Modernism and the Meaning of Corporate Persons
Do collectivities intend to act and speak like individuals, like persons? Long before announcing that corporate persons freely “speak” with money in Citizens United v. FEC (2010), the U.S. Supreme Court elaborated the legal fiction of American corporate personhood in the 1880s. Yet the speaking corporation exposed a fundamental philosophical question about collective intention, extending beyond the law and essential to modern American literature. The possibility that collective entities might mean to act and speak like us animated a diverse set of American writers, artists, and theorists of the corporation in the first half of the twentieth century, stimulating a revolution of thought on intention. Prof. Siraganian’s Modernism and the Meaning of Corporate Persons tells that story, offering the first multidisciplinary account of corporate personhood. Ranging from the legal analysis of Oliver Wendell Holmes, Jr., Frederic Maitland, and Harold Laski to the creative writing of Gertrude Stein, F. Scott Fitzgerald, and George Schuyler, the book explores how disputes over corporate intention provoked conflicting theories of personhood, race, meaning, and interpretation still debated today.
Read more about it at Prof. Siraganian’s guest blog on Corporate Finance Lab.
Miracles et métaphysique
What Was Literary Impressionism?
“My task which I am trying to achieve is, by the power of the written word, to make you hear, to make you feel―it is, before all, to make you see. That―and no more, and it is every-thing.” So wrote Joseph Conrad in the best-known account of literary impressionism, the late nineteenth- and early twentieth-century movement featuring narratives that paint pictures in readers’ minds. If literary impressionism is anything, it is the project to turn prose into vision.
But vision of what? Michael Fried demonstrates that the impressionists sought to compel readers not only to see what was described and narrated but also to see writing itself. Fried reads Conrad, Stephen Crane, Frank Norris, W. H. Hudson, Ford Madox Ford, H. G. Wells, Jack London, Rudyard Kipling, Erskine Childers, R. B. Cunninghame Graham, Edgar Rice Burroughs, and Robert Louis Stevenson as avatars of the scene of writing. The upward-facing page, pen and ink, the look of written script, and the act of inscription are central to their work. These authors confront us with the sheer materiality of writing, albeit disguised and displaced so as to allow their narratives to proceed to their ostensible ends.
What Was Literary Impressionism? radically reframes a large body of important writing. One of the major art historians and art critics of his generation, Fried turns to the novel and produces a rare work of insight and erudition that transforms our understanding of some of the most challenging fiction in the English language.
Nisim, erouim, ve’plaeem ktanim: massa philosophit (“Miracles, Events, and Small Wonders: A Philosophical Essay,” trans. Irith Bouman)
- 2018 , Resling Publishers (Tel Aviv)
- Hent de Vries, author
Le miracle au coeur de l’ordinaire
The Art of Being: Poetics of the Novel and Existentialist Philosophy
The Art of Being is a powerful account of how the literary form of the novel reorients philosophy toward the meaning of existence. Yi-Ping Ong shows that for Kierkegaard, Sartre, and Beauvoir, the form of the novel in its classic phase yields the conditions for reconceptualizing the nature of self-knowledge, freedom, and the world. Their discovery gives rise to a radically new poetics of the nineteenth- and twentieth-century realist novel.
For the existentialists, a paradox lies at the heart of the novel. As a work of art, the novel exists as a given totality. At the same time, the capacity of the novel to compel belief in the free and independent existence of its characters depends on the absence of any perspective from which their lives may be viewed as a consummated whole. At stake in the poetics of the novel are the conditions under which knowledge of existence is possible. Ong’s reframing of foundational debates in novel theory takes us beyond old dichotomies of mind and world, interiority and totality, and form and mimesis. It illuminates existential dimensions of novelistic realism overlooked by empirical and sociological approaches.
Bringing together philosophy, novel theory, and intellectual history with groundbreaking readings of Tolstoy, Eliot, Austen, James, Flaubert, and Zola, The Art of Being reveals how the novel engages in its very form with philosophically rich notions of self-knowledge, freedom, authority, world, and the unfinished character of human life.
The Ascent of Affect: Genealogy and Critique
In recent years, emotions have become a major, vibrant topic of research not merely in the biological and psychological sciences but throughout a wide swath of the humanities and social sciences as well. Yet, surprisingly, there is still no consensus on their basic nature or workings.
Ruth Leys’s brilliant, much anticipated history, therefore, is a story of controversy and disagreement. The Ascent of Affect focuses on the post–World War II period, when interest in emotions as an object of study began to revive. Leys analyzes the ongoing debate over how to understand emotions, paying particular attention to the continual conflict between camps that argue for the intentionality or meaning of emotions but have trouble explaining their presence in non-human animals and those that argue for the universality of emotions but struggle when the question turns to meaning. Addressing the work of key figures from across the spectrum, considering the potentially misleading appeal of neuroscience for those working in the humanities, and bringing her story fully up to date by taking in the latest debates, Leys presents here the most thorough analysis available of how we have tried to think about how we feel.
