Before reproduction: The distortion of generation

Philosophia 36 (3):299-312 (2008)
Jean Baudrillard has posited a theory of ‘the precession of simulacra’, arguing that it is no longer possible to tell the difference between an image and the meaning it purports to represent because technology allows the image to precede its meaning. Christa Wolf, while researching Cassandra: A Novel and Four Essays (1984), traveled to Greece and discovered the ways in which language in the rational, Western model of civilization has been distorted. Both Baudrillard and Wolf are disturbed by the ways in which sign systems can be manipulated and generated, and both demonstrate the effect this has in the political and cultural arenas. This analysis intends to show how Baudrillard’s theories play out in Wolf’s narrative, and how Wolf resolves the problems thus posed through the shock of the aesthetic experience, which forces communication while it defies representation.
Keywords Baudrillard  Jean   Simulacra and Simulacrum  Wolf  Christa   Cassandra: A Novel and Four Essays  Generation  Reproduction  Manipulation  Distortion  Ethics – of representation  Ethics – of artistic generation  Ethics – of linguistic generation  Aesthetics  Cassandra  Polyxena  Symbol – relation to language
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DOI 10.1007/s11406-007-9117-1
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