Complex Pleasure deals with questions of literary feeling in eight major German writers—Lessing, Kant, Hölderlin, Nietzsche, Musil, Kafka, Trakl, and Benjamin. On the basis of close readings of these authors Stanley Corngold makes vivid the following ideas: that where there is literature there is complex pleasure; that this pleasure is complex because it involves the impression of a disclosure; that this thought is foremost in the minds of a number of canonical writers; that important literary works (...) in the German tradition—fiction, poetry, critique—can be illuminated through their treatment of literary feeling; and, finally, that the conceptual terms for these forms of feeling continually vary. The types of feeling treated in Complex Pleasure include wit (the startling perception of likeness) and the disinterested pleasure of aesthetic judgment; Hölderlin’s “swift conceptual grasp,” in which “the tempo of the process of thought is stressed”; “artistic imagination,” mood, sadistic enjoyment, rapturous distraction, homonymic dissonance, and courage as a mode of literary experience. At the same time, through the deftness, range, and surprise of its execution, the book itself conveys complex pleasure. The reader will also find fascinating, hitherto untranslated material by Nietzsche (“On Moods”) and Kafka (important sections from his journals and from his unfinished novel The Boy Who Sank Out of Sight). (shrink)
Wallace-Hadrill's reading of spatial hierarchy does not address the representation of gender in mythological paintings. However, a rough survey indicates that the majority are erotic and/or violent. Erotic depictions common on household items suggest that the Romans were sensitive to this content; the likely use of pattern books in selecting programs for domestic decoration suggests a synoptic awareness of it. This points to the applicability of contemporary theories of representation and power, and Mulvey's model of visual pleasure in narrative (...) film is adapted for this paper. According to Mulvey, film offers two pleasures: scopophilia, which presents the woman as aesthetic-erotic fragments, suggesting but concealing her difference ; sadistic voyeurism, which assumes difference and then investigates, punishes, or forgives it. Both are illustrated in paintings of Ariadne abandoned and rediscovered, and in other paintings which portray either the gaze or erotic violence . While these paintings seem to confirm in relation to gender what the rest of the house says about class and status, some paintings confuse the issue. The male body is often fetishized , and attacked ; gender and role are sometimes deliberately ambiguous . Such transgressions of the boundaries of the male body are not a part of Mulvey's theory, and they suggest the use of gender to complicate as well as confirm the class/status message of the house; two different negotiations of this use are found in the House of the Vettii and the House of the Ara Maxima. One can compare reversals and reassertions of gender, class and status in other evidence, in literature, pantomime and the games. (shrink)
Music is by default a key element of every kind of Entertainment. Actually, the two terms are almost synonymous in the geographical area of the East - especially during the late medieval period - and there is a plethora of relevant evidence in the rescued literature and musicological sources to support this argument. It seems that there is a mutual and interactive “dialogue” between the two terms. This is an ideological and philosophical dialogue, as well as a completely fundamental (...) and practical one: the musicians channel in abundance and mainly ensure the pleasure of the people who participate in any type of entertainment; and they do so through both their presence and their performance. However, at the same time, in order to acquire the ability to act in this way, i.e. to bring the “entertaining” dimension of music to the forefront, they themselves have to be in a position to experience music as pleasure, to grasp the multiple gratifications which are hidden at the very core of every kind of music. In both circumstances we can refer to two high level conquests of the Spirit and the Art: the pleasure of Music and music for Pleasure. In the present article Ι will attempt a first approach of the issue and an outline of its twofold dimension. (shrink)
This paper takes a nuanced stance against an intellectualist position that is strong in the literature on the Philebus by arguing that pleasure’s goodness is inherent but not independent. Pleasure is worth pursuing together with intellectual activity in the mixed life because pleasure is the sensual manifestation, direct or indirect, of growth in goodness. Pleasure as the expression of this growth is the sensual component of the mixture that Socrates in this dialogue defends as the (...) good for human beings. But if pleasure’s contribution to the overall goodness of a human life is not to be outweighed by some corresponding badness, it must reflect an accurate assessment of the goodness of our experiences and either proceed directly from the right kind of intellectual or psychic activity or else be subordinated to the rational ordering activity of intellect according to the standards of virtue, moderation, and health. (shrink)
