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Between Adorno and Heidegger
Joanna Hodge

Aesthetic theory for T. W. Adorno marks out a domain of experience relatively immune from the impact of the banalisation of evil, indicated by Hannah Arendt to be distinctive of the latter part of the twentieth century. The differences between Adorno and Martin Heidegger, then, concerning politics and language, aesthetic analysis and its philosophical significance are clear cut. Lacoue-Labarthe argues in Heidegger, Art and Politics: The Fiction of the Political that Heidegger's political affirmation fictionalises politics, under the aegis of Hoelderlin. Walter Benjamin's version of antinomy which is to be evoked, for both Adorno and Heidegger work in philosophy for its own sake but also with an eye to a political transformation. Heidegger's notions of authenticity and historicality provide a challenge to the apparently dehistoricised notions of politics and aesthetics, which are in fact burdened with an unthought-through reception of the Greek notions of order and community.

in The new aestheticism
Howard Caygill

Walter Benjamin's alignment of the allegorical aesthetic with the ascetic mortification of the body in the Origin of German Tragic Drama rehearses the Alexandrian origins of allegory. The parallels that Giuseppe Ungaretti draws between Alexandria and the landscape of modern warfare are most evident in the earlier versions of L'Allegria. The self-destructive movements of Christian allegory that Benjamin identified in the baroque prefigure the attempt to dissolve aisthesis into ascesis that informs modern aesthetics. Baumgarten introduced rational ascesis into modern aesthetics through the notion of the education of sensibility, a tendency advanced by Schiller in his Aesthetic Education. If Ungaretti's Alexandrian poems consummately explore the complex movements of exile, homelessness and return that are central to the Alexandrian aesthetic, those of his fellow Alexandrian C. P. Cavafy focus on the aspect of pleasure and its embalmment in art.

in The new aestheticism
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Blasons d’un corps masculin, L’Ecrivaillon and La Ligne âpre by Régine Detambel
Marie-Claire Barnet

Régine Detambel is a monster' claimed the September 1999 issue of the French magazine Marie-Claire, referring to her prolific output, which includes over 20 novels by the age of 36. Like Susan Faludi in Stiffed: The Betrayal of the Modern Man, Detambel turns her gaze in Blasons d'un corps masculin to the representation of masculinity. In La Ligne âpre, Detambel revivifies the genre of the blazons of female and male bodies by dissecting and reassembling the bone structure of the body. Detambel's dissection of the writer's body, with its attention to precise definitions, refined and renewed adjectives, and striking metaphors, is in fact a dissection of language. The writing of the writer's vocation in the novel L'Ecrivaillon ou l'enfance de l'écriture is intermingled with the writing of body parts, focusing on the writer's hands, the veins and the passion and pain flowing through the long apprenticeship of the literary profession.

in Women’s writing in contemporary France
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Towards a contemporary aesthetic
Jonathan Dollimore

This chapter refers not just to the literary encounter with war, but the way wars in the last century compelled artists and intellectuals into rethinking the aesthetic its scope, its power and its dangers. The Second World War confirmed the bankruptcy of Enlightenment humanism. For Hermann Hesse and numerous others in earlier generations, the humanist aesthetic was a liberating expression of profoundly civilising sympathies. The chapter argues that modernists like W. B. Yeats and D. H. Lawrence, under the influence of F. Nietzsche, offer an exhilarating celebration of an amoral aesthetics of energy. The importance of Nietzsche contrasting the Dionysiac conception of art with the humanitarian is in terms of two distinct kinds of sufferer, those who suffer from a superabundance of life and those who suffer from an impoverishment of life.

in The new aestheticism
Siobhán McIlvanney

This chapter examines the work of three beur women writers. It examines the work to establish the extent to which the highly specific socio-historical locus of the beur writer, when combined with her female subject position, may produce narrative similarities, whether formal or thematic. The works include Georgette! by Farida Belghoul, Beur's story by Ferrudja Kessas and Ils disent que je suis une beurette by Soraya Nini. By their focus on the education system, all three texts point up the pivotal role played by the socialisation process and formation of identity in beur women's writing. Beur literature only began to enjoy commercial success in the early 1980s, when a substantial number of the children of North African immigrants first reached adulthood. The designation beur is considered an example of verlan, a form of French slang involving the inversion of syllables.

in Women’s writing in contemporary France
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Henry James reads George Eliot
Lindsey Traub