During the twenty years following Caravaggio’s death, his revolutionary precedent inspired the creation of a remarkable body of paintings. Drawing together works by Bartolomeo Manfredi, Valentin de Boulogne, Nicolas Tournier, Nicolas Régnier, Cecco del Caravaggio, and the young Jusepe de Ribera, Michael Fried examines the nature of this later generation’s engagement with Caravaggio. The magnitude and interest of their achievements have long been recognized, but existing scholarship has touched only the surface. Fried approaches his topic with seriousness and sophistication, revealing the density of meaning and sheer pictorial ambition in the works of the painters known as the Caravaggisti.
Accessibly written, this beautifully illustrated book combines an account of works by Manfredi, Valentin, Tournier, Regnier, and Ribera with a detailed case study of Cecco del Caravaggio’s Resurrection (1619–20), and concludes by surveying a group of paintings by Guercino, a painter not counted among the Caravaggisti, but whose strategies in relation to the viewer aligned him with their interests. Fried moves with agility between broad and focused fields of vision. In his final remarks, he makes a compelling case for understanding these paintings in relation to the thought of René Descartes.
Promesse du Bonheur
Michael Fried (born 1939) is as much a poet as he is a critic. His experiences among artworks and art-world luminaries have resulted in a canonized body of criticism, but they have also provided the raw material for many of the poems in his newest collection, Promesse du Bonheur. Fried’s passion, lyricism and humor–lauded by authors such as Allen Grossman and J.M. Coetzee–are on display as he explores great minds and great works of art that have moved him. Along the way, Fried reveals himself to the reader: he is at once a student, unsure of himself, a young man, ambitious and in love, a committed champion of artists and a poet, transmuting the world around him. The book combines the 80 poems, a mix of lyric and prose poems, with 33 photographs–most of them made, all of them chosen by renowned American photographer James Welling.
Another Light: Jacques-Louis David to Thomas Demand
In this richly illustrated book, Michael Fried—one of the most esteemed and influential art critics and art historians working today—has gathered eight major essays written between 1993 and 2013, on topics ranging from Jacques-Louis David, Théodore Géricault, and Caspar David Friedrich through Gustave Caillebotte and Roger Fry to recent films by Douglas Gordon and Thomas Demand. Gustave Courbet and Edouard Manet, too, are distinct presences along with, in the background, the great art critic Denis Diderot and, in the case of Friedrich, the philosopher Immanuel Kant. As always in Fried’s writing, the emphasis falls equally on observation and argument: never have these artists (and one critic, Fry) been subjected to so searching a gaze, and never has the meaning of their respective enterprises been laid bare with comparable clarity and force. Another hallmark of Fried’s work is its extraordinary originality, and that too is fully in evidence throughout this remarkable book, which will add to his reputation as one of the indispensable thinkers of our time.
Love and Forgiveness for a More Just World
One can love and not forgive or out of love decide not to forgive. Or one can forgive but not love, or choose to forgive but not love the ones forgiven. Love and forgiveness follow parallel and largely independent paths, a truth we fail to acknowledge when we pressure others to both love and forgive. Individuals in conflict, sparring social and ethnic groups, warring religious communities, and insecure nations often do not need to pursue love and forgiveness to achieve peace of mind and heart. They need to remain attentive to the needs of others, an alertness that prompts either love or forgiveness to respond.
By reorienting our perception of these enduring phenomena, the contributors to this volume inspire new applications for love and forgiveness in an increasingly globalized and no longer quite secular world. With contributions by the renowned French philosophers Jacques Derrida and Jean-Luc Marion, the poet Haleh Liza Gafori, and scholars of religion (Leora Batnitzky, Nils F. Schott, Hent de Vries), psychoanalysis (Albert Mason, Orna Ophir), Islamic and political philosophy (Sari Nusseibeh), and the Bible and literature (Regina Schwartz), this anthology reconstructs the historical and conceptual lineage of love and forgiveness and their fraught relationship over time. By examining how we have used―and misused―these concepts, the authors advance a better understanding of their ability to unite different individuals and emerging groups around a shared engagement for freedom and equality, peace and solidarity.
Paul and the Philosophers
The apostle Paul has reemerged as a force on the contemporary philosophical scene. Some of the most powerful recent affirmations of nonrepresentational, materialist, and event-oriented philosophies repeat topics and tropes of the ancient apostle. Paul is appropriated both for and against Kantian cosmopolitanism, psychoanalytic models of subjectivity and power, Schmittian political theologies, Derridean messianism, political universalism, and an ongoing refashioning of identity politics within postsecular contexts.
This book provides the most comprehensive constellation to date of current thinking about Paul and his cultural or philosophical “afterlives” in ancient, modern, and contemporary contexts.
