Music, Madness, and the Unworking of Language

Music, Madness, and the Unworking of Language

John T. Hamilton investigates how literary, philosophical, and psychological treatments of music and madness challenge the limits of representation, thereby creating a crisis of language. He particularly focuses on the decidedly autobiographical impulse of the late eighteenth and early nineteenth centuries, where musical experience and mental disturbance disrupt the expression of referential thought, illuminating the irreducible aspects of the self before language can work them back into a discursive system. The study begins in the 1750s with Diderot's Neveu de Rameau, and situates that text in relation to Rousseau's reflections on the voice and the burgeoning discipline of musical aesthetics. Hamilton then traces the linkage of music and madness that courses through the work of Herder, Hegel, Wackenroder, and Kleist before turning his attention to E. T. A. Hoffmann, whose writings of the first decades of the nineteenth century accumulate and qualify preceding traditions. Throughout his analysis, Hamilton considers the particular representations that link music and madness, exploring underlying motives, preconceptions, and ideological premises that facilitate the association of these two experiences.

Security

Politics, Humanity, and the Philology of Care

Security

From national security and social security to homeland and cyber-security, "security" has become one of the most overused words in culture and politics today. Yet it also remains one of the most undefined. What exactly are we talking about when we talk about security? In this original and timely book, John Hamilton examines the discursive versatility and semantic vagueness of security both in current and historical usage. Adopting a philological approach, he explores the fundamental ambiguity of this word, which denotes the removal of "concern" or "care" and therefore implies a condition that is either carefree or careless. Spanning texts from ancient Greek poetry to Roman Stoicism, from Augustine and Luther to Machiavelli and Hobbes, from Kant and Nietzsche to Heidegger and Carl Schmitt, Hamilton analyzes formulations of security that involve both safety and negligence, confidence and complacency, certitude and ignorance. Does security instill more fear than it assuages? Is a security purchased with freedom or human rights morally viable? How do security projects inform our expectations, desires, and anxieties? And how does the will to security relate to human finitude? Although the book makes clear that security has always been a major preoccupation of humanity, it also suggests that contemporary panics about security and the related desire to achieve perfect safety carry their own very significant risks.

Philology of the Flesh

Philology of the Flesh

As the Christian doctrine of Incarnation asserts, “the Word became Flesh.” Yet, while this metaphor is grounded in Christian tradition, its varied functions far exceed any purely theological import. It speaks to the nature of God just as much as to the nature of language. In Philology of the Flesh, John T. Hamilton explores writing and reading practices that engage this notion in a range of poetic enterprises and theoretical reflections. By pressing the notion of philology as “love” (philia) for the “word” (logos), Hamilton’s readings investigate the breadth, depth, and limits of verbal styles that are irreducible to mere information. While a philologist of the body might understand words as corporeal vessels of core meaning, the philologist of the flesh, by focusing on the carnal qualities of language, resists taking words as mere containers. By examining a series of intellectual episodes—from the fifteenth-century Humanism of Lorenzo Valla to the poetry of Emily Dickinson, from Immanuel Kant and Johann Georg Hamann to Friedrich Nietzsche, Franz Kafka, and Paul Celan—Philology of the Flesh considers the far-reaching ramifications of the incarnational metaphor, insisting on the inseparability of form and content, an insistence that allows us to rethink our relation to the concrete languages in which we think and live.

The Music Between Us

Is Music a Universal Language?

The Music Between Us

Showcases how music is used in rituals, education, work, healing, and as a source of security and joy, arguing that music situates itself as a bridge between people, a cross-cultural form of communication that can create solidarity across political divides.

Sophocles and the Language of Tragedy

Sophocles and the Language of Tragedy

Written by one of the best-known interpreters of classical literature today, Sophocles and the Language of Tragedy presents a revolutionary take on the work of this great classical playwright and on how our understanding of tragedy has been shaped by our literary past. Simon Goldhill sheds new light on Sophocles' distinctive brilliance as a dramatist, illuminating such aspects of his work as his manipulation of irony, his construction of dialogue, and his deployment of the actors and the chorus. Goldhill also investigates how nineteenth-century critics like Hegel, Nietzsche, and Wagner developed a specific understanding of tragedy, one that has shaped our current approach to the genre. Finally, Goldhill addresses one of the foundational questions of literary criticism: how historically self-conscious should a reading of Greek tragedy be? The result is an invigorating and exciting new interpretation of the most canonical of Western authors.

