Search results for: origin-of-the-german-trauerspiel

Origin of the German Trauerspiel

Author : Walter Benjamin
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Focusing on the 17th-century play of mourning, Walter Benjamin identifies allegory as the constitutive trope of modernity, bespeaking a haunted, bedeviled world of mutability and eternal transience. In this rigorous elegant translation, history as trauerspiel is the condition as well as subject of modern allegory in its inscription of the abyssal.

The Origin of German Tragic Drama

Author : Walter Benjamin
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Offers a source of literary modernism in the twentieth century.

Sound Figures of Modernity

Author : Jost Hermand
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The rich conceptual and experiential relays between music and philosophy—echoes of what Theodor W. Adorno once called Klangfiguren, or "sound figures"—resonate with heightened intensity during the period of modernity that extends from early German Idealism to the Critical Theory of the Frankfurt School. This volume traces the political, historical, and philosophical trajectories of a specifically German tradition in which thinkers take recourse to music, both as an aesthetic practice and as the object of their speculative work. The contributors examine the texts of such highly influential writers and thinkers as Schelling, Schopenhauer, Nietzsche, Bloch, Mann, Adorno, and Lukács in relation to individual composers including Beethoven, Wagner, Schönberg, and Eisler. Their explorations of the complexities that arise in conceptualizing music as a mode of representation and philosophy as a mode of aesthetic practice thematize the ways in which the fields of music and philosophy are altered when either attempts to express itself in terms defined by the other. Contributors: Albrecht Betz, Lydia Goehr, Beatrice Hanssen, Jost Hermand, David Farrell Krell, Ludger Lütkehaus, Margaret Moore, Rebekah Pryor Paré, Gerhard Richter, Hans Rudolf Vaget, Samuel Weber

Toward a Theory of Radical Origin

Author : John David Pizer
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This provocative book addresses one of the central and most controversial branches of Western thought: the philosophy of origin. In light of recent poststructuralist principles such as alterity, différance, and dissemination, the philosophy of origin seems to exemplify the repressive, reactionary tendencies of much of the Western philosophical tradition. John Pizer aims to overturn this recent antipathy to the philosophy of origin. He ably summarizes poststructuralist critiques of that earlier philosophical tradition, then turns to five German thinkers (Nietzsche, Benjamin, Rosenzweig, Heidegger, and Adorno) who developed philosophies of origin that effectively anticipate and counter poststructuralist attacks. These are thinkers who, in one way or another, influenced recent generations of poststructuralist thinkers. Pizer argues, however, that rather than do away with the notion of origin altogether (as in the works of the most thoroughgoing poststructuralists), these philosophers developed theories in which origin is always “multiple and plurivalent.” In the writings of these seminal German thinkers, “origin” becomes “origins,” and “authentic origins” are “inherently plural and divergent.” A valuable, engrossing account of a wide range of thinkers and their complex relations, Pizer’s book recovers the notion of origin for an intellectual world that has come to value multiplicity, openness, and diversity.

In the Matter of Nat Turner

Author : Christopher Tomlins
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A bold new interpretation of Nat Turner and the slave rebellion that stunned the American South In 1831 Virginia, Nat Turner led a band of Southampton County slaves in a rebellion that killed fifty-five whites, mostly women and children. After more than two months in hiding, Turner was captured, and quickly convicted and executed. In the Matter of Nat Turner penetrates the historical caricature of Turner as befuddled mystic and self-styled Baptist preacher to recover the haunting persona of this legendary American slave rebel, telling of his self-discovery and the dawning of his Christian faith, of an impossible task given to him by God, and of redemptive violence and profane retribution. Much about Turner remains unknown. His extraordinary account of his life and rebellion, given in chains as he awaited trial in jail, was written down by an opportunistic white attorney and sold as a pamphlet to cash in on Turner’s notoriety. But the enigmatic rebel leader had an immediate and broad impact on the American South, and his rebellion remains one of the most momentous episodes in American history. Christopher Tomlins provides a luminous account of Turner's intellectual development, religious cosmology, and motivations, and offers an original and incisive analysis of the Turner Rebellion itself and its impact on Virginia politics. Tomlins also undertakes a deeply critical examination of William Styron’s 1967 novel, The Confessions of Nat Turner, which restored Turner to the American consciousness in the era of civil rights, black power, and urban riots. A speculative history that recovers Turner from the few shards of evidence we have about his life, In the Matter of Nat Turner is also a unique speculation about the meaning and uses of history itself.