Marginal Modernity: The Aesthetics of Dependency from Kierkegaard to Joyce
Two ways of understanding the aesthetic organization of literary works have come down to us from the late 18th century and dominate discussions of European modernism today: the aesthetics of autonomy, associated with the self-sufficient work of art, and the aesthetics of fragmentation, practiced by the avant-gardes. In this revisionary study, Leonardo Lisi argues that these models rest on assumptions about the nature of truth and existence that cannot be treated as exhaustive of modernist form.
Lisi traces an alternative aesthetics of dependency that provides a different formal structure, philosophical foundation, and historical condition for modernist texts. Taking Europe’s Scandinavian periphery as his point of departure, Lisi examines how Søren Kierkegaard and Henrik Ibsen imagined a response to the changing conditions of modernity different from those at the European core, one that subsequently influenced Henry James, Hugo von Hofmannsthal, Rainer Maria Rilke, and James Joyce.
Combining close readings with a broader revision of the nature and genealogy of modernism, Marginal Modernity challenges what we understand by modernist aesthetics, their origins, and their implications for how we conceive of our relation to the modern world.
Flaubert’s “Gueuloir”: On “Madame Bovary” and “Salammbô”
Gustave Flaubert, one of the key figures in literary modernism, is famous for his determined pursuit of stylistic perfection. This notably involved the attempt to eliminate from his prose all sorts of assonances, consonances, and repetitions, in large measure by reading his sentences in a loud voice—the test of what he called the gueuloir (from gueuler, to yell). And yet when one examines closely the prose in his first novel, Madame Bovary, one becomes aware of a host of repetitions that appear to go directly against his stylistic ideal, revealing a level of “resistance” to that ideal at the very heart of his writing process.
In this book Michael Fried presents two long essays: the first on Madame Bovary, in which the problem of critical understanding posed by this discovery is explored in depth; and the second on Flaubert’s remarkable second novel, Salammbô, in which the conflict between the drive for perfection and certain automatistic tendencies in Madame Bovary is replaced by a determination to extend the rule of authorial will throughout every aspect and level of the text. Furthermore, drawing on his wide knowledge of nineteenth-century French painting and criticism, Fried suggests that there exist strong analogies between what goes on in Flaubert’s writing and what can be seen to take place in the art of Courbet, Manet, and Legros.
Modernism’s Other Work: The Art Object’s Political Life
Modernism’s Other Work challenges deeply held critical beliefs about the meaning-in particular the political meaning-of modernism’s commitment to the work of art as an object detached from the world. Ranging over works of poetry, fiction, painting, sculpture, and film, it argues that modernism’s core aesthetic problem-the artwork’s status as an object, and a subject’s relation to it-poses fundamental questions of agency, freedom, and politics. With fresh accounts of works by canonical figures such as William Carlos Williams and Marcel Duchamp, and transformative readings of less-studied writers such as William Gaddis and Amiri Baraka, Siraganian reinterprets the relationship between aesthetic autonomy and politics. Through attentive readings, the study reveals how political questions have always been modernism’s critical work, even when writers such as Gertrude Stein and Wyndham Lewis boldly assert the art object’s immunity from the world’s interpretations. Reorienting our understanding of the period, Siraganian demonstrates that the freedom of the art object from the reader’s meaning presented a way to imagine an individual’s complicated liberty within the state. Offering readers an original encounter with modernism, Modernism’s Other Work will interest literary and art historians, literary theorists, critics, and scholars in cultural studies.
Four Honest Outlaws: Sala, Ray, Marioni, Gordon
In this strongly argued and characteristically original book, Michael Fried considers the work of four contemporary artists–video artist and photographer Anri Sala, sculptor Charles Ray, painter Joseph Marioni, and video artist and intervener in movies Douglas Gordon. He shows how their respective projects are best understood as engaging in a variety of ways with some of the core themes and issues associated with high modernism, and indeed with its prehistory in French painting and art criticism from Diderot on. Four Honest Outlaws thus continues the author’s exploration of the critical and philosophical territory opened up by his earlier book, the magisterial Why Photography Matters as Art as Never Before. It presents a vision of the most important contemporary art as not only not repudiating modernism in the name of postmodernism in any of the latter’s many forms and manifestations, but also actually as committed to dialectically renewing certain crucial qualities and values that modernism and premodernism brought to the fore, above all those of presentness and anti-theatricality.
Four Honest Outlaws takes its title from a line in a Bob Dylan song, “To live outside the law you must be honest,” meaning in this case that each of the four artists has found his own unsanctioned path to extraordinary accomplishment, in part by defying the ordinary norms and expectations of the contemporary art world. Filled with stunning images throughout and accompanied by a DVD illustrating works by Sala and Gordon discussed in its pages, Four Honest Outlaws is sure to provoke controversy even as it makes a dramatic bid to further transform the terms in which the art of the present should be understood.