The Cultural Space of the Arts and the Infelicities of Reductionism

The Cultural Space of the Arts and the Infelicities of Reductionism

Joseph Margolis, known for his considerable contributions to the philosophy of art and aesthetics, pragmatism, and American philosophy, has focused primarily on the troublesome concepts of culture, history, language, agency, art, interpretation, and the human person or self. For Margolis, the signal problem has always been the same: how can we distinguish between physical nature and human culture? How do these realms relate? The Cultural Space of the Arts and the Infelicities of Reductionism identifies a conceptual tendency that can be drawn from the work of the twentieth century's best-known analytic philosophers of art: Arthur Danto, Richard Wollheim, Kendall Walton, Nelson Goodman, Monroe Beardsley, Noël Carroll, and Jerrold Levinson, among others. This trend threatens to impoverish our grasp and appreciation of the arts by failing to do justice to the culturally informed nature of the arts themselves. Through his analysis, Margolis sets out to retrieve an adequate picture of the essential differences between physical nature and human culture particularly through language, history, meaning, significance, the emergence of the human self or person, and the essential features of human life all to explain how such difference bears on our perception of paintings and literature. Clearly argued and provocatively engaging, Margolis's work reestablishes what is essential to a productive encounter with art.

Crowds and Democracy

The Idea and Image of the Masses from Revolution to Fascism

Crowds and Democracy

Between 1918 and 1933, the masses became a decisive preoccupation of European culture, fueling modernist movements in art, literature, architecture, theater, and cinema, as well as the rise of communism and fascism and experiments in radical democracy. Spanning aesthetics, cultural studies, intellectual history, and political theory, this volume unpacks the significance of the shadow agent known as "the mass" during a critical period in European history. It follows its evolution into the preferred conceptual tool for social scientists, the ideal slogan for politicians, and the chosen image for artists and writers trying to capture a society in flux and a people in upheaval. This volume is the second installment in Stefan Jonsson's epic study of the crowd and the mass in modern Europe, building on his work in A Brief History of the Masses, which focused on monumental artworks produced in 1789, 1889, and 1989.

Sonatas, Screams, and Silence

Music and Sound in the Films of Ingmar Bergman

Sonatas, Screams, and Silence

Sonatas, Screams, and Silence: Music and Sound in the Films of Ingmar Bergman is the first musical examination of Bergman’s style as an auteur filmmaker. It provides a comprehensive examination of all three aspects (music, sound effects, and voice) of Bergman’s signature soundtrack-style. Through examinations of Bergman’s biographical links to music, the role of music, sound effects, silence, and voice, and Bergman’s working methods with sound technicians, mixers, and editors, this book argues that Bergman’s soundtracks are as superbly developed as his psychological narratives and breathtaking cinematography. Interdisciplinary in nature, this book bridges the fields of music, sound, and film.

Photography and Its Violations

Photography and Its Violations

Theorists critique photography for "objectifying" its subjects and manipulating appearances for the sake of art. In this bold counterargument, John Roberts recasts photography's violating powers of disclosure and aesthetic technique as part of a complex "social ontology" that exposes the hierarchies, divisions, and exclusions behind appearances. The photographer must "arrive unannounced" and "get in the way of the world," Roberts argues, committing photography to the truth-claims of the spectator over the self-interests and sensitivities of the subject. Yet even though the violating capacity of the photograph results from external power relations, the photographer is still faced with an ethical choice: whether to advance photography's truth-claims on the basis of these powers or to diminish or veil these powers to protect the integrity of the subject. Photography's acts of intrusion and destabilization, then, constantly test the photographer at the point of production, in the darkroom, and at the computer, especially in our 24-hour digital image culture. In this game-changing work, Roberts refunctions photography's place in the world, politically and theoretically restoring its reputation as a truth-producing medium.

Queer Beauty

Sexuality and Aesthetics from Winckelmann to Freud and Beyond

Queer Beauty

The pioneering work of Johann Winckelmann (1717-1768) identified a homoerotic appreciation of male beauty in classical Greek sculpture, a fascination that had endured in Western art since the Greeks. Yet after Winckelmann, the value (even the possibility) of art's queer beauty was often denied. Several theorists, notably the philosopher Immanuel Kant, broke sexual attraction and aesthetic appreciation into separate or dueling domains. In turn, sexual desire and aesthetic pleasure had to be profoundly rethought by later writers. Whitney Davis follows how such innovative thinkers as John Addington Symonds, Michel Foucault, and Richard Wollheim rejoined these two domains, reclaiming earlier insights about the mutual implication of sexuality and aesthetics. Addressing texts by Arthur Schopenhauer, Charles Darwin, Oscar Wilde, Vernon Lee, and Sigmund Freud, among many others, Davis criticizes modern approaches, such as Kantian idealism, Darwinism, psychoanalysis, and analytic aesthetics, for either reducing aesthetics to a question of sexuality or for removing sexuality from the aesthetic field altogether. Despite these schematic reductions, sexuality always returns to aesthetics, and aesthetic considerations always recur in sexuality. Davis particularly emphasizes the way in which philosophies of art since the late eighteenth century have responded to nonstandard sexuality, especially homoeroticism, and how theories of nonstandard sexuality have drawn on aesthetics in significant ways. Many imaginative and penetrating critics have wrestled productively, though often inconclusively and "against themselves," with the aesthetic making of sexual life and new forms of art made from reconstituted sexualities. Through a critique that confronts history, philosophy, science, psychology, and dominant theories of art and sexuality, Davis challenges privileged types of sexual and aesthetic creation imagined in modern culture-and assumed today.