Special Issue "New Encounters between Literature and Philosophy"

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A special issue of Humanities (ISSN 2076-0787).

Deadline for manuscript submissions: closed (15 August 2014)

Special Issue Editor

Guest Editor
Prof. Dr. Krzysztof Ziarek

Department of Comparative Literature, College of Arts and Sciences, University at Buffalo, 638 Clemens Hall, Buffalo, NY 14260-4610, USA
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Interests: comparative literature; philosophy and literature; literary theory; 20th and 21st century poetry and poetics

Special Issue Information

Dear Colleague,

In Plato, there is a reference to then already “old” quarrel between philosophy and poetry, which for Plato concerned crucially the notion of truth and the understanding of reality it affords.  In the West, this ancient, often conflictual relation continued to assume various forms in subsequent epochs, from Renaissance and the Enlightenment, through the highly charged and fruitful period of Romanticism and German Idealism, to the most recent reconsideration of this relationship through the prism of phenomenology or poststructuralism.  Yet what happens to this genealogy of the conflictual relationship between literature and philosophy when we step outside the confines of the West or its tradition(s)?  And conversely, how does the intersection between philosophy and literature facilitate not only the critique of the West but also intercultural dialogue?  Can this intersection become a fruitful place for critical engagement with globalization and its forms of technological and economic power? This special issue of Humanities aims at the reappraisal of this contested “between” of literature and philosophy in the context of the globalized world of the 21st century and the increasing pressure of the technocratic society on the humanities. We invite contributions that expressly investigate this encounter between literature and philosophy from the following, though not exclusive, perspectives: Western and non-Western cultures; ancient, modern, or contemporary societies; comparative contexts; language and translation; aesthetics, truth, event; race and gender theory.

Prof. Dr. Krzysztof Ziarek
Guest Editor

Submission

Manuscripts should be submitted online at www.mdpi.com by registering and logging in to this website. Once you are registered, click here to go to the submission form. Manuscripts can be submitted until the deadline. Papers will be published continuously (as soon as accepted) and will be listed together on the special issue website. Research articles, review articles as well as communications are invited. For planned papers, a title and short abstract (about 100 words) can be sent to the Editorial Office for announcement on this website.

Submitted manuscripts should not have been published previously, nor be under consideration for publication elsewhere (except conference proceedings papers). All manuscripts are refereed through a peer-review process. A guide for authors and other relevant information for submission of manuscripts is available on the Instructions for Authors page. Humanities is an international peer-reviewed Open Access quarterly journal published by MDPI.

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Keywords

  • literature
  • philosophy
  • critique of globalization
  • non-western and western worlds
  • language
  • poetics
  • event
  • power
  • technology
  • humanities

Published Papers (10 papers)

