Birgit Breidenbach (University of East Anglia): Aesthetic and/as/against Philosophical Attunement: A Case Study of Literary-Philosophical Entanglements
Magdalena Ostas (University of California, Berkeley): Poetry, Ethics, and Life with Others
Date: Tuesday May 11, 2021
Time: 18:30-20:30 (GMT+3)
Please contact to the department for the Zoom Meeting information details.
Aesthetic and/as/against Philosophical Attunement: A Case Study of Literary-Philosophical Entanglements
Departing from perceptions of the literary-philosophical relationship as adversarial or competitive, this talk will discuss the development of the concept of Stimmung (translated as ‘mood’ or ‘attunement’) in 20th-century philosophy and art. As an ontological concept, Stimmung speaks to the ways in we affectively experience and attune ourselves to the world and others. In the aesthetic realm, it addresses the dynamic process of being drawn into the experiential sphere of an artwork while simultaneously bringing it into our own life sphere. While existential philosophy, most famously that of Heidegger, has notably advanced this long-standing concept from the German philosophical tradition, I argue that the most significant articulations of the concept have since appeared not in philosophy but in the realm of art. But can the aesthetic philosophies of attunement of the likes of Samuel Beckett and Thomas Bernhard extend this philosophical discourse or do they necessarily undermine and destroy it?
Poetry, Ethics, and Life with Others
Scholars working at the crossroads of literature and philosophy have long been compelled by the idea that literary and artistic works offer us much more than fictions or representations and help us “think.” Some of the most suggestive and persuasive work in this tradition show us how literary works, for example, take up long-standing philosophical questions about ethics, identity, epistemology, desire, and our forms of political orientation in the world. My talk considers the ways that poems touch and grapple with central questions in ethics and how these ways are fundamentally different from modes of traditional philosophy. My paper considers how poetry has the ability to pose ethical questions about living with others with special force and coherence. My main case study is Wordsworth, and I take up Wittgenstein at some length, and other cases from the history of poetry and of aesthetics fill out my explorations.