Historical Traces and Future Pathways of Poststructuralism

Author : Gavin Rae
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This volume brings together an international array of scholars to reconsider the meaning and place of poststructuralism historically and demonstrate some of the ways in which it continues to be relevant, especially for debates in aesthetics, ethics, and politics. The book’s chapters focus on the works of Butler, Deleuze, Derrida, Foucault, Irigaray, Kristeva, Lacan, and Lyotard—in combination with those of Agamben, Luhman, Nancy, and Nietzsche—and examine issues including biopolitics, culture, embodiment, epistemology, history, music, temporality, political resistance, psychoanalysis, revolt, and the visual arts. The contributors use poststructuralism as a hermeneutical strategy that rejects the traditional affirmation of unity, totality, transparency, and representation to instead focus on the foundational importance of open-ended becoming, difference, the unknowable, and expression. This approach allows for a more expansive definition of poststructuralism and helps demonstrate how it has contributed to debates across philosophy and other disciplines. Historical Traces and Future Pathways of Poststructuralism will be of particular interest to researchers in philosophy, politics, political theory, critical theory, aesthetics, feminist theory, cultural studies, intellectual history, psychoanalysis, and sociology.

Literature and Politics in the Later Foucault

Author : Azucena G. Blanco
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This study proposes a revised interpretation of Foucault’s views on literature. It has been argued that the philosopher’s interest in literature was limited to the 1960s and of a mostly depoliticized nature. However, Foucault’s previously unpublished later works suggest a different reality, showing a sustained interest in literature and its politics. In the light of this new material, the book repositions Foucault's ideas within recent debates on the politics of literature.

The Foundation of the Unconscious

Author : Matt Ffytche
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The unconscious, cornerstone of psychoanalysis, was a key twentieth-century concept and retains an enormous influence on psychological and cultural theory. Yet there is a surprising lack of investigation into its roots in the critical philosophy and Romantic psychology of the early nineteenth century, long before Freud. Why did the unconscious emerge as such a powerful idea? And why at that point? This interdisciplinary study traces the emergence of the unconscious through the work of philosopher Friedrich Schelling, examining his association with Romantic psychologists, anthropologists and theorists of nature. It sets out the beginnings of a neglected tradition of the unconscious psyche and proposes a compelling new argument: that the unconscious develops from the modern need to theorise individual independence. The book assesses the impact of this tradition on psychoanalysis itself, re-reading Freud's The Interpretation of Dreams in the light of broader post-Enlightenment attempts to theorise individuality.

Love s Shadow

Author : Paul A. Bové
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A case for literary critics and other humanists to stop wallowing in their aestheticized helplessness and instead turn to poetry, comedy, and love. Literary criticism is an agent of despair, and its poster child is Walter Benjamin. Critics have spent decades stewing in his melancholy. What if instead we dared to love poetry? To choose comedy over Hamlet’s tragedy, romance over Benjamin’s suicide on the edge of France, of Europe, of civilization? Paul Bové challenges young lit critters to throw away their shades and let the sun shine in. Love’s Shadow is his three-step manifesto for a new literary criticism that risks sentimentality and melodrama and eschews self-consciousness. The first step is to choose poetry. There has been since the time of Plato a battle between philosophy and poetry. Philosophy has championed misogyny, while poetry has championed women, like Shakespeare’s Rosalind. Philosophy is ever so stringent; try instead the sober cheerfulness of Wallace Stevens. Bové’s second step is to choose the essay. He praises Benjamin’s great friend and sometime antagonist Theodor Adorno, who gloried in the writing of essays, not dissertations and treatises. The third step is to choose love. If you want a Baroque hero, make it Rembrandt, who brought lovers to life in his paintings. Putting aside passivity and cynicism would amount to a revolution in literary studies. Bové seeks nothing less, and he has a program for achieving it.