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Research

Open AccessArticle Butterfly Redreaming: Rethinking Free, with Zhuangzi Flying Westerly with Descartes, Lacan, Waldman…
Humanities 2015, 4(2), 198-211; doi:10.3390/h4020198
Received: 10 February 2015 / Revised: 30 March 2015 / Accepted: 31 March 2015 / Published: 15 April 2015
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Abstract
Usually, Zhuangzi’s parable of “the butterfly dream/dreaming butterfly” is read as an enigmatic version, from “the East”, of the Cartesian skeptical challenges to “objective reality” or else the Lacanian psycho-drama of the “pure gaze” in which “he”, Zhuangzi, “is a butterfly for nobody”,
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Usually, Zhuangzi’s parable of “the butterfly dream/dreaming butterfly” is read as an enigmatic version, from “the East”, of the Cartesian skeptical challenges to “objective reality” or else the Lacanian psycho-drama of the “pure gaze” in which “he”, Zhuangzi, “is a butterfly for nobody”, who stands for “the Real”. Retooling some of the critical insights from these standard dialectical or anxiogenic approaches to this allegorical puzzle of self-identity, both of which, however, tend to leave unquestioned or else structurally overrate the binarized inner-exclusivity of typical pairs such as in/out, subject/object, illusion/reality, and all/nothing, this article proposes a relatively novel, fluid model of unraveling the speculative knot, the dots of lepidopterological spacetime irreducible to a simpler “point” in space and time. As we follow the narrative sequence more micro- and macrologically at once, with holistic, philopoetic attention to its intricate conceptual cues and contextual clues, especially its streaks and energies of “oppositional poetics” envisaged by Anne Waldman, for instance, we come to see more clearly the trans-categorical auto-generativity of its modal openness, its oddly powerful, non-militarily propelled, avant-garde peripherality. As Zhuangzi’s butterfly gets freed this way from the discursive net where it is lost and found (often instantly dead), the vocalized figure of the “irritating” narrator, too, will change more freely, flying in and out and back in “daoistically” rather than agonistically. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue New Encounters between Literature and Philosophy)
Open AccessArticle Reoccupying Metaphor: On the Legitimacy of the Nonconceptual
Humanities 2015, 4(1), 181-197; doi:10.3390/h4010181
Received: 8 December 2014 / Revised: 13 February 2015 / Accepted: 17 February 2015 / Published: 5 March 2015
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Abstract
Hans Blumenberg’s magisterial defense of modernity against the reproach of secularization, elaborated most extensively in The Legitimacy of the Modern Age (1966, 1974), develops both a distinctive method of philosophical history and the groundwork of a philosophical anthropology, predicated on the emergence of
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Hans Blumenberg’s magisterial defense of modernity against the reproach of secularization, elaborated most extensively in The Legitimacy of the Modern Age (1966, 1974), develops both a distinctive method of philosophical history and the groundwork of a philosophical anthropology, predicated on the emergence of human self-assertion as theoretical curiosity. But as Blumenberg’s work attests more generally, this argument both devolves on and comprises an excursion into metaphorology, transposing the grounds of legitimation from dialectic to rhetoric. This paper explores the implications of such a metaphorical transfer, suggesting that Blumenberg not only presupposes a cryptic mode of poetics, but also (against its own anthropological intention) invests that poetics with the power to negate the category of the human as such. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue New Encounters between Literature and Philosophy)
Open AccessArticle In Search of Lost Community: The Literary Image between “Proust” and “Baudelaire” in Walter Benjamin’s Modernization Lament
Humanities 2015, 4(1), 149-180; doi:10.3390/h4010149
Received: 9 October 2014 / Revised: 24 November 2014 / Accepted: 26 January 2015 / Published: 6 February 2015
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Abstract
This essay takes up the encounter between philosophy and literature through a reconsideration of Walter Benjamin’s remarks from “On Some Motifs in Baudelaire” about Henri Bergson’s Matière et mémoire as an attempt “[t]owering above” other ventures into Lebensphilosophie to “lay hold of the
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This essay takes up the encounter between philosophy and literature through a reconsideration of Walter Benjamin’s remarks from “On Some Motifs in Baudelaire” about Henri Bergson’s Matière et mémoire as an attempt “[t]owering above” other ventures into Lebensphilosophie to “lay hold of the ‘true’ experience, as opposed to the kind that manifests itself in the standardized, denatured life of the civilized masses”. Despite his initial affirmation of Bergson’s understanding of experience as connected with tradition, Benjamin criticizes the philosopher’s account for sidestepping “the alienating, blinding experience of the age of large-scale industrialism” in reaction to which, as Benjamin insists, Bergson’s philosophy of memory developed. Yet even as Bergson shuts out the historical import of modernization, according to Benjamin, he also spotlights a “complementary” visual experience “in the form of its spontaneous afterimage”. Benjamin subsequently defines Bergson’s philosophy as “an attempt to specify this afterimage and fix it as a permanent record”, an endeavor that inadvertently “furnishes a clue to the experience which presented itself undistorted to Baudelaire’s eyes, in the figure of his reader”. If the literary critic might be viewed here as weighing in on a long-running antagonism between philosophy