This article seeks to show the effect that Vitruvius’ probable social status had on the contents of the De Architectura. The education proposed for the architect, the receipt of a wage, and pleasure all shape the treatise in significant ways. The article supplements these discussions with a close reading of a section of the De Architectura hitherto neglected in the secondary literature: the cameo appearance of Aristippus in the preface to Book 6. Vitruvius arguably uses the figure of (...) Aristippus, the pleasure-loving philosopher whom Vitruvius offers to the reader as a stand-in for the architect, to focus and negotiate further the issues of status, pay, and pleasure. (shrink)
How do the arts give us pleasure? Covering a very wide range of artistic works, from Auden to David Lynch, Rembrandt to Edward Weston, and Richard Strauss to Keith Jarrett, Pleasure and the Arts offers us an explanation of our enjoyable emotional engagements with literature, music, and painting. The arts direct us to intimate and particularized relationships, with the people represented in the works, or with those we imagine produced them. When we listen to music, look at (...) a purely abstract painting, or drink a glass of wine, can we enjoy the experience without verbalizing our response? Do our interpretative assumptions, our awareness of technique, and our attitudes to fantasy, get in the way of our appreciation of art, or enhance it? Examining these questions and more, we discover how curiosity drives us to enjoy narratives, ordinary jokes, metaphors, and modernist epiphanies, and how narrative in all the arts can order and provoke intense enjoyment. Pleasurable in its own right, Pleasure and the Arts presents a sparkling explanation of the enduring interest of artistic expression. (shrink)
Explanatory accounts of emotion require, among other things, theoretically tractable representations of emotional experience. Common methods for producing such representations have well-known drawbacks, such as observer interference or lack of ecological validity. Literature offers a valuable supplement. It provides detailed instructions for simulating emotions; when successful, it induces empathic emotions. It too involves distortions, through emotion-intensifying idealization and ideological biases. But these also relate to emotion study. There are three levels at which literature bears on emotion research: (1) (...) the individual work; (2) generic and related patterns; and (3) properties found widely across individual works and genres. Even at the third, most general level, literature suggests potentially important hypotheses about our pleasure in emotional simulation and our need to share emotional experiences. (shrink)
Books belonging to adab literature present material about a variety of subjects, considered from various points of view, such as religious, scientific, historical, literary, etc. They contain knowledge and at the same time entertainment for educated people. Here we consider the content of two adab works, insofar as they discuss subjects from the scientific point of view: Fa???l al-Khi?????b by al-T??f??sh?? and Mab??hij al-fikar wa-man??hij al-??ibar by al-Wa???w????? . Al-T??f??sh??'s work discusses astronomical and meteorological subjects. The passages on astronomy (...) give the usual Aristotelian cosmological picture of the world in a simplified version for non-specialists. The passages on meteorological subjects explain these phenomena in agreement with Aristotle's theory of the double exhalation, and it appears that they are based to a large extent on Ibn S??n??'s interpretation of this theory. The book of al-Wa???w????? consists of four sections, which deal with the heaven, the earth, animals and plants respectively. One chapter of the first section deals with meteorological phenomena and presents a survey of the explanations current in his time, such as may be found in the works of al-Kind?? and Ibn S??n??. One will probably not find new and original scientific ideas in the adab literature, but one gets an impression of how besides knowledge of Qur????n, ???ad??th, poetry and literary prose scientific knowledge was a part of the education of a certain class of people, also of those whose special interest was not science. It also appears that the subjects of science were not restricted to those which were useful for religion and Muslim society. Science was an integrated activity in society, pursued for intellectual satisfaction and pleasure in knowledge, and most groups in that society held that there was nothing in it that would be incompatible with Islam as a religion. This would support the ???appropriation thesis??? defended by Sabra, that science in medieval Islamic society was well assimilated and widely accepted, as opposed to the the ???marginality thesis??? adopted by von Gr??nebaum, that science was a marginal activity, restricted to small elite circles and not rooted in society. R??sum?? Les livres relevant du genre litt??raire de l' adab pr??sentent des mat??riaux sur un grand nombre de sujets, consid??r??s sous des angles divers: sujets religieux, scientifiques, historiques, litt??raires, etc. Ils propsent un savoir et, en m??me temps, de l'agr??ment aux gens ??duqu??s. Nous consid??rerons ici deux ??uvres relevant de l' adab , en tant qu'elles discutent leurs th??mes d'un point de vue scientifique: Fa???l al-Khi?????b d'al-T??f??sh?? et Mab??hij al-fikar wa-man??hij al-??ibar d'al-Wa???w????? . L'??uvre d'al-T??f??sh?? traite