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Afterness: Figures of Following in Modern Thought and Aesthetics (Columbia Themes in Philosophy, Social Criticism, and the Arts)

By Gerhard Richter

Gerhard Richter's groundbreaking examine argues that the idea that of "afterness" is a key determine within the notion and aesthetics of modernity. It pursues questions reminiscent of: What does it suggest for anything to "follow" anything else? Does that which follows mark a transparent holiday with what got here ahead of it, or does it in truth tacitly perpetuate its predecessor by reason of its inevitable indebtedness to the phrases and prerequisites of that from which it claims to have departed? certainly, isn't the very act of breaking with, after which following upon, a manner of retroactively developing and fortifying that from which the holiday that set the move of following into movement had occurred?

The booklet explores the idea that and circulation of afterness as a privileged but uncanny type via shut readings of writers corresponding to Kant, Kafka, Heidegger, Bloch, Benjamin, Brecht, Adorno, Arendt, Lyotard, and Derrida. It exhibits how the vexed techniques of afterness, following, and coming after shed new gentle on a constellation of contemporary preoccupations, together with own and cultural reminiscence, translation, images, desire, and the historic and conceptual specificity of what has been termed "after Auschwitz." The study's quite a few analyses—across a heterogeneous choice of glossy writers and thinkers, varied old moments of articulation, and a variety of media—conspire to light up Lyotard's apodictic assertion that "after philosophy comes philosophy. however it has been altered through the 'after.'" As Richter's difficult learn demonstrates, a lot hinges on our interpretation of the "after." in any case, our such a lot basic assumptions bearing on glossy aesthetic illustration, conceptual discourse, neighborhood, subjectivity, and politics are at stake.

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Something follows one other in a temporal series that looks constantly to were conceptually regulated and epistemologically decided prematurely. but: the inferiority felt through the Romans towards their very own tradition compared to Greek tradition that went ahead of it; Schelling’s epoch-defining philosophy of nature, which understood itself, in a basic experience, as coming after Fichte’s philosophy of realization; the lengthy shadow of Goethe, from which later nineteenth-century German-language writers reminiscent of Keller, Stifter, Raabe, and Platen struggled to disencumber themselves, due to the fact this shadow appeared to condemn them to one of those epigonal literary lifestyles; the “anxiety of influence,” to rouse literary critic Harold Bloom’s once-famous word, felt by way of British Romantic poets while, within the wake of such earlier canonical poetry as Milton’s, they strove desperately to plan a nonderivative, supposedly “original” poetic voice; the lyric poetry of Hölderlin, written after, and in view of, the flight of the Greek gods in modernity; the political philosophy that crystallized within the aftermath of the French Revolution; or so-called media aesthetics, which advertises itself this present day as an existential shape coming after humanism and after the ascension of the pc to world wide supremacy—what these kind of and lots of different variegated kinds of skilled afterness have in universal is they entail excess of an easy sequential development in time. They name upon us to view the after in a brand new gentle, one who brings its usually unperceived methods of subtly channeling our conduct of notion and behaviour into sharper aid and demonstrates that its spectral indeterminacy can by no means completely be dispelled by way of its obvious self-evidence. A rigorous considering the after, even of an expansive, encompassing country of afterness, are usually not go back us to the language of assorted “post-isms,” the “end” of this or that paradigm, or the alleged “no-longer-possibles” that experience proved so impossible to resist to intellectuals and students through the earlier few many years. quite, anything else, anything extra primary, is at stake. In reflecting upon the good judgment and determine of afterness in sleek discourse, we're triggered to reconceive a deliberating the after as a type of after-thought or thinking-after, a Nach-denken. Our interrogation of the hyphen that either separates and connects nach and denken provokes a sequence of questions: what's intended while something is related to “follow” one other? Does what follows mark a transparent holiday with what comes prior to, or does it ironically perpetuate its predecessor by means of last absolute to the recommendations and stipulations of that from which it used to be proposal to have taken its go away? isn't the very act of breaking with, after which following upon, a fashion of retroactively developing and consolidating that which, within the example of being farewelled, has set into movement the very circulate of following? for instance, by way of mentioning their independence from the English motherland, the yankee colonists laid declare to an afterness that was once predicated on a holiday with colonial authority.

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