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 equipment and views range generally, they percentage a priority with the negativity of the paintings conceived when it comes to both its event and chance or its severe expression. Such negativity is neither nihilistic nor pessimistic yet matters the prestige of the art and its autonomy in terms of its context or its event. For either Blanchot and Adorno, negativity is the main to knowing the prestige of the art in post-Kantian aesthetics, and even though it exhibits how paintings expresses serious probabilities, albeit negatively, it additionally exhibits that artwork bears an irreducible ambiguity such that its that means can regularly negate itself. This ambiguity takes on an further fabric value whilst thought of in terms of 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 permits materiality to be proposal in its ambiguity.
In a sequence of wealthy and compelling readings, William S. Allen exhibits how an unique and rigorous mode of considering arises inside of Blanchot's early writings and the way Adorno's aesthetics will depend on a relation among language and materiality that has been generally ignored. in addition, by means of reconsidering the matter of the self reliant murals by way of literature, a important factor in modernist aesthetics is given a better severe and fabric relevance as a method of pondering that's summary and urban, rigorous and ambiguous. whereas examples of this sort of writing are available within the works of Blanchot and Beckett, the calls for that such texts position on readers purely make certain the demanding situations and the probabilities that literary autonomy poses to thought.
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Additional info for Aesthetics of Negativity: Blanchot, Adorno, and Autonomy
Modernism is thus the name for the mood in which the crisis of self-determination fully experiences itself. As a result, there are two sides to this mood—that of autonomy, which is concerned with the mode and form of this determination, and that of materiality, which is that existence of the “self ” both before and after its determination— along with the dialectic that both brings them together and holds them apart. Broadly speaking, the central question of this book is that of how this relation between autonomy and materiality occurs in the experience of literature and how it is affected by it.
18 Although Blanchot, like Adorno, would find this redevelopment of critique only in the most subtle negotiations of negativity—that is, in artworks, by virtue of their material deployment of linguisticality, which is what occurs in abstraction. This point enables us to see the different emphases adopted by Adorno and Blanchot in relation to commoditization, for Adorno is quite clear that exchange-value is not to be dismissed in its entirety. Rather, the purpose of critique in relation to the commodity-form is to understand how it operates in order to bring out the possibilities of a more fair exchange that lie latent within it and not simply to aspire to a putatively ideal state where use-value still holds sway.
But, as he would indicate later, these divergent emphases become hard to distinguish as each leads into the other. So while the Surrealists may be acclaimed for the manner in which they have brought the two slopes of linguistic materiality and conceptuality, concreteness and abstraction, into greater visibility, they still remained unaware of the contiguity of these two slopes or their profoundly alienating depths. And it is only in realizing these depths that we can fully appreciate the strangeness of language and thereby realize the extent of our impotence in relation to it.
Aesthetics of Negativity: Blanchot, Adorno, and Autonomy by William S. Allen