Reconsidering the relationship between autobiography and self-portraiture,
The Body as Medium and Metaphor explores the intertextuality of self-representation in twentieth-century French art. Situating the body as the nexus of intersections between the written word and the visual image, this book rethinks the problematic status of the self. Starting at the twentieth-century’s departure from figurative and mimetic representation, this study discusses the work of seminal artists and writers – including Marcel Duchamp, Michel Leiris, Francis Bacon, Bernard Noël, Gisèle Prassinos, Louise Bourgeois and Orlan – to articulate the twentieth century’s radical revisions of subjectivity that originated from and returned to representations of the word, the image, and the body.
This volume will be of interest to students of both French Literature and Art History, particularly those who are interested in the interdisciplinary exchanges between visual arts and literature.
En insistant sur le cas particulier du «corps grotesque» et du burlesque, on voudrait montrer que l’économie affective du XVIIe siècle et son partage ne reposent pas sur le refoulement du corps, mais sur la transformation du «ressenti» des émotions : dans la littérature du XVIIe siècle se sont développées des représentations de sujets éprouvés par des émotions. La bienséance qui les caractérisera de plus en plus n’est pas le fait d’un refoulement : mais la tonalité qui, sortant le « privé » du burlesque, lui donne une visibilité et une dignité publiques propres. Aussi convient-il, pour les lire et les interpréter ou, mieux, les res-sentir et les réadresser, de placer – de subjectiver – notre propre sensibilité dans leur sillage, plutôt que de les soupçonner d’artifice et d’intention manipulatrice.
Ideological debates about economics and aesthetics raged hotly in nineteenth-century France. French political economy was taking shape as a discipline that would support free-market liberalism, while
l’art pour l’art theories circulated, and utopian systems with aesthetic and economic agendas proliferated. Yet, as this book argues, the discourses of art and literature worked in tandem with market discourses to generate theories of economic and social order, of the model of the self-individuating and desiring subject of modernity, and of this individual’s relationship to a new world of objects. Baudelaire as a poet and art critic is exemplary: Rather than a disaffected artist, Baudelaire is shown to be a spectator desirous of both art and goods whose sensibilities reflect transformations in habits of perception. The book includes chapters on equilibrium and utility in economic and aesthetic theory, on the place of the aesthetic in press coverage of the industrial exhibitions, on the harmonic theories of Baudelaire’s early art criticism, aimed at a bourgeois audience, on Baudelaire’s radical cosmopolitanism learned through viewing “objects” on display at the Universal Exhibition of 1855, and on
Les Fleurs du Mal and
Le Spleen de Paris, where language makes visible the traits of a new material world.
The Image in French Philosophy challenges dominant interpretations of Bergson, Sartre, Lyotard, Baudrillard and Deleuze by arguing that their philosophy was not a critique but a
revival of metaphysics as a thinking pertaining to impersonal forces and distinguished by an aversion to subjectivity and an aversion of the philosophical gaze away from the discourse of vision, and thus away from the image. Insofar as the image was part of the discourse of subjectivity/representation, getting rid of the subject involved smuggling the concept of the image out of the discourse of subjectivity/representation into a newly revived and ethically flavored metaphysical discourse—a metaphysics of immanence, which was more interested in consciousness rather than subjectivity, in the inhuman rather than the human, in the virtual rather than the real, in Time rather than temporalization, in Memory rather than memory-images, in Imagination rather than images, in sum, in
impersonal forces, de-personalizing experiences, states of dis-embodiment characterized by the breaking down of sensory-motor schemata (Bergson’s pure memory, Sartre’s image-consciousness, Deleuze’s time-image) or, more generally, in that which remains beyond representation i.e.
beyond subjectivity (Lyotard’s sublime, Baudrillard’s fatal object). The book would be of interest to scholars and students of philosophy, aesthetics, and film theory.
A bilingual collection of essays on the aesthetics of Gilles Deleuze,
Discern(e)ments highlights what is at stake in Deleuzian philosophy of art. It traces the reception of Deleuzian thought in a broad range of disciplines and gauges its use-value in each of them. Following the dynamics between structure and becoming that punctuates Deleuzian aesthetics,
Discern(e)ments sketches and erases boundaries between methods and traditions in philosophy and art theory, as well as in literary, performance and film studies. Offering both numerous case-studies as well as theoretical outlines,
Discern(e)ments engages faculties, disciplines and criticisms not in a mere exchange of points of view, but in
heterogenesis mapping out further discernments in Deleuzian aesthetics.