Toward the Critique of Violence

Author : Walter Benjamin
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Marking the centenary of Walter Benjamin's immensely influential essay, "Toward the Critique of Violence," this critical edition presents readers with an altogether new, fully annotated translation of a work that is widely recognized as a classic of modern political theory. The volume includes twenty-one notes and fragments by Benjamin along with passages from all of the contemporaneous texts to which his essay refers. Readers thus encounter for the first time in English provocative arguments about law and violence advanced by Hermann Cohen, Kurt Hiller, Erich Unger, and Emil Lederer. A new translation of selections from Georges Sorel's Reflections on Violence further illuminates Benjamin's critical program. The volume also includes, for the first time in any language, a bibliography Benjamin drafted for the expansion of the essay and the development of a corresponding philosophy of law. An extensive introduction and afterword provide additional context. With its challenging argument concerning violence, law, and justice—which addresses such topical matters as police violence, the death penalty, and the ambiguous force of religion—Benjamin's work is as important today as it was upon its publication in Weimar Germany a century ago.

Constellation Friedrich Nietzsche and Walter Benjamin in the Now Time of History

Author : James McFarland
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Elaborates the relationship between the philosopher Friedrich Nietzsche (1844-1900) and the cultural critic Walter Benjamin (1892-1940) through close readings of their respective texts as an example of the precariousness of cultural transmission in the present.

Why Ethics

Author : Robert Gibbs
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Robert Gibbs presents here an ambitious new theory of ethics. Drawing on a striking combination of intellectual traditions, including Jewish thought, continental philosophy, and American pragmatism, Gibbs argues that ethics is primarily concerned with responsibility and is not--as philosophers have often assumed--principally a matter of thinking about the right thing to do and acting in accordance with the abstract dictates of reason or will. More specifically, ethics is concerned with attending to others' questions and bearing responsibility for what they do. Gibbs builds this innovative case by exploring the implicit responsibilities in a broad range of human interactions, paying especially close attention to the signs that people give and receive as they relate to each other. Why Ethics? starts by examining the simple actions of listening and speaking, reading and writing, and by focusing on the different responsibilities that each action entails. The author discusses what he describes as the mutual responsibilities implicit in the actions of reasoning, mediating, and judging. He assesses the relationships among ethics, pragmatics, and Jewish philosophy. The book concludes by looking at the relation of memory and the immemorial, emphasizing the need to respond for past actions by confessing, seeking forgiveness, and making reconciliations. In format, Gibbs adopts a Talmudic approach, interweaving brief citations from primary texts with his commentary. He draws these texts from diverse thinkers and sources, including Levinas, Derrida, Habermas, Rosenzweig, Luhmann, Peirce, James, Royce, Benjamin, Maimonides, the Bible, and the Talmud. Ranging over philosophy, literary theory, social theory, and historiography, this is an ambitious and provocative work that holds profound lessons for how we think about ethics and how we seek to live responsibly.

Street Life and Morals

Author : Lesley Chamberlain
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With resonance for today, this book explores a significant crisis of German philosophy and national identity in the decades around World War II. German philosophy, famed for its high-minded Idealism, was plunged into crisis when Germany became an urban and industrial society in the late nineteenth century. The key figure of this shift was Immanuel Kant: seen for a century as the philosophical father of the nation, Kant seemed to lack crucial answers for violent and impersonal modern times. This book shows that the social and intellectual crisis that overturned Germany’s traditions—a sense of profound spiritual confusion over where modern society was headed—was the same crisis that allowed Hitler to come to power. It also describes how German philosophers actively struggled to create a new kind of philosophy in an effort to understand social incoherence and technology’s diminishing of the individual.

