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

By William S. Allen

Maurice Blanchot and Theodor W. Adorno are one of the so much tricky but additionally the main profound thinkers in twentieth-century aesthetics. whereas their tools and views range generally, they proportion a priority with the negativity of the paintings conceived when it comes to both its event and chance or its serious expression. Such negativity is neither nihilistic nor pessimistic yet matters the prestige of the paintings and its autonomy on the subject of its context or its adventure. For either Blanchot and Adorno, negativity is the foremost to figuring out the prestige of the art in post-Kantian aesthetics, and even though it shows how paintings expresses severe probabilities, albeit negatively, it additionally exhibits that paintings bears an irreducible ambiguity such that its that means can constantly negate itself. This ambiguity takes on an further fabric importance whilst thought of relating to language, because the negativity of the paintings turns into aesthetic within the additional experience of being either good and experimental. yet in doing so the language of the literary paintings turns into a kind of pondering that allows materiality to be idea in its ambiguity.

In a sequence of wealthy and compelling readings, William S. Allen exhibits how an unique and rigorous mode of pondering arises inside Blanchot's early writings and the way Adorno's aesthetics is dependent upon a relation among language and materiality that has been broadly missed. in addition, through reconsidering the matter of the self sufficient murals when it comes to literature, a relevant factor in modernist aesthetics is given a better severe and fabric relevance as a method of considering 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 simply ascertain the demanding situations and the chances that literary autonomy poses to thought.

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Extra resources for Aesthetics of Negativity: Blanchot, Adorno, and Autonomy

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But of equal significance, as Perloff points out, is that the manifesto articulates itself according to a new material medium: “the page supplants the stanza or the paragraph as the basic print unit,” which becomes explored through the typographical collages and ephemeral publications so distinctive of the movement. ”2 Such notions would be key to the development of Benjamin’s thought in his desire to construct a work entirely of quotations that would present its dialectical theses through its textual-historical juxtapositions, and the equally weighted chunks of Adorno’s prose, in which large paragraphs or short fragments follow each other in a nonhierarchical or paratactical manner that expresses their focus through their arrangement as constellations.

Language does not operate in the same way as the visual arts, for it is extended across time by way of its expression, and also, and perhaps more significantly, there is an extreme transparency between its material and semiotic aspects, which means that it can change its meaning at the slightest provocation. This does not mean that the historico-material model that Osborne has adapted from Adorno is invalid when applied to literature; rather, it needs to operate at a more microscopic level, which can be captured in the extended readings of certain exemplary texts.

This ambiguous transformation in which Introduction: Abstract and Concrete Modernity ■ 21 we do not know if we are confronting words or things in the materiality of language is the basis of the relation between the concrete and the abstract, the literal and the metaphorical, the sensible and the supersensible, which is underway not just in our relation to objects, insofar as they are always able to become commodities, but also in our relation to language through reading and writing, as this work will explore.

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