The Moment of Caravaggio
This is a groundbreaking examination of one of the most important artists in the Western tradition by one of the leading art historians and critics of the past half-century. In his first extended consideration of the Italian Baroque painter Michelangelo Merisi da Caravaggio (1573-1610), Michael Fried offers a transformative account of the artist’s revolutionary achievement. Based on the A. W. Mellon Lectures in the Fine Arts delivered at the National Gallery of Art, The Moment of Caravaggio displays Fried’s unique combination of interpretive brilliance, historical seriousness, and theoretical sophistication, providing sustained and unexpected readings of a wide range of major works, from the early Boy Bitten by a Lizard to the late Martyrdom of Saint Ursula. And with close to 200 color images, The Moment of Caravaggio is as richly illustrated as it is closely argued. The result is an electrifying new perspective on a crucial episode in the history of European painting.
Focusing on the emergence of the full-blown “gallery picture” in Rome during the last decade of the sixteenth century and the first decades of the seventeenth, Fried draws forth an expansive argument, one that leads to a radically revisionist account of Caravaggio’s relation to the self-portrait; of the role of extreme violence in his art, as epitomized by scenes of decapitation; and of the deep structure of his epoch-defining realism. Fried also gives considerable attention to the art of Caravaggio’s great rival, Annibale Carracci, as well as to the work of Caravaggio’s followers, including Orazio and Artemisia Gentileschi, Bartolomeo Manfredi, and Valentin de Boulogne.
How the West Was Won: Essays on Literary Imagination, the Canon, and the Christian Middle Ages for Burcht Pranger
How the West Was Won contains articles in three main areas of the humanities. It focuses on various aspects of literary imagination, with essays ranging from Petrarch to Voltaire; on the canon, with essays on western history as one of shifting cultural horizons and ideals, and including censorship; and on the Christian Middle Ages, when an interesting combination of religion and culture stimulated the monastic and intellectual experiments of Anselm of Canterbury and Peter Abelard. The volume is held together by the method of persistent questioning, in the tradition of the western church father and icon of the self Augustine, to discover what the values are that drive the culture of the West: where do they come from and what is their future? This volume is a Festschrift for Burcht Pranger of the University of Amsterdam.
Contributors are Frans-Willem Korsten, Ernst van den Hemel, Anselm Haverkamp, Joke Spaans, Alastair Hamilton, Madeleine Kasten, Piet de Rooy, Rokus de Groot, Peter Raedts, Irene Zwiep, Leen Spruit, Willemien Otten, Asja Szafraniec, Paola Marrati, Hent de Vries, Giselle de Nie, Bram Kempers, Bernard McGinn, Marcia L. Colish, Babette Hellemans, Ineke van’t Spijker, Arjo Vanderjagt, and Helmut Kohlenberger.
Why Photography Matters as Art as Never Before
Among the photographers and video-makers whose work receives serious attention in this powerfully argued book are Jeff Wall, Hiroshi Sugimoto, Cindy Sherman, Thomas Struth, Thomas Ruff, Andreas Gursky, Luc Delahaye, Rineke Dijkstra, Patrick Faigenbaum, Roland Fischer, Thomas Demand, Candida Höfer, Beat Streuli, Philip-Lorca diCorcia, Douglas Gordon and Philippe Parreno, James Welling, and Bernd and Hilla Becher. Future discussions of the new art photography will have no choice but to take a stand for or against Fried’s conclusions.
Gilles Deleuze: Cinema and Philosophy
In recent years, the recognition of Gilles Deleuze as one of the major philosophers of the twentieth century has heightened attention to his brilliant and complex writings on film. What is the place of Cinema 1 and Cinema 2 in the corpus of his philosophy? How and why does Deleuze consider cinema as a singular object of philosophical attention, a specific mode of thought? How does his philosophy of film combine and further his approaches to time, movement, and perception, and how does it produce an escape from subjectivity and a plunge into the immanence of images? How does it recode and utilize Henri Bergson’s thought and André Bazin’s film theory? What does it tell us about perceiving a world in images―indeed about our relation to the world?
These are the central questions addressed in Paola Marrati’s powerful and clear elucidation of Deleuze’s philosophy of film. Humanities, film studies, and social science scholars will find this book a valuable contribution to the philosophical literature on cinema and its pertinence in contemporary life.
Religion: Beyond a Concept (The Future of the Religious Past)
What do we talk about when we talk about “religion”? Is it an array of empirical facts about historical human civilizations? Or is religion what is in essence unpredictable―perhaps the very emergence of the new? In what ways are the legacies of religion―its powers, words, things, and gestures―reconfiguring themselves as the elementary forms of life in the twenty-first century?
Given the Latin roots of the word religion and its historical Christian uses, what sense, if any, does it make to talk about “religion” in other traditions? Where might we look for common elements that would enable us to do so? Has religion as an overarching concept lost all its currency, or does it ineluctably return―sometimes in unexpected ways―the moment we attempt to do without it?
This book explores the difficulties and double binds that arise when we ask “What is religion?” Offering a marvelously rich and diverse array of perspectives, it begins the task of rethinking “religion” and “religious studies” in a contemporary world.