de sujets astronomiques et m??t??orologiques. Les passages portant sur l'astronomie dressent le tableau aristot??licien usuel du monde dans une version simplifi??e pour non-sp??cialistes. Les passages sur des sujets m??t??orologiques expliquent ces ph??nom??nes en se conformant ?? la doctrine aristot??licienne des deux exhalaisons ??? ils se fondent, dans une large mesure, sur l'interpr??tation d??velopp??e par Avicenne de cette th??orie. Le trait?? d'al-Wa???w????? comporte quatre sections, qui envisagent respectivement le ciel, la terre, les animaux et les plantes. Un chapitre de la premi??re section traite de ph??nom??nes m??t??orologiques et pr??sente synth??tiquement les explications propos??es ?? l'??poque, telles qu'on les lit dans les ??uvres d'al-Kind?? et d'Avicenne. On ne trouvera probablement pas d'id??es scientifiques nouvelles dans la litt??rature d' adab , mais on y per??oit bien comment, ?? c??t?? de la ma??trise du Coran, du ???ad??th, de la po??sie et de la prose litt??raire, la connaissance scientifique constituait une partie int??grante de l'??ducation d'une certaine classe sociale, assimil??e y compris par des gens dont la science n'??tait pas la pr??occupation principale. Il appara??t ??galement que les th??mes scientifiques trait??s ne se bornaient pas ?? ceux qui pr??sentaient un int??r??t pour la religion et la soci??t?? musulmane. La science ??tait une activit?? qui avait partie li??e avec la soci??t??, poursuivie en vue d'une satisfaction intellectuelle et du plaisir de la connaissance, et la plupart des groupes sociaux formant cette soci??t?? consid??raient qu'il n'y avait rien l?? d'incompatible avec l'Islam comme religion. Cela pourrait bien corroborer la ???th??se de l'appropriation??? d??fendue par Sabra, selon laquelle la science ??tait bien assimil??e et largement accept??e par la soci??t?? islamique m??di??vale, par opposition ?? la ???th??se de la marginalit????? soutenue par von Gr??nebaum, d'apr??s laquelle la science ??tait une activit?? marginale, confin??e ?? une certaine ??lite et sans ancrage social v??ritable. (shrink)
Machine generated contents note: Introduction: love after Aristotle; 1. Enjoyment: a medieval history; 2. Narcissus after Aristotle: love and ethics in Le Roman de la Rose; 3. Metamorphoses of pleasure in the fourteenth century Dit Amoureux; 4. Love's knowledge: fabliau, allegory, and fourteenth-century anti-intellectualism; 5. On human happiness: Dante, Chaucer, and the felicity of friendship; Coda: Chaucer's philosophical women.
Description from a book review by J. G. Beebe-Center: "Mr. Allen's book develops in detail the view that pleasure and unpleasure are essentially manifestations of the progression and thwarting of impulses. Part one is a brief summary of the principal theories of feeling. Part two is devoted to "sensory" or "bodily" pleasure and unpleasure. These forms of feeling, it is argued, 'depend on an analogue of conation existing in the organism, a nisus to maintain, or to carry out (...) to the full extent, the functioning proper to the bodily system.' Part three -- the piece de resistance (about half the book) -- deals with the relation of pleasure and unpleasure to the main instincts. Parts four, five and six take up a number of classical problems: the relation of pleasure and unpleasure to sensation, their relation to desire, the relativity of feelings, the qualitative variety of feelings, and the psychology of values. The author shows throughout a rare combination of historicophilosophical sophistication and of first-hand familiarity with the modern experimental literature.". (shrink)
This paper considers the hermeneutic position, recently gaining some traction in the secondary literature, that Scholastics in the years 1330-1350 were not primarily interested in theology. Rather, their increasing engagement with “English subtleties” – a set of “logico-mathematical” techniques we now associate with scientific inquiry – was driven by their new, distinctively secular, natural-philosophy interests. In this, they become proto-moderns and philosophers in our contemporary sense. Consideration is given to whether this “pretext” reading of the Scholastics is coherent and (...) plausible, and whether the logico-mathematical techniques were the province of natural philosophy at the time, or actually instead discipline-neutral, being employable in both theology and natural theology. The paper then assesses the rather meagre evidence offered for this reading and its unfortunate historiographical implications. It ends by advocating an existing and far more pro... (shrink)
From its dissonant musics to its surrealist spectacles (the urinal is a violin!), Modernist art often seems to give more frustration than pleasure to its audience. In Untwisting the Serpent, Daniel Albright shows that this perception arises partly because we usually consider each art form in isolation, even though many of the most important artistic experiments of the Modernists were collaborations involving several media--Igor Stravinsky's The Rite of Spring is a ballet, Gertrude Stein's Four Saints in Three Acts is (...) an opera, and Pablo Picasso turned his cubist paintings into costumes for Parade. Focusing on collaborations with a musical component, Albright views these works as either figures of dissonance that try to retain the distinctness of their various media (e.g. Guillaume Apollinaire's Les Mamelles de Tiresias ) or figures of consonance that try to lose themselves in some total effect (e.g. Arnold Schoenberg's Erwartung ). In so doing he offers a fresh picture of Modernism, and provides a compelling model for the analysis of all artistic collaborations. Untwisting the Serpent is the recipient of the 2001 Susanne M. Glasscock Humanities Book Prize for Interdisciplinary Scholarship of the Center for Humanities Research at Texas A&M University. (shrink)
