Ambiguous Subjects: Dissolution and Metamorphosis in the by Jennifer Wawrzinek

By Jennifer Wawrzinek

Within the heritage of principles, the cultured different types of the chic and the gruesome have exerted a robust strength over the cultural mind's eye. Ambiguous topics is among the first reports to ascertain the connection among those thoughts. Tracing the historical past of the elegant from the eighteenth century via Burke and Kant, Wawrzinek illustrates the ways that the chic has routinely been privileged as an inherently masculine and imperialist mode of expertise that polices and abjects the ugly to the margins of appropriate discourse, and how within which twentieth-century reconfigurations of the chic more and more allow the efficient situating of those ideas inside a dialogic relation as a way of instating a moral relation to others. This booklet examines the articulations of either the elegant and the gruesome in 3 postmodern texts. taking a look at novels by means of Nicole Brossard and Morgan Yasbincek, and the functionality paintings of The Women's Circus, Wawrzinek illuminates the ways that those writers and performers restructure the spatial and temporal parameters of the chic with a purpose to enable a variety of kinds of hugely contingent transcendence that often unavoidably stay when it comes to the ugly physique. Ambiguous topics illustrates how the chic and the ugly can co-exist in a fashion the place each one is dependent upon and is inflected throughout the different, therefore permitting a inspiration of individuality and of neighborhood as contingent, yet however very genuine, moments in time. Ambiguous matters is key studying for a person drawn to aesthetics, continental philosophy, gender experiences, literary conception, sociology and politics.

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Additional info for Ambiguous Subjects: Dissolution and Metamorphosis in the Postmodern Sublime. (Genus: Gender in Modern Culture)

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This recourse to an ethical and moral framework is of interest to twentieth-century (re)formulations of the sublime that attempt to use its force and power as a means for enabling the abject and the subaltern. Moreover, the tension in the sublime, between the faculties of imagination and reason, as the power of representation and that of the idea, opens a space within which transcendence can be reconfigured. In its Kantian formulation however, the sublime remains vertical: reason rises above the imagination, and the sensible world of the body is negated in favour of transcendent principles and realities.

The experience of the bombings was so horrific and terrifying that it seemed, as Spencer Weart argues, “less like a military action than a rupture of the very order of nature” (1988). This was rupture and transport without inflation or return. Victims of the attacks on Hiroshima and Nagasaki, the Hibakusha, often describe the phantom-like civilians wandering around in the aftermath of these explosions, horrifically mutilated and unable to speak. One Hibakusha, Takahashi Akihiro, remembers seeing A-bomb survivors “like a procession of ghosts”.

Does this merely enable the other to speak in a voice not their own? Theorists of the grotesque have argued for a corporeal politics of the carnivalesque as a way of undoing the structures of domination that ordinarily exclude the abject body. Certainly the notion of hybridity can destabilise the fixity of concepts and categories, not as an attempt at transcendence or an allusion to infinitude (as in the postmodern sublime), but as a freeing of human consciousness to ever-new potentialities. However, the ways in which social structures discipline and control ‘unruly’ behaviour, or else permit ‘frivolity’ under the limitations of a state- AMBIGUOUS SUBJECTS 54 sanctioned ‘carnival’, raise serious doubts about the ability of carnival and the grotesque to change existing structures of signification.

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