invade other areas of his philosophy and eventually prevail even in absolute spirit itself. The infamous end of art turns out to be a function of the absorption of the aesthetic by the philosophical: art had to die because philosophy turned aesthetic. Taminiaux concludes his analysis of the transformation of the aesthetic problematic in Hegel by critically questioning such vanishing of art into the very function of (Hegelian) philosophy. Obviously, Hegel represents one of the more problematic figures for the phenomenologist Taminiaux, who is, however, at his very best when he encounters strong resistance. Accordingly, the critical question at the end of the chapter “ Speculation and Difference” is not Taminiaux’ last word on Hegel. For in the following chapter Taminiaux offers yet another reading of Hegel, pursuing the effects of the (Kantian) aesthetic attitude, on the one hand, and the (Hegelian) death of art, on the other, as they have held sway over all subsequent art production. Suggesting that the end of art can also be read as art’s liberation from its philosophical duties, Taminiaux argues in effect that art in Hegel can escape the Vol. XXXV, No. 3 91 L ’E spr it C réateur...

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Additional Information

ISSN
1931-0234
Print ISSN
0014-0767
Pages
pp. 91-92
Launched on MUSE
2017-07-05
Open Access
No
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