Numinous spaces in British literature from William Wordsworth to Samuel Beckett -- Jesus figures in American literature from Ralph Waldo Emerson to Edward Albee -- Using Bakhtin's definitions to discover ethical voices in Solzhenitsyn and Tolstoy -- René Girard's categories of scapegoats in literature of the American South -- Hopkins's metaphysics of nature as sacred disclosure -- The book of job as mirrored in Hopkins's metaphysics -- Beckett's mythos of the absence of God.
Social grooming is an important element of social life in terrestrial primates, inducing the putative benefits of β-endorphin stimulation and group harmony and cohesion. Implicit in many analyses of grooming (e.g. biological markets) are the assumptions of costs and benefits to grooming behaviour. Here, in a review of literature, we investigate the proximate costs and benefits of grooming, as a potentially useful explanatory substrate to the well-documented ultimate (functional) explanations. We find that the hedonic benefits of grooming are well (...) documented. However, we did not find convincing evidence for costs. If proximate costs do exist, they might consist of energetic, cognitive, opportunity costs, or some combination of all of these. Nonetheless, there remains the possibility that grooming costs are negligible, or even that the provision of allogrooming is rewarding in itself. We suggest empirical research to resolve this issue. (shrink)
Roman agriculture suffered traumatic changes during the 2nd century B.C. The traditional farmers who tilled their few acres and served family, gods and community were being squeezed out by large estate owners using slaves for investment farming. Politicians, scholars and poets tried to revive the ancestoral rustic life.In 133 B.C. the Gracchi legislated land reform to relieve the distress of the farmer soldiers who had won the empire. Although their efforts led to political confrontation that deteriorated into civil war, programs (...) for the traditional farm became a permanent part of government policy from the late Republic until the end of the empire in 476 A.D.Scholars and poets made a contribution to the revival of agriculture with knowledge for improving the farm and by encouraging an agrarian mentality. The agricultural manuals (e.g. Cato (c. 150 B.C.), Varro (c. 50 B.C), and Columella (c.65 A.D.), defined the nature of the desirable farm and gave practical advice. Profit was the goal, but good farming practices made for pleasure and virtue as well. The image of the ancestoral farmer was perpetuated as was the notion that farming was the only honorable and respectable occupation for a Roman gentleman.In the Augustan Age (34 B.C.—14 A.D.) poets were encouraged by the government to adopted a rustic theme in hopes it would stimulate a return to the land and aid in the rebirth of Rome and Romans. In the GeorgicsVirgil begins with the practical details of farming, but uses myth and philosophy to explore the nature and meaning of life. He admits that Jove made life perilous. But Jove also gave man the art of agriculture and with hard work man could know the pleasure of a simple, virtuous, productive life.Horace directed his poetry against the allure of city life and in praise of rustic living. Epicureanism and Stoicism, in the guise of life on the farm, could show that although fate was unpredictable, the world was orderly and, if one recognized and accepted its limits, one could make a garden of the world and live a simple but happy life.By 300 A.D. Rome missed the peasant-farmer-soldier and by the 470's life had returned to an agrarian condition. Bishop Sidonius, trying to furnish meaning and perspective for the emerging new age, resorted to the Roman agricultural traditions still cherished as that world disappeared. (shrink)
Figuring Animals is a collection of fifteen essays concerning the representation of animals in literature, the visual arts, philosophy, and cultural practice. At the turn of the new century, it is helpful to reconsider our inherited understandings of the species, some of which are still useful to us. It is also important to look ahead to new understandings and new dialogue, which may contribute to the survival of us all. The contributors to this volume participate in this dialogue in (...) a variety of ways--through personal experience, natural history, cultural studies, philosophical inquiry, art history, literary analysis, film studies, and theoretical imagining, and through a combination of these trains of thought. The essays expose weaknesses in western epistemological frames of reference that for centuries have limited our views and, thus, our experiences of animal being, including our own. (shrink)
These essays showcase the value of the narrative arts in investigating complex conflicts of value in moral and political life, and explore the philosophical problem of moral dilemmas as expressed in ancient drama, classic and contemporary ...