Opening essays on the question “What is religion?” are followed by clusters exploring the relationships among religion, theology, and philosophy and the links between religion, politics, and law. Pedagogy is the focus of the following section. Religion is then examined in particular contexts, from classical times to the present Pentacostal revival, leading into an especially rich set of essays on religion, materiality, and mediatization. The final section grapples with the ever-changing forms that “religion” is taking, such as spirituality movements and responses to the ecological crisis.
Featuring the work of leading scholars from a wide array of disciplines, traditions, and cultures, Religion: Beyond a Concept will help set the agenda for religious studies for years to come. It is the first of five volumes in a collection entitled The Future of the Religious Past, the fruit of a major international research initiative funded by the Netherlands Organization for Scientific Research.
From Guilt to Shame: Auschwitz and After
Why has shame recently displaced guilt as a dominant emotional reference in the West? After the Holocaust, survivors often reported feeling guilty for living when so many others had died, and in the 1960s psychoanalysts and psychiatrists in the United States helped make survivor guilt a defining feature of the “survivor syndrome.” Yet the idea of survivor guilt has always caused trouble, largely because it appears to imply that, by unconsciously identifying with the perpetrator, victims psychically collude with power.
In From Guilt to Shame, Ruth Leys has written the first genealogical-critical study of the vicissitudes of the concept of survivor guilt and the momentous but largely unrecognized significance of guilt’s replacement by shame. Ultimately, Leys challenges the theoretical and empirical validity of the shame theory proposed by figures such as Silvan Tomkins, Eve Kosofsky Sedgwick, and Giorgio Agamben, demonstrating that while the notion of survivor guilt has depended on an intentionalist framework, shame theorists share a problematic commitment to interpreting the emotions, including shame, in antiintentionalist and materialist terms.
Political Theologies: Public Religions in a Post-Secular World
What has happened to religion in its present manifestations? In recent years, Enlightenment secularization, as it appeared in the global spread of political structures that relegate the sacred to a private sphere, seems suddenly to have foundered. Unexpectedly, it has discovered its own parochialism―has discovered, indeed, that secularization may never have taken place at all.
With the “return of the religious,” in all aspects of contemporary social, political, and religious life, the question of political theology―of the relation between “political” and “religious” domains―takes on new meaning and new urgency. In this groundbreaking book, distinguished scholars from many disciplines―philosophy, political theory, anthropology, classics, and religious studies―seek to take the full measure of this question in today’s world.
This book begins with the place of the gods in the Greek polis, then moves through Augustine’s two cities and early modern religious debates, to classic statements about political theology by such thinkers as Walter Benjamin and Carl Schmitt. Essays also consider the centrality of tolerance to liberal democracy, the recent French controversy over wearing the Muslim headscarf, and “Bush’s God talk.” The volume includes a historic discussion between Jürgen Habermas and Joseph Cardinal Ratzinger, now Pope Benedict XVI, concerning the prepolitical moral foundations of a republic, and it concludes with explorations of new, more open ways of conceptualizing society.
Genesis and Trace: Derrida Reading Husserl and Heidegger
In this study, Paola Marrati approaches―in an extremely insightful, rigorous, and well-argued way―the question of the philosophical sources of Derrida’s thought through a consideration of his reading of both Husserl and Heidegger. A central focus of the book is the analysis of the concepts of genesis and trace as they define Derrida’s thinking of historicity, time, and subjectivity. Notions such as the contamination of the empirical and the transcendental, dissemination and writing, are explained as key categories establishing a guiding thread that runs through Derrida’s early and later works. Whereas in his discussion of Husserl Derrida problematizes the relationship between the ideality of meaning and the singularity of its historical production, in his interpretation of Heidegger he challenges the very idea of the originary finitude of temporality. This book is essential reading not only for those interested in the philosophical roots of deconstruction, but for all those interested in the central questions of history and temporality, subjectivity and language, that pervade contemporary debates in cultural, literary, and visual theory alike.
Minimal Theologies: Critiques of Secular Reason in Adorno and Levinas
What, at this historical moment “after Auschwitz,” still remains of the questions traditionally asked by theology? What now is theology’s minimal degree? This magisterial study, the first extended comparison of the writings of Theodor W. Adorno and Emmanuel Levinas, explores remnants and echoes of religious forms in these thinkers’ critiques of secular reason, finding in the work of both a “theology in pianissimo” constituted by the trace of a transcendent other. The author analyzes, systematizes, and formalizes this idea of an other of reason. In addition, he frames these thinkers’ innovative projects within the arguments of such intellectual heirs as Jürgen Habermas and Jacques Derrida, defending their work against later accusations of “performative contradiction” (by Habermas) or “empiricism” (by Derrida) and in the process casting important new light on those later writers as well. Attentive to rhetorical and rational features of Adorno’s and Levinas’s texts, his investigations of the concepts of history, subjectivity, and language in their writings provide a radical interpretation of their paradoxical modes of thought and reveal remarkable and hitherto unsuspected parallels between their philosophical methods, parallels that amount to a plausible way of overcoming certain impasses in contemporary philosophical thinking. In Adorno, this takes the form of a dialectical critique of dialectics; in Levinas, that of a phenomenological critique of phenomenology, each of which sheds new light on ancient and modern questions of metaphysics, ethics, and aesthetics. For the English-language publication, the author has extensively revised and updated the prize-winning German version.