Walter Benjamin

Author : Howard Eiland
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Walter Benjamin was perhaps the twentieth century's most elusive intellectual. His writings defy categorization, and his improvised existence has proven irresistible to mythologizers. In a major new biography, Howard Eiland and Michael Jennings present a comprehensive portrait of the man and his times, as well as extensive commentary on his work.

Theology Ethics and Technology in the Work of Jacques Ellul and Paul Virilio

Author : Michael Morelli
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This book examines connections between sociologist-theologian Jacques Ellul and philosopher-phenomenologist Paul Virilio. As it explores the postwar France context and compares their works on technology, it identifies the components of a nascent theological tradition that exposes, and attempts to dismantle, modernity’s primary idol: technology.

Critical Theory to Structuralism

Author : David Ingram
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Philosophy in the middle of the 20th Century, between 1920 and 1968, responded to the cataclysmic events of the time. Thinkers on the Right turned to authoritarian forms of nationalism in search of stable forms of collective identity, will, and purpose. Thinkers on the Left promoted egalitarian forms of humanism under the banner of international communism. Others saw these opposed tendencies as converging in the extinction of the individual and sought to retrieve the ideals of the Enlightenment in ways that critically acknowledged the contradictions of a liberal democracy racked by class, cultural, and racial conflict. Key figures and movements discussed in this volume include Schmitt, Adorno and the Frankfurt School, Arendt, Benjamin, Bataille, French Marxism, Black Existentialism, Saussure and Structuralism, Levi Strauss, Lacan and Late Pragmatism. These individuals and schools of thought responded to this 'modernity crisis' in different ways, but largely focused on what they perceived to be liberal democracy's betrayal of its own rationalist ideals of freedom, equality, and fraternity.

Migrants in the Profane

Author : Peter E. Gordon
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A beautifully written exploration of religion’s role in a secular, modern politics, by an accomplished scholar of critical theory Migrants in the Profane takes its title from an intriguing remark by Theodor W. Adorno, in which he summarized the meaning of Walter Benjamin’s image of a celebrated mechanical chess-playing Turk and its hidden religious animus: “Nothing of theological content will persist without being transformed; every content will have to put itself to the test of migrating in the realm of the secular, the profane.” In this masterful book, Peter Gordon reflects on Adorno’s statement and asks an urgent question: Can religion offer any normative resources for modern political life, or does the appeal to religious concepts stand in conflict with the idea of modern politics as a domain free from religion’s influence? In answering this question, he explores the work of three of the Frankfurt School’s most esteemed thinkers: Walter Benjamin, Max Horkheimer, and Theodor W. Adorno. His illuminating analysis offers a highly original account of the intertwined histories of religion and secular modernity.