The book is about three things. First, how Ancient thinkers perceived humans as like or unlike other animals; second about the justification for taking a humane attitude towards natural things; and third about how moral claims count as true, and how they can be discovered or acquired. Was Aristotle was right to see continuity in the psychological functions of animal and human souls? The question cannot be settled without taking a moral stance. As we can either focus on continuity or (...) on discontinuities, how should natural science draw the boundaries? Moral agents act and react in a world that they see under a certain description, and there is no value free science that can settle what is the correct description. This book asks us to think about where moral justification could come from, and suggests that the supposed ‘moral status’ of the object cannot provide the answer. For the moral status of the object is a product of our own imagination, and once we see that, we also see that there remains the question where we ought to have the will to see it. Furthermore, since the perception of moral truth involves the development of imagination and will, the means to attain it will be better served by engagement with poetry and literature than with enquiries that seek to exclude the engagement of the imagination, or any appeal to the beauty of nature or the love of one's fellow creatures. (shrink)
Machine generated contents note: Acknowledgments; Introduction: scales of identification; 1. Democratic expansionism, gothic geographies, and Charles Brockden Brown; 2. Urban apartments, global cities: the enlargement of private space in Poe and James; 3. Cultural orphans: domesticity, missionaries, and China from Stowe to Sui Sin Far; 4. 'The Checkered Globe': cosmopolitan despair in the American Pacific; 5. Literature and regional production; Epilogue: scales of resistance.
This collection is a study of African literature framed by the central, and multi-faceted, idea of 'mother' - motherland, mothertongue, motherwit, motherhood, mothering - looking at the paradoxical location of (m)other as both central and marginal. Whilst the volume stands as a sustained feminist analysis, it engages feminist theory itself by showing how issues in feminism are, in African literature, recast in different and complex ways.
Plato conceived of the Form of Beauty as quite distinct from the Form of the Good. Beauty was a means to the Good. The ascent theory of the Symposium has suggested to some commentators that Plato envisaged two kinds of beauty, the sensuous and the intellectual, and that to reach the Good we must transcend our sensuous desires and cultivate an appreciation of intellectual beauty. However, in the Laws Plato presents us with a third notion of beauty, which is neither (...) sensuous nor intellectual. To experience beauty we need to cultivate our pleasure in harmonious forms. This is where we find a theory of beauty that resonates in Kant’s aesthetic theory. According to the latter, the feeling for beauty is a feeling for harmony that takes us beyond the confines of a world marked out by self-interest. I conclude that Plato’s aesthetic theory anticipates the role that aesthetic judgment would play in Immanuel Kant’s system of the mind. (shrink)
What is the role of pleasure in determining a person’s well-being? I start by considering the nature of pleasure (i.e., what pleasure is). I then consider what factors, if any, can affect how much a given pleasure adds to a person’s lifetime well-being other than its degree of pleasurableness (i.e., how pleasurable it is). Finally, I consider whether it is plausible that there is any other way to add to somebody’s lifetime well-being than by giving him (...) some pleasure or helping him to avoid some pain. (shrink)
While individuals presented in central texts of the period are indeed often alone or separated from others, Yousef regards this isolation as a problem the texts attempt to illuminate, rather than a condition they construct as normative or ...
Robert Abrams argues that new concepts of space and landscape emerged in mid-nineteenth-century American writing, marking a linguistic and interpretative limit to American expansion. Abrams supports the radical elements of antebellum writing, where writers from Hawthorne to Rebecca Harding Davis disputed the naturalizing discourses of mid-nineteenth century society. Whereas previous critics find in antebellum writing a desire to convert chaos into an affirmative, liberal agenda, Abrams contends that authors of the 1840s and 50s deconstructed more than they constructed.