The Next Bend in the Road
“In America today there is no lyric work more compelling and well made than To the Center of the Earth,” Allen Grossman wrote ten years ago of Michael Fried’s last collection of poetry. Fried’s new book, The Next Bend in the Road, is a powerfully coherent gathering of lyric and prose poems that has the internal scope of a novel with a host of characters, from the poet’s wife and daughter to Franz Kafka, Paul Cézanne, Osip Mandelstam, Sigmund Freud, Gisèle Lestrange, and many others; transformative encounters with works of art, literature, and philosophy, including Heinrich von Kleist’s “The Earthquake in Chile,” Giuseppe Ungaretti’s “Veglia,” and Edouard Manet’s Le Déjeuner sur l’herbe; and, running through the book from beginning to end, a haunted awareness of the entanglement of the noblest accomplishments and the most intimate joys with the horrors of modern history.
Gilles Deleuze: Cine y Filosofia
Gilles Deleuze : Cinéma et Philosophie
Menzel’s Realism: Art and Embodiment in Nineteenth-Century Berlin
Adolf Menzel was one of the most important German artists of the 19th century, yet he is scarcely known outside his native land. In this study a leading art historian argues that Menzel deserves to be recognized not only as one of the greatest painters and draftsmen of his century but also as a master realist whose work engages profoundly with an extraordinary range of issues – artistic, scientific, philosophical and socio-political. Michael Fried explores Menzel’s large and fascinating oeuvre, and in so doing seeks to make the artist’s achievement accessible to a wide audience. Fried compares Menzel’s art with that of the 19th-century’s two other great realist painters, Courbet and Eakins. Analyzing paintings, drawings and prints from all stages of Menzel’s long career, he asserts that the distinctive quality of Menzel’s realism is found in his concern with evoking the multi-sensory, fully-embodied relationships of persons with the universe of physical objects, tools and situations. Fried establishes connections between Menzel’s work and a broad array of extra-artistic contexts, among them the writings of the empathy theorists, Kierkegaard on reflection and the everyday, Helmholtz on vision, Fontane’s “Effi Briest”, Duranty’s art criticism, Simmel on modern urban life, E.T.A. Hoffmann’s “art of seeing”, and Benjamin on traces. He also explores the complex relationship between Menzel’s version of “extreme” realism and the exactly contemporary technology of photography. The resulting work establishes Menzel as a key artist of modernity.
Religion and Media
The latter part of the twentieth century saw an explosion of new media that effected profound changes in human categories of communication. At the same time, a “return to religion” occurred on a global scale. The twenty-five contributors to this volume―who include such influential thinkers as Jacques Derrida, Jean-Luc Nancy, Talal Asad, and James Siegel―confront the conceptual, analytical, and empirical difficulties involved in addressing the complex relationship between religion and media. The book’s introductory section offers a prolegomenon to the multiple problems raised by an interdisciplinary approach to these multifaceted phenomena. The essays in the following part provide exemplary approaches to the historical and systematic background to the study of religion and media, ranging from the biblical prohibition of images and its modern counterparts, through theological discussion of imagery in Ignatius and Luther, to recent investigations into icons and images that “think” in Jean-Luc Marion and Gilles Deleuze. The third part presents case studies by anthropologists and scholars of comparative religion who deal with religion and media in Indonesia, India, Japan, South Africa, Venezuela, Iran, Poland, Turkey, present-day Germany, and Australia. The book concludes with two remarkable documents: a chapter from Theodor W. Adorno’s study of the relationship between religion and media in the context of political agitation (The Psychological Technique of Martin Luther Thomas’ Radio Addresses) and a section from Niklas Luhmann’s monumental Die Gesellschaft der Gesellschaft (Society as a Social System).
Religion and Violence: Philosophical Perspectives from Kant to Derrida
Does violence inevitably shadow our ethico-political engagements and decisions, including our understandings of identity, whether collective or individual? Questions that touch upon ethics and politics can greatly benefit from being rephrased in terms borrowed from the arsenal of religious and theological figures, because the association of such figures with a certain violence keeps moralism, whether in the form of fideism or humanism, at bay. Religion and Violence: Philosophical Perspectives from Kant to Derrida‘s careful posing of such questions and rearticulations pioneers new modalities for systematic engagement with religion and philosophy alike.
Trauma: A Genealogy
Psychic trauma is one of the most frequently invoked ideas in the behavioral sciences and the humanities today. Yet bitter disputes have marked the discussion of trauma ever since it first became an issue in the 1870s, growing even more heated in recent years following official recognition of post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD).