Jewish Writers German Literature

Author : Timothy H. Bahti
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By any account, German-speaking Jews have made among the greatest contributions to world culture in this century--one thinks of Wittgenstein and Husserl in philosophy, Freud in psychoanalysis, Kafka in fiction, and Paul Celan in poetry. Yet most Jews were exiled from German-speaking lands (when they were not murdered there), and they have never been integrated within German culture as such. The poet Nelly Sachs, who won the Nobel Prize in 1966 for her poetry on the Holocaust, and the critic Walter Benjamin are two such German- Jewish writers: born just over a century ago in Berlin and exiled from Germany in the 1930s, both were acclaimed after World War II (Benjamin posthumously), yet neither, to this day, is anything but an outsider to German literature. The present collection of essays addresses the uneasy relationship between Jews who are masters of the German language and the German literary tradition that still cannot accept the otherness of Jewish writers. After a biographical and historical introduction by the volume's two editors, individual chapters are devoted to Sachs, to Benjamin, to their comparison, and to Sachs in an international context. Topics explored include the Jewish themes and motifs in Sachs's distinctive verse-dramas; the limits of poetic metaphor with respect to representations of the Holocaust; the relationship of Benjamin's theories of dramatic language to Sachs's verse- dramas; and Benjamin's theories of language, imagery, and gesture in the contexts of Western philosophy, German literature, and Jewish thought. Before now, no work in any language has brought Sachs and Benjamin scholarship together under a single cover. Looking at these two internationally known and celebrated authors together reconfigures both the ways we understand them-- neither just "Jewish writers," nor indifferently German authors--and the ways we understand German literature. Timothy Bahti is Associate Professor of German and Comparative Literature, University of Michigan. Marilyn Sibley Fries was Associate Professor of German and Women's Studies, University of Michigan. By any account, German-speaking Jews have made among the greatest contributions to world culture in this century--one thinks of Wittgenstein and Husserl in philosophy, Freud in psychoanalysis, Kafka in fiction, and Paul Celan in poetry. Yet most Jews were exiled from German-speaking lands (when they were not murdered there), and they have never been integrated within German culture as such. The poet Nelly Sachs, who won the Nobel Prize in 1966 for her poetry on the Holocaust, and the critic Walter Benjamin are two such German- Jewish writers: born just over a century ago in Berlin and exiled from Germany in the 1930s, both were acclaimed after World War II (Benjamin posthumously), yet neither, to this day, is anything but an outsider to German literature. The present collection of essays addresses the uneasy relationship between Jews who are masters of the German language and the German literary tradition that still cannot accept the otherness of Jewish writers. After a biographical and historical introduction by the volume's two editors, individual chapters are devoted to Sachs, to Benjamin, to their comparison, and to Sachs in an international context. Topics explored include the Jewish themes and motifs in Sachs's distinctive verse-dramas; the limits of poetic metaphor with respect to representations of the Holocaust; the relationship of Benjamin's theories of dramatic language to Sachs's verse- dramas; and Benjamin's theories of language, imagery, and gesture in the contexts of Western philosophy, German literature, and Jewish thought. Before now, no work in any language has brought Sachs and Benjamin scholarship together under a single cover. Looking at these two internationally known and celebrated authors together reconfigures both the ways we understand them-- neither just "Jewish writers," nor indifferently German authors--and the ways we understand German literature. Timothy Bahti is Associate Professor of German and Comparative Literature, University of Michigan. Marilyn Sibley Fries was Associate Professor of German and Women's Studies, University of Michigan.

German Aesthetics

Author : J. D. Mininger
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German Aesthetics provides English-speaking audiences with accessible explanations of fundamental concepts from the German tradition of philosophical aesthetics. Organized with the understanding that aesthetic concepts are often highly contested intellectual territory, and that the usage and meanings of terms often shift within historical, cultural, and political debates, this volume brings together scholars of German literature, philosophy, film studies, musicology, and history to provide informative and creative interpretations of German aesthetics that will be useful to students and scholars alike.

Material Inspirations

Author : Jonah Siegel
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This book is a study of the complex relationship between matter and idea that shaped the nineteenth-century culture of art, and that in turn determined the course of still-current accounts of art's nature and value. Fundamental questions about the effects of material conditions on the creation and reception of art arose as early as the nineteenth century, and put important pressures on later eras. The place of class distinctions in the making and reception of art, the relationship between copy and original, the effects of display on art appreciation, even the role of pleasure itself: this book treats these and related issues as productive conceptual challenges with an unresolved relationship to matter at their core. Drawing on recent scholarship on the history of art and its institutions, Material Inspirations places cultural developments such as the emergence of new sites for exhibition and the astonishing proliferation of printed reproductions alongside a wide range of texts including novels, poems, travel guidebooks, compendia of antiquities, and especially the great line of critical writing that emerged in the period. The study vivifies a dynamic era, which is still too often seen as static and unchanging, by emphasizing the transformations taking place throughout the period in precisely those areas that have appeared to promise little more than repetition or continuity: collection, exhibition, and reproduction. The book culminates with the two great critics of the period, John Ruskin and Walter Pater, but it also includes close analysis of other prose writers, as well as poets and novelists ranging from William Blake to Robert Browning, George Eliot to Henry James. Significant developments addressed include the vogue for the representation of Old Masters in the first half of the century, ongoing innovations in the creation and diffusion of reproductions, and the emergence of the field of art history itself. At the heart of each of these the book identifies a material pressure shaping concepts, texts, and works of art.