and literature, then his assessment is resolute: by praising the self-conscious historicity of Baudelaire’s lyric, Benjamin declares that poetry succeeds where Lebensphilosophie fails. Notably, Baudelaire is not the only figure to upstage “ahistorical” Bergson, since Marcel Proust and Sigmund Freud facilitate this victory. To contextualize the second section of “Motifs”, where Benjamin discusses the novelist’s “immanent critique of Bergson” this essay offers a reading of “On the Image of Proust” as a propadeutic to Benjamin’s privileging of “Baudelaire” over “Bergson” in the first section of “Motifs” to broach the destinies of diminished perception before he turns to Freud in the third section. Drawing upon Freud’s thermodynamic model of a selective and protective perceptual-conscious system from Beyond the Pleasure Principle, Benjamin explains how perception calcifies in adapting to industrialism. Notably, however, his “energetics” does not remain bound by closed-system economic premises insofar as he conceives Baudelaire’s correspondances as an antidote to reification and modernization fatigue. The resulting configuration emerges against the backdrop of a lament about the decline of tradition-infused, long-term experience [Erfahrung] that accompanies the rise of isolated experience [Erlebnis]. In tracking Benjamin’s seemingly melancholic emplotment of the literary image between “Proust” and “Baudelaire”, the essay ultimately focuses on how he amplifies its sociohistorical potential to attest to the dehiscence of tradition as a community-sustaining force. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue New Encounters between Literature and Philosophy)
Open AccessArticle Nietzsche’s “Love” for Socrates
Humanities 2015, 4(1), 3-16; doi:10.3390/h4010003
Received: 13 October 2014 / Accepted: 10 December 2014 / Published: 13 January 2015
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Abstract
In this essay I contest the prevailing view that Nietzsche almost exclusively criticizes Socrates, by a careful consideration of his encounter with Socrates in the Birth of Tragedy and Twilight of the Idols. By showing that in Nietzsche’s own sense he “loved” Socrates,
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In this essay I contest the prevailing view that Nietzsche almost exclusively criticizes Socrates, by a careful consideration of his encounter with Socrates in the Birth of Tragedy and Twilight of the Idols. By showing that in Nietzsche’s own sense he “loved” Socrates, I am able to raise a number of important issues for further consideration. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue New Encounters between Literature and Philosophy)
Open AccessArticle The Community of Others or What is a Humanist Critique of Empire?
Humanities 2014, 3(4), 699-710; doi:10.3390/h3040699
Received: 4 September 2014 / Revised: 20 October 2014 / Accepted: 21 October 2014 / Published: 1 December 2014
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Abstract
The essay argues that the perceived waning of the influence of the Humanities (Literature, Continental Philosophy, Art, and Religion) and their irrelevance to contemporary problems of globalization and environmental issues is due to a limited exploration of the notion of interdisciplinarity. The essay
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The essay argues that the perceived waning of the influence of the Humanities (Literature, Continental Philosophy, Art, and Religion) and their irrelevance to contemporary problems of globalization and environmental issues is due to a limited exploration of the notion of interdisciplinarity. The essay suggests that, insofar as contemporary power relations pose a problem for our conception of human-being, the resources offered by the humanities acquire a renewed value and power for thinking through the era of the anthropocene. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue New Encounters between Literature and Philosophy)
Open AccessArticle Action versus Movement: A Rebuttal of J. M. Bernstein on Rancière
Humanities 2014, 3(4), 687-698; doi:10.3390/h3040687
Received: 3 September 2014 / Revised: 3 November 2014 / Accepted: 7 November 2014 / Published: 19 November 2014
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Abstract
Rebutting J. M. Bernstein’s interpretation of Jacques Rancière’s aesthetics in an essay where Bernstein uses Rancière to praise classic Hollywood cinema, the present article turns to a series of recent essays and a lecture by Rancière to argue that, pace Bernstein, for Rancière
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Rebutting J. M. Bernstein’s interpretation of Jacques Rancière’s aesthetics in an essay where Bernstein uses Rancière to praise classic Hollywood cinema, the present article turns to a series of recent essays and a lecture by Rancière to argue that, pace Bernstein, for Rancière the conditions that demanded 19th-century modernism’s critique of the intertwined concepts of narrative and action still prevail today, in the era of entertainment cinema. The egalitarian social condition foreshadowed by the aesthetic for Rancière demands suspension of the very conditions of domination of nature and passive spectacle endemic to contemporary life. In other words, my essay argues that Rancière must and does remain committed to a version of aesthetic modernism, albeit one founded in an undoubted realism and a concomitant ideal of social equality. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue New Encounters between Literature and Philosophy)
Open AccessArticle Ambiguity, Ambivalence and Extravagance in The Hunger Games
Humanities 2014, 3(4), 675-686; doi:10.3390/h3040675
Received: 1 September 2014 / Revised: 15 October 2014 / Accepted: 29 October 2014 / Published: 17 November 2014
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Abstract
I argue that Katniss Everdeen from The Hunger Games is an emblem of what Julia Kristeva calls the “extravagant girl” who wants to have it all and to be the best at everything. Katniss has an ambiguous gender identity, both masculine and feminine,
