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Joshua Foa Dienstag in dialogue
Series: Critical Powers

This book engages in a critical encounter with the work of Stanley Cavell on cinema, focusing skeptical attention on the claims made for the contribution of cinema to the ethical character of democratic life. In much of Cavell's writing on film he seeks to show us that the protagonists of the films he terms "remarriage comedies" live a form of perfectionism that he upholds as desirable for contemporary democratic society: moral perfectionism. Films are often viewed on television, and television shows can have "filmlike" qualities. The book addresses the nature of viewing cinematic film as a mode of experience, arguing against Cavell that it is akin to dreaming rather than lived consciousness and, crucially, cannot be shared. It mirrors the celebrated dialogue between Jean-Jacques Rousseau and Jean D'Alembert on theatre. The book articulates the implications of philosophical pessimism for addressing contemporary culture in its relationship to political life. It clarifies how The Americans resembles the remarriage films and can illuminate the issues they raise. The tragedy of remarriage, would be a better instructor of a democratic community, if such a community were prepared to listen. The book suggests that dreaming, both with and without films, is not merely a pleasurable distraction but a valuable pastime for democratic citizens. Finally, it concludes with a robust response from Dienstag to his critics.

Frederick H. White

within the context of his life. Philosophical pessimism offered Andreev a way to rationalize his depressive episodes. In The World as Will and Representation, Schopenhauer suggests that we are not in control of our individual lives. We are all driven by the Will – the force of both the inorganic and organic world. According to Schopenhauer, our wants cannot be satiated: thus suffering, frustration, and a sense of deficiency are always present. Desire, passion, hate, hunger, sleepiness are only manifestations of the Will. Life, therefore, is tragic, full of misery and

in Degeneration, decadence and disease in the Russian fin de siècle
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Override dysfunctions and the ‘Klapheck computer’
Abigail Susik

Internationaux de Sociologie XIX (1955): 157–70. Also see Eburne, ‘Approximate Life’, 62–81. On surrealist sensibility of pessimism in general see Raihan Kadri, Reimagining Life: Philosophical Pessimism and the Revolution of Surrealism (Madison, NJ: Fairleigh Dickinson University Press, 2011). 18 Breton, ‘Konrad Klapheck’, 412. 19 Benayoun, ‘The Watchmaker of Freedom’, n.p. 20 For a surrealist

in Surrealist sabotage and the war on work
Thomas Linehan

materialism, aspects of liberal humanism and, with some of the more authoritarian modernists such as Ezra Pound, T. S. Eliot, D. H. Lawrence and Percy Wyndham Lewis, liberal democracy. 101 Both, too, deplored modern alienation and advocated a spiritual renaissance in society. Fascist and literary modernist thinking intersected at other points. Philosophical pessimism and ‘cultural despair’ was an attitude of mind common to both. Fascism and literary modernism were also contemptuous of ‘mass culture’ and the alleged ‘Americanisation’ of British culture. In addition, for

in British Fascism 1918-39
Blixa Bargeld, Einstürzende Neubauten and the Reinvention of Berlin
John Robb

essayist who dealt in pervasive philosophical pessimism, style, and aphorisms. His works frequently engaged with issues of suffering, decay, and nihilism. 786 John Cage (1912– 1995) A pioneer of indeterminacy in music, electroacoustic music, and non-standard use of musical instruments, Cage was one of the leading figures of the post-war avant-garde. 787 Walter Benjamin (1892–1940) was a German Jewish philosopher, cultural critic and essayist. An eclectic thinker

in The art of darkness
Frederick H. White

unstable and doggedly remained an element of the cultural dialogue on art and modernity even through the 1930s.37 Andreev was aware of degeneration theory from his early adolescence. His diary references to Lombroso,38 Nordau39 and Krafft-Ebing40 show that these scientific theorists influenced the way Andreev constructed his sense of self and how he perceived the world around him.41 Philosophical pessimism and scientific degeneration informed a belief that genius was found in the abnormal mind. Andreev was diagnosed as an acute neurasthenic according to Korsakov

in Degeneration, decadence and disease in the Russian fin de siècle
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Epistemelancholia in David Hume and Henry James
Andrew Bennett

notebooks. Indeed, Leon Edel comments that writing the tale provided a ‘catharsis’ for Henry James, a ‘moment of vision and of insight such as his brother, William, described in his book’. 33 The ‘moment of vision’ that Edel refers to is described in William’s lecture on ‘The Sick Soul’ where he produces the metaphor of the monster to figure his own devastating depression. William describes being in a state of ‘philosophic pessimism and general depression of spirits’ when he suddenly experiences ‘a horrible fear of my own existence’. He imagines ‘an epileptic patient

in Ignorance
An introduction
Neil Cornwell

] level . . . an understanding . . . of existentiality’ or the ‘Dasein’ (‘Da-sein, 28 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 Introductory to be there’: ibid., 37; all emphases in quotations from Weston are present in the original). According to Heidegger, Kierkegaard had ‘seized upon the problem of existence as an existentiell problem, and thought it through in penetrating fashion’ (ibid., 104). ‘Philosophical pessimism in its modern form dates back to Schopenhauer, who interpreted human history as an anarchic and absurd struggle for existence among beings doomed by death

in The absurd in literature
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Duvivier and the 1930s
Ben McCann

Burch and Sellier (1996: 52), ‘la misogynie viscérale de Duvivier s’accommode admirablement de son pessimisme’.31 Some things never change. 30 At a test screening, audiences were shown both endings; the happy ending won out by 305 votes to 61. 31 ‘Duvivier’s visceral misogyny blends admirably with his philosophical pessimism.’   84 84  Julien Duvivier In Pépé le Moko, Pépé (Gabin), a criminal on the run from the French police, lives freely in the Algiers Casbah, unopposed by local authorities. When Slimane (Lucas Gridoux), the local police inspector, sees that

in Julien Duvivier
Frederick H. White

Will and Representation and was greatly influenced by it. Philosophical pessimism, therefore, provided Andreev a unifying thread of continuity between the work of Tolstoi and the cultural discourse on sexual deviance. Andreev introduces readers to the students Nemovetskii and Zina Nikolaevna while they are taking a walk in the countryside. When Nemovetskii helps Zina over a puddle, he sees her dainty foot and it becomes the sexual impetus for the events that follow. Nemovetskii Controversy and success 101 contemplates the image of Zina’s foot, but forces himself

in Degeneration, decadence and disease in the Russian fin de siècle