In a book that is bound to ignite controversy, Ruth Leys investigates the history of the concept of trauma. She explores the emergence of multiple personality disorder, Freud’s approaches to trauma, medical responses to shellshock and combat fatigue, Sándor Ferenczi’s revisions of psychoanalysis, and the mutually reinforcing, often problematic work of certain contemporary neurobiological and postmodernist theorists. Leys argues that the concept of trauma has always been fundamentally unstable, oscillating uncontrollably between two competing models, each of which tends at its limit to collapse into the other.
A powerfully argued work of intellectual history, Trauma will rewrite the terms of future discussion of its subject.
Post-Theism: Reframing the Judeo-Christian Tradition
What, if anything remains of religion after the demise of traditional theism and the theologies based upon it? What are the consequences of so-called Post-theism for the modern scholarly study of religion (in Religionswissenschaft and philosophical theology or church dogmatics, in the philosophy of religion as well as in the more recent phenomenon of comparative religious studies)? written in honor of Professor Hendrik Johan Adriaanse whose intellectual trajectory, recounted here in extensive personal reflections, has lead to an incisive inquiry into the possibilities of thinking and experiencing “After Theism” (the title of a fundamental article reprinted here). Reframing the Judeo-Christian Tradition raises this question from three different perspectives : first, by spelling out the historical and intellectual backgrounds that have led to the supposed end of theism as it had been known through the ages; secondly, by discussing the systematic relationship between the disciplines of theology and competing concepts of rationality; and, thirdly, by sketching out the contours of a philosophical thought that ventures beyond the most tenacious classical and modern presuppositions of theism. Along the way, the contributors explore a variety of ways in which the concepts and arguments, imagery and rhetoric of the Judeo-Christian traditions are in need and in the process of being constantly displaced. teach Philosophy, the history of Christianity, and Metaphysics, respectively, at the Erasmus University, The University of Groningen, and the University of Amsterdam.
Philosophy and the Turn to Religion
If religion once seemed to have played out its role in the intellectual and political history of Western secular modernity, it has now returned with a vengeance. In this engaging study, Hent de Vries argues that a turn to religion discernible in recent philosophy anticipates and accompanies this development in the contemporary world. Though the book reaches back to Immanuel Kant, Martin Heidegger, and earlier, it takes its inspiration from the tradition of French phenomenology, notably Emmanuel Levinas, Jean-Luc Marion, and, especially, Jacques Derrida. Tracing how Derrida probes the discourse on religion, its metaphysical presuppositions, and its transformations, de Vries shows how this author consistently foregrounds the unexpected alliances between a radical interrogation of the history of Western philosophy and the religious inheritance from which that philosophy has increasingly sought to set itself apart.
De Vries goes beyond formal analogies between the textual practices of deconstruction and so-called negative theology to address the necessity for a philosophical thinking that situates itself at once close to and at the farthest remove from traditional manifestations of the religious and the theological. This paradox is captured in the phrase adieu (à dieu), borrowed from Levinas, which signals at once a turn toward and a leave-taking from God―and which also gestures toward and departs from the other of this divine other, the possibility of radical evil. Only by confronting such uncanny and difficult figures, de Vries claims, can one begin to think and act upon the ethical and political imperatives of our day.
Art and Objecthood: Essays and Reviews
Much acclaimed and highly controversial, Michael Fried’s art criticism defines the contours of late modernism in the visual arts. This volume contains twenty-seven pieces, including the influential introduction to the catalog for Three American Painters, the text of his book Morris Louis, and the renowned “Art and Objecthood.” Originally published between 1962 and 1977, they continue to generate debate today. These are uncompromising, exciting, and impassioned writings, aware of their transformative power during a time of intense controversy about the nature of modernism and the aims and essence of advanced painting and sculpture.
Ranging from brief reviews to extended essays, and including major critiques of Jackson Pollock, Morris Louis, Kenneth Noland, Jules Olitski, Frank Stella, and Anthony Caro, these writings establish a set of basic terms for understanding key issues in high modernism: the viability of Clement Greenberg’s account of the infralogic of modernism, the status of figuration after Pollock, the centrality of the problem of shape, the nature of pictorial and sculptural abstraction, and the relationship between work and beholder. In a number of essays Fried contrasts the modernist enterprise with minimalist or literalist art, and, taking a position that remains provocative to this day, he argues that minimalism is essentially a genre of theater, hence artistically self-defeating.
For this volume Fried has also provided an extensive introductory essay in which he discusses how he became an art critic, clarifies his intentions in his art criticism, and draws crucial distinctions between his art criticism and the art history he went on to write. The result is a book that is simply indispensable for anyone concerned with modernist painting and sculpture and the task of art criticism in our time.