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I argue that Katniss Everdeen from The Hunger Games is an emblem of what Julia Kristeva calls the “extravagant girl” who wants to have it all and to be the best at everything. Katniss has an ambiguous gender identity, both masculine and feminine, paternal and maternal. And she has ambivalent desires. I conclude that this ambiguity and ambivalence open up new possibilities for girls and initiate an aesthetics of ambiguity. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue New Encounters between Literature and Philosophy)
Open AccessArticle An Archeology of Fragments
Humanities 2014, 3(4), 585-605; doi:10.3390/h3040585
Received: 15 August 2014 / Revised: 18 September 2014 / Accepted: 19 September 2014 / Published: 24 October 2014
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Abstract
This is a short (fragmentary) history of fragmentary writing from the German Romantics (F. W. Schlegel, Friedrich Hölderlin) to modern and contemporary concrete or visual poetry. Such writing is (often deliberately) a critique of the logic of subsumption that tries to assimilate whatever
[...] Read more.
This is a short (fragmentary) history of fragmentary writing from the German Romantics (F. W. Schlegel, Friedrich Hölderlin) to modern and contemporary concrete or visual poetry. Such writing is (often deliberately) a critique of the logic of subsumption that tries to assimilate whatever is singular and irreducible into totalities of various categorical or systematic sorts. Arguably, the fragment (parataxis) is the distinctive feature of literary Modernism, which is a rejection, not of what precedes it, but of what Max Weber called “the rationalization of the world” (or Modernity) whose aim is to keep everything, including all that is written, under surveillance and control. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue New Encounters between Literature and Philosophy)
Open AccessArticle Bridging the Divide: Literature, Dao and the Case for Subjective Access in the Thought of Su Shi
Humanities 2014, 3(4), 567-584; doi:10.3390/h3040567
Received: 19 August 2014 / Revised: 8 October 2014 / Accepted: 13 October 2014 / Published: 23 October 2014
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Abstract
In the 11th century in China, there was an unusual moment in which a number of philosophers, later associated with the Daoxue—or Neo-Confucian—school, confronted what they perceived as a long-standing sense of disjunction between inner, subjective reality and the structured patterns of
[...] Read more.
In the 11th century in China, there was an unusual moment in which a number of philosophers, later associated with the Daoxue—or Neo-Confucian—school, confronted what they perceived as a long-standing sense of disjunction between inner, subjective reality and the structured patterns of the cosmos. One way they sought to overcome this disjunction was by positing new theories of the cosmos that focused on the underlying, shared reality behind the myriad differentiations of phenomena. A potential tension was born that affected how thinkers understood the relationship between wen 文 (writing, literature, culture) and Dao 道 (the cosmic process, the ultimate reality, the normative path). Some thinkers, like Zhou Dunyi 周敦頤 (1017–1073), believed that wen was simply a vehicle for carrying the Dao, and was thus, implicitly, dispensable. This idea was met with resistance from one of the leading intellectual figures of the time—the philosopher, poet and statesman Su Shi 蘇軾 (1037–1101). While some of Su’s contemporaries, in their attempts to demonstrate that the world was real, and that truth was knowable, downplayed the role of individual experience and perception, Su stressed the necessity of subjective, individual experience as giving access, and concrete expression, to Dao. Su’s philosophical project came in the form of defending the enterprise of wen—writing as a creative, individual endeavor—and asserting that the quest for unity with the Dao could only be realized through direct, personal engagement in wen and other forms of meaningful practice. Through his philosophy of wen, Su sought to show that the search for truth, meaning and order did not—and could not—be achieved by transcending subjective experience. Instead, it had to be carried out at the point of encounter between self and the world, in the realm of practice. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue New Encounters between Literature and Philosophy)
Open AccessArticle No Lords A-Leaping: Fanon, C.L.R. James, and the Politics of Invention
Humanities 2014, 3(4), 517-545; doi:10.3390/h3040517
Received: 21 July 2014 / Revised: 25 September 2014 / Accepted: 25 September 2014 / Published: 2 October 2014
Cited by 2 | PDF Full-text (136 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
What happens to Fanonism when, instead of resistance or liberation, it becomes a discourse of invention? What happens to Fanon’s critique of colonialism and his imagining of a decolonial future, when that critique and imagining are staked not on the refusal of racial
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What happens to Fanonism when, instead of resistance or liberation, it becomes a discourse of invention? What happens to Fanon’s critique of colonialism and his imagining of a decolonial future, when that critique and imagining are staked not on the refusal of racial humanity itself (in the sense of an appeal to a “new humanism”…), but in the sense that Fanonism itself, as such, would be a discourse and reading of invention? In this essay I compare Fanon’s reading of invention with that of C.L.R. James’s reading of spontaneity in Notes on Dialectics. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue New Encounters between Literature and Philosophy)

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