Chapter 4: From Dead Letters to Living Writing: The Aesthetic of Life in Novalis

in From Ego to Eco
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The current shift from a human-centric culture to a culture of life refers to what Rancière calls the “ethical regime of art,” a cultural transformation that took place around 1800. In his novels and theoretical texts, Novalis reinvigorates art by calling into question the boundary separating art from life. As an epistemological category, life marks a place in language that cannot be entirely conceptualised and therefore is not fully accessible through language. In Novalis’ aesthetics, language and life serve as analogues. Both avoid the reification that subducts the forward-facing, open dimension of a society and prevents the other, the new and the creative from emerging as possibilities. Herein lies the decidedly political dimension of his mythical poetics.

From Ego to Eco

Mapping Shifts from Anthropocentrism to Ecocentrism


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