Head Cases

Head Cases

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While philosophy and psychoanalysis privilege language and conceptual distinctions and mistrust the image, the philosopher and psychoanalyst Julia Kristeva recognizes the power of art and the imagination to unblock important sources of meaning. She also appreciates the process through which creative acts counteract and transform feelings of violence and depression. Reviewing KristevaA•s corpus, Elaine P. Miller considers the intellectualA•s A’aesthetic ideaA“ and A’thought specularA“ in their capacity to reshape depressive thought on both the individual and cultural level. She revisits KristevaA•s reading of Walter Benjamin with reference to melancholic art and the imaginationA•s allegorical structure; her analysis of Byzantine iconoclasm in relation to FreudA•s psychoanalytic theory of negation and HegelA•s dialectical negativity; her understanding of Proust as an exemplary practitioner of sublimation; her rereading of Kant and Arendt in terms of art as an intentional lingering with foreignness; and her argument that forgiveness is both a philosophical and psychoanalytic method of transcending a A’stuckA“ existence. Focusing on specific artworks that illustrate KristevaA•s ideas, from ancient Greek tragedy to early photography, contemporary installation art, and film, Miller positions creative acts as a form of A’spiritual inoculationA“ against the violence of our society and its discouragement of thought and reflection.Adorno, Theodor W. Aesthetic Theory. Translated by Robert Hullot-Kentor. Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press, 1997. a€”a€”. The Culture Industry: Selected Essays on Mass Culture. Edited by J. M. Bernstein. London: Routledge, 1991.

Title:Head Cases
Author:Elaine Miller
Publisher:Columbia University Press - 2014-02-18


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