By Forest Pyle

ISBN-10: 0823251128

ISBN-13: 9780823251124

Radical aestheticism describes a routine occasion in essentially the most robust and resonating texts of nineteenth-century British literature, delivering us how to reckon with what occurs at definite moments in texts via Shelley, Keats, Dickinson, Hopkins, Rossetti, and Wilde. This booklet explores what occurs whilst those writers, deeply devoted to sure types of ethics, politics, or theology, still produce an come across with a thorough aestheticism which matters the authors' tasks to a basic crisis.

A radical aestheticism bargains no optimistic claims for paintings, even if on moral or political grounds or on aesthetic grounds, as in "art for art's sake." It offers no transcendent or underlying flooring for art's validation. during this feel, an intensive aestheticism is the adventure of a poesis that exerts rather a lot strain at the claims and workings of the cultured that it turns into a type of black gap out of which no illumination is feasible. the unconventional aestheticism encountered in those writers, in its very extremity, takes us to the constitutive elements--the figures, the pictures, the semblances--that are on the root of any aestheticism, an stumble upon registered as evaporation, combustion, or undoing. it truly is, accordingly, an undoing by way of and of paintings and aesthetic event, person who leaves this crucial literary culture in its wake.

Art's Undoing embraces diversified theoretical initiatives, from Walter Benjamin to Jacques Derrida. those turn into anything of a parallel textual content to its literary readings, revealing how essentially the most major theoretical and philosophical tasks of our time stay in the wake of an intensive aestheticism.

Art's Undoing: within the Wake of an intensive Aestheticism proposes a gorgeous substitute to our behavior of taking into consideration the murals as an party for heightened imaginative and prescient or transitority respite. just like the astonishing beginning strains of a lot of Dickinson's poems, Pyle's radical aestheticism undoes the apotropaic functionality frequently assigned to artwork, and knows poetry now not as a site delivering and requiring defense from encroaching forces, yet as a darkness-making occasion and because the "unwilled" imposition of a sensuous apprehension." during this terrific, superbly written paintings of literary feedback that offers to depart its personal readers exquisitely undone, woodland Pyle unthreads Shelley, Keats, Dickinson, Hopkins, Rossetti, and Wilde into figures, reflections, strains, and features that, not like the Medusa's face, won't ever get to the bottom of themselves right into a unmarried, readable, and accordingly pierce-able image.-Anne-Lise Francois, college of California, Berkeley

This is among the strongest and refined books I've learn on 19th-century literature in a long time. It's looking out, meticulous, and wide-ranging because it pursues its novel, overarching thesis. Pyle brings into awesome aid what's strong and complicated in a major pressure of 19th-century literature, surroundings its poetry in movement far and wide again.-Ian Balfour, York college

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Extra info for Art's Undoing: In the Wake of a Radical Aestheticism

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And as remote from each other as Salomé and This Living Hand may be in every other aspect, they present us with a radical aestheticism in the dramatic mode. Still, the lyric does indeed hold a special place for the experience I am describing, for every case of a radical aestheticism of which I am aware is marked by what one could call lyricization. There is no single or master trope that produces, represents, or epitomizes a radical aestheticism; but lyricization is the most precise way to describe its formal, rhetorical, and generic dimensions.

Indb 14 10/4/13 10:22:10 AM “From Which One Turns Away” 15 ence, shears it entirely away from the aesthetic dimension, and leaves us with a convulsive whirlwind of pronouns and pure affect. In this sense Wuthering Heights achieves the inverse of what I am calling a radical aestheticism. The references to Wuthering Heights and Frankenstein beg the question of genre. When I have presented or published earlier versions of this material, some members of my audiences and some of my readers have speculated that the condition I am describing is unique to the poetry of the Romantic tradition.

Barnes offers a compelling account, as illuminating as it is reflective. But this account opens a possibility from which it also turns away: what if art itself in the production of its own self-reflection, at certain moments in certain places, is itself this catastrophe, a sudden and radical overturning, a final “subversion,” calamitous on its own to the hopes and projects to which we would assign it? We are close here to Bataille; and it is certainly no accident that one of Bataille’s most brilliant critics, Denis Hollier, would invoke The Raft of the Medusa to epitomize Bataille’s thought in general and his notion of expenditure in particular.

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Art's Undoing: In the Wake of a Radical Aestheticism by Forest Pyle


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