Manet’s Modernism: or, The Face of Painting in the 1860s
Manet’s Modernism is the culminating work in a trilogy of books by Michael Fried exploring the roots and genesis of pictorial modernism. Fried provides an entirely new understanding not only of the art of Manet and his generation but also of the way in which the Impressionist simplification of Manet’s achievement had determined subsequent accounts of pictorial modernism down to the present. Like Fried’s previous books, Manet’s Modernism is a milestone in the historiography of modern art.
Violence, Identity, and Self-Determination
With the collapse of the bipolar system of global rivalry that dominated world politics after the Second World War, and in an age that is seeing the return of “ethnic cleansing” and “identity politics,” the question of violence, in all of its multiple ramifications, imposes itself with renewed urgency. Rather than concentrating on the socioeconomic or political backgrounds of these historical changes, the contributors to this volume rethink the concept of violence, both in itself and in relation to the formation and transformation of identities, whether individual or collective, political or cultural, religious or secular. In particular, they subject the notion of self-determination to stringent scrutiny: is it to be understood as a value that excludes violence, in principle if not always in practice? Or is its relation to violence more complex and, perhaps, more sinister? Reconsideration of the concepts, the practice, and even the critique of violence requires an exploration of the implications and limitations of the more familiar interpretations of the terms that have dominated in the history of Western thought. To this end, the nineteen contributors address the concept of violence from a variety of perspectives in relation to different forms of cultural representation, and not in Western culture alone; in literature and the arts, as well as in society and politics; in philosophical discourse, psychoanalytic theory, and so-called juridical ideology, as well as in colonial and post-colonial practices and power relations. The contributors are Giorgio Agamben, Ali Behdad, Cathy Caruth, Jacques Derrida, Michael Dillon, Peter Fenves, Stathis Gourgouris, Werner Hamacher, Beatrice Hanssen, Anselm Haverkamp, Marian Hobson, Peggy Kamuf, M. B. Pranger, Susan M. Shell, Peter van der Veer, Hent de Vries, Cornelia Vismann, and Samuel Weber.
To the Center of the Earth
A collection of new and previously published poems, including “Other hands,” “A visit to David Smith,” “Grandma Becky,” and “The light of the moon.”
Enlightenments: Encounters between Critical Theory and Contemporary French Thought
“‘This book,’ Michael Fried’s work opens, ‘was written not so much chapter by chapter as painting by painting over a span of roughly ten years.’ Courbet’s Realism is a magnificent work and its very first sentence brings us up against the qualities of mind of its author, qualities that make it as impressive as it is. It allows us to reconstruct the keen eye, the commitment to perception, the gift of rapt concentration, the conviction that great paintings are not necessarily understood easily, and the further conviction that a great painter deserves to get from us as good as he gives. By drawing on these qualities, Fried achieves something out of reach for all but a handful of his colleagues. In his writing, art history takes on some of the character of art itself. It is driven by the same stubborn resolve to open our eyes.”—Richard Wollheim, San Francisco Review of Books
Courbet’s Realism is clearly a major contribution to the highly active field of Courbet studies. . . . But to contribute here and now is necessarily also to contribute to central debates about art history itself, and so the book is also—I hesitate to say ‘more importantly,’ because of the way object and method are woven together in it—a major contribution to current attempts to rethink the foundations and objects of art history. . . . It will not be an easy book to come to terms with; for all its engagement with contemporary literary theory and related developments, it is not an application of anything, and its deeply thought-through arguments will not fall easily in line with the emerging shapes of the various ‘new art histories’ that tap many of the same theoretical resources. At this moment, there may be nothing more valuable than such a work.”—Stephen Melville, Art History
Defining American Psychology: The Correspondence between Adolf Meyer and Edward Bradford Titchener
In 1909 and again in 1918, Meyer, America’s foremost psychiatrist, and Titchener, America’s leading psychologist, exchanged a series of letters. Never before published, their correspondence represents a sustained attempt to define psychology as a science and to determine its place among the other cognitive disciplines of the age. Annotated, with important introductory essays by Ruth Leys and Rand B. Evans. Annotation copyright Book News, Inc. Portland, Or.
Absorption and Theatricality: Painting and Beholder in the Age of Diderot
With this widely acclaimed work, Fried revised the way in which eighteenth-century French painting and criticism were viewed and understood.
“A reinterpretation supported by immense learning and by a series of brilliantly perceptive readings of paintings and criticism alike. . . . An exhilarating book.”—John Barrell, London Review of Books
Realism, Writing, Disfiguration: On Thomas Eakins and Stephen Crane
“A highly original and gripping account of the works of Eakins and Crane. That remarkable combination of close reading and close viewing which Fried uniquely commands is brought to bear on the problematic nature of the making of images, of texts, and of the self in nineteenth-century America.”—Svetlana Alpers, University of California, Berkeley
“An extraordinary achievement of scholarship and critical analysis. It is a book distinguished not only for its brilliance but for its courage, its grace and wit, its readiness to test its arguments in tough-minded ways, and its capacity to meet the challenge superbly. . . . This is a landmark in American cultural and intellectual studies.”—Sacvan Bercovitch, Harvard University