By William S. Allen

ISBN-10: 0823269280

ISBN-13: 9780823269280

Maurice Blanchot and Theodor W. Adorno are one of the such a lot tough but in addition the main profound thinkers in twentieth-century aesthetics. whereas their tools and views range largely, they percentage a priority with the negativity of the paintings conceived when it comes to both its adventure and danger or its serious expression. Such negativity is neither nihilistic nor pessimistic yet issues the prestige of the art and its autonomy with regards to its context or its event. For either Blanchot and Adorno, negativity is the major to realizing the prestige of the paintings in post-Kantian aesthetics, and even though it exhibits how artwork expresses severe probabilities, albeit negatively, it additionally exhibits that artwork bears an irreducible ambiguity such that its that means can continuously negate itself. This ambiguity takes on an additional fabric importance whilst thought of with regards to language, because the negativity of the paintings turns into aesthetic within the additional feel of being either brilliant and experimental. yet in doing so the language of the literary paintings turns into a sort of pondering that allows materiality to be inspiration in its ambiguity.

In a sequence of wealthy and compelling readings, William S. Allen exhibits how an unique and rigorous mode of considering arises inside Blanchot's early writings and the way Adorno's aesthetics is dependent upon a relation among language and materiality that has been largely ignored. additionally, through reconsidering the matter of the self sufficient murals when it comes to literature, a principal factor in modernist aesthetics is given a better severe and fabric relevance as a style of pondering that's summary and urban, rigorous and ambiguous. whereas examples of this type of writing are available within the works of Blanchot and Beckett, the calls for that such texts position on readers basically ensure the demanding situations and the probabilities that literary autonomy poses to thought.

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Additional info for Aesthetics of Negativity: Blanchot, Adorno, and Autonomy

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36 ■ Contre-Temps The Formative Drive after Kant The basis for this relation between the manifesto and modernist literature comes from the fact that both derive from a concept of autonomous literature that finds its roots in Kant’s third Kritik. If we recall Kant’s argument, then it is apparent that autonomy is a complex notion, for on the one hand it relates to the lack of purpose in the work of fine art, and on the other hand it concerns the disinterest of the observer. However, both these aspects are immediately complicated further, since as an artwork the work must appear as that which has been fashioned so that it can be distinguished from natural objects, and yet it must also possess an inner purposiveness (Zweckmässigkeit) as if it were a natural object.

It is insofar as this reification is Introduction: Abstract and Concrete Modernity ■ 23 derived from the negativity of language that language can provide an analysis and critique of it. Blanchot’s position might be extreme, but without a critique of the alienation inherent to language any emancipation of social relations will remain shallow and transient. Fortuitously, the fetishcharacter of the commodity-form provides a concrete instance of how this negativity and alienation operate and thus indicates how the critique of language can be put into play.

It would be hard to reconcile Blanchot’s thought of language with a hope of releasing its latent possibilities of fair exchange, since for him such a horizon is sheerly utopian. Nevertheless, he retains a concern with seeking to understand the manifold nature of the literary object and to attempt to negotiate its ambivalence so as to negatively indicate its possibilities of expression or communication. Achieving consciousness of one’s alienation vis-à-vis the reification of the object is then the task not only of the worker or the proletarian but also of the writer, as Blanchot will pursue through an array of complex and subtle analyses, a consciousness that may offer awareness but not liberation, since this condition of mutual estrangement is constitutive of the relation to language as such.

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Aesthetics of Negativity: Blanchot, Adorno, and Autonomy by William S. Allen

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