This chapter traces the progress of an important and far-reaching lesson Henry James drew from this literary mentor along a trail to be found in his essays and reviews of the older novelist. The anxiety of the young, male, would-be novelist in mid-century America arose from a painful mixture of morality, financial necessity and gender role-modelling. Well beyond the Americana, James showed that he had learned to place a woman, in her own right, in the centre of his stage, and through her begin to dramatise the growth and transformation of consciousness itself. In James's account of his own growth in both Notes of a Son and Brother and The Middle Years and in his notebooks, George Eliot and her work were very early part of his emotional and aesthetic consciousness. In October 1856, Eliot reviewed a very different group of texts: novels which included Harriet Beecher Stowe's Dred.

in Special relationships
Open Access (free)
Jonathan Atkin

What were the anti-war feelings chiefly expressed outside ‘organised’ protest and not under political or religious banners – those attitudes that form the raison d'être for this study? As the Great War becomes more distant in time, certain actions and individuals become greyer and more obscure, whilst others seem to become clearer and imbued with a dash of colour amid the sepia. One thinks particularly of the so-called Bloomsbury Group. The small circle of Cambridge undergraduates, whose mutual appreciation of the thoughts and teachings of the academic and philosopher G. E. Moore led them to form lasting friendships, became the kernel of what would become labelled ‘the Bloomsbury Group’. The emotions of Bloomsbury mirrored to a large extent those of its mentors. For one of the ‘fathers’ of Bloomsbury, the older Cambridge academic and humanist Goldsworthy Lowes Dickinson, the coming of war was disastrous. This chapter looks at the views of some Bloomsbury members about the Great War, including Dickinson, Bertrand Russell, Virginia Woolf, John Maynard Keynes, Lytton Strachey, Ottoline Morrell and Vanessa Bell.

in A war of individuals
Colonialism, Jewishness and politics in Bacon’s New Atlantis
Claire Jowitt

This chapter explores whether Francis Bacon argues in the New Atlantis for England's continued imperial growth and whether he advocates a policy of Christian toleration of Jews. It focuses on the ways the New Atlantis refuses to 'speak plain' through an examination of Bacon's contradictory representations of Jewishness. The New Atlantis displays different attitudes to colonialism according to the relative civilisation and scientific sophistication of the home nation. The chapter presents the social, political, and cultural contradictions of early seventeenth-century England reflected in the New Atlantis. Bacon explicitly appropriates Scriptural quotation associated with King Solomon when he describes King Solamona's 'large heart. The fact that the New Atlantis reproduces the social contradictions and tensions of the time means that Bacon was unable to formulate unequivocal policies concerning Christian toleration of Jews and colonial endeavour.

in Francis Bacon’s New Atlantis
Simon Wortham

Critical readers of Francis Bacon's New Atlantis have often drawn attention to the complex relationship between the production and dissemination of enlightened scientific knowledge in Bensalem. For readers of Bacon and students of the early modern period in England more generally, the New Atlantis unavoidably raises questions concerning the relationship between censorship and knowledge. Richard Burt's Licensed by Authority argues against any clear-cut distinction between criticism and censorship, poetic liberty and licensed poetry, within the multiple and dispersed, and often equivocal and contradictory, spaces and conditions of the court and market. The censorship and criticism become self-identical terms that can be juxtaposed in a stable opposition; the critic is "opposed" to censorship. Salomon's House exemplifies in ideal terms the advancement of learning, in the context both of academic principle and institutional practice. The orderliness of the institution's academic disciplines is mismatched by that of the conduct of its officials.

in Francis Bacon’s New Atlantis
Literature and/or reality?
Marion Sadoux

From her very first novel, Vu du ciel, which was published in 1990, Christine Angot has established herself firmly as a writer who has made it her mission to explore and expose relentlessly the thin line between reality and fiction. The last quarter of the twentieth century, in French literature, will probably be remembered, among other things, as the period in which a new genre, that of autofiction, emerged and flourished. Many literary theorists have long claimed that the meeting point between fiction and autobiography, which so strongly shapes contemporary self-representational aesthetics, is a fundamental area of women's writing. Both the fantastic and autofiction function as border or frontier genres which borrow elements from other related genres, and autofictions are not necessarily limited to borrowings from autobiography. Autofictions are also potentially subversive in a similar way to fantastic literature, as Rosemary Jackson identifies.

in Women’s writing in contemporary France