Download Figures of Simplicity: Sensation and Thinking in Kleist and by Birgit Mara Kaiser PDF

By Birgit Mara Kaiser

A attention-grabbing comparability of the paintings of Heinrich von Kleist and Herman Melville.

Figures of Simplicity explores a different constellation of figures from philosophy and literature—Heinrich von Kleist, Herman Melville, G. W. Leibniz, and Alexander Baumgarten—in an try and get better replacement conceptions of aesthetics and dimensions of considering misplaced within the disciplinary narration of aesthetics after Kant. this is often performed basically by way of tracing a number of “simpletons” that populate the writings of Kleist and Melville. those figures will not be totally ignorant, or silly, yet uncomplicated. Their simplicity is a manner of pondering; one who writer Birgit Mara Kaiser the following indicates is affective pondering. Kaiser avers that Kleist and Melville are experimenting of their texts with an affective mode of considering, and thereby proceed, she argues, a key line inside of eighteenth-century aesthetics: the relation of rationality and sensibility. via her analyses, she deals an summary of what considering can seem like if we take affectivity into account.

Birgit Mara Kaiser is Assistant Professor of Comparative Literature at Utrecht collage within the Netherlands.

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Extra info for Figures of Simplicity: Sensation and Thinking in Kleist and Melville (SUNY series, Intersections: Philosophy and Critical Theory)

Example text

There is always sonority in Ariadne’s thread. Or the song of Orpheus. (Deleuze and Guattari, 1980, 311). The outer world is kept at bay, or is allowed inside in a filtered and controlled way, allowing in something from outside when it will help, but protecting the activity within: Sonorous or vocal components are very important: a wall of sound, or at least a wall with some sonic bricks in it. A child hums to summon the strength for the schoolwork she has to hand in. A housewife sings to herself, or listens to the radio, as she marshals the anti-chaos forces of her work.

A swarm of slime mould, an amoeba-like organism with no discernible brain, can find the shortest route through a maze, despite the fact that an individual amoeba would not be able to do it. Individually they cannot do anything like ‘think’, but collectively they can (Johnson, 2001, 11–17). The brain can be seen to work in a way that has its parallels with this, as is evident from the title of a book by Marvin Minsky: The Society of Mind (1985). Minsky’s work is in artificial intelligence, and in 31 MACHINES We are political all the way down to the unconscious bodily 1 2 responses that we could not call ‘thoughts’.

Something caught my eye. The dusty leaves seemed to be moving into formation. They made a long fairly straight line across the ground, lifting at one end. It looked a bit like a rope, frayed at the rising end. It started moving across the field, and turned to a more upright position, having become recognizable 29 MACHINES now as a small tornado. It maintained its form, a vertical pillar of fragments of 1 dessicated vegetation, perhaps 6 metres tall. It reached the edge of the field, 2 vigorously agitated the leaves of the trees there, and then dispersed – just 3 disappeared without trace – and the leaves on the trees became calm again; 4 and the sun beat down; and nobody else who was there noticed that anything 5 had happened.

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