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Kafka: Judaism,. Politics, and Literature Oxford: Clarendon Press, German tr. Introduction and notes, Theodor Fontane, Effi Briest , tr. Burson and Ulrich L.

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Jean-Pierre Morel and Wolfgang Asholt, pp. Ritchie Robertson Oxford: Voltaire Foundation, , pp.

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John Walker London: Legenda, , pp. Essays on his Reception and Significance , ed. Dietmar Goltschnigg et al. Donahue Newcastle: Cambridge Scholars Publishing, , pp. Dagmar C. Mark H. Dowden and Meike G.

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Log In Sign Up. The experience of the totality, or a vision of how the whole cosmos functions in unison is this experience of the sublime.

The question of how the particular object relates to the whole of our understanding of the world is a question as old as thought itself. The aesthetics of representation since Plato have understood reason and being possessing a semblance between each other in order to make sense in a fundamental, ontological manner. The theory of mimesis portraying the modes of representation in the arts as double- fold lies dominated canons of Western thought for centuries until the German Romantics who radically challenged and re-conceived aesthetics in line with the Medieval period.

The aesthetics of the human being, their world and art were interpolated in this new understanding of what philosophy, poetry and art meant in the classical sense which was questioned and radicalized in a new theological politics which made classical understandings and the Romantic context hospitable. The question of language was another key element in deconstructing the representational theories which dominated the Scholastic period in which the modes of language and its expression became a new mode of emancipation, liberation and philosophical understanding.

The interweaving of ethics and politics became concrete in enabling the German Romantics to utilize their philosophical understandings in new modes of being through language, art and philosophy transformed their physical, material and concrete lives.

Saul, Nicholas [WorldCat Identities]

The concept of totality, or the postulation and representation of absolute knowledge of an object has been critiqued, and at times abandoned in the last century by numerous philosophical and literary circles. The intellectual traditions of the twentieth century such as Phenomenology, Critical Theory and Post-structuralism whilst possessing their origins in the home of German Idealism and German Romanticism, have rejected several tenets of their thought, totality being one of these contentious, even intellectually speculative concepts. Fredric Jameson — is a contemporary theorist despite being an inheritor of these traditions, in fact resurrects the concept of totality against the critiques imposed by these three traditions.

In doing so, Jameson argues that totality can firstly be a method by which to illuminate the historicity of texts against the a-historicity of New Criticism and what he calls contemporary theory.

Secondly, that the history of philosophy should be read in aesthetic or representational terms, and thirdly to provide critiques of the traditions of these traditions that misunderstand totality itself and propagate unconsciously, forms of the concept. The techniques by which Jameson wishes to argue for totality as a form of method is firstly to critique in an unsystematic and understudied fashion, the genealogy of the concept from its origins in Immanuel Kant to its critique in the work of Martin Heidegger, Jacques Derrida and Gilles Deleuze.

Secondly, to employ an aesthetic form of totality as a method by which to interpret texts and represent their limits of representation. By tracing Jameson's hidden dialectic of critique throughout this genealogy one can reconstruct his form of aesthetic totality and its theoretical employment in his interpretation of Johann Wolfgang Von Goethe's Wilhelm Meisters Lehrjahre in his Antinomies of Realism Within this specified, historical context of Weimar Classicism and the later context of German Romanticism, the concept of totality or absolute knowledge originating in Kant, was one of the most significant and contested ideas in Goethe's work and Schlegel's Lucinde However, Jameson's aesthetic totality possesses a significant contribution to philosophy and literature in its ability to render the history of thought as aesthetic, or as a problem of representation which enables a new potentiality to navigate a new futurity from the traditions of New Criticism, Phenomenology, Critical Theory and Post-structuralism along representational modes.

This conceptual practice allows for new interpretations of established traditions of thought and texts, thereby facilitating historicity once more. Totality, in this regard, is a literary critique of these images of thought and the philosophical forms of reading by which these purely philosophical or literary traditions are derived, and offers a ''re-diremption'' between the ancient quarrel between philosophy and literature concerning the representation of thought thinking itself.

Kant argues that the faculties of the human understanding structure our experience of the world, and that the foundation of human autonomy given by the teleological end of nature grounds our reflecting judgement which unifies his philosophical system as a whole. In particular, in the Critique of Pure Reason Kant sought to understand the possibility of metaphysics itself through recognizing the apriori limits of knowledge that do not rely on experience. However, by attempting to transcend the limits of both empiricism and rationalism Kant synthesized what he called 'transcendental idealism', which by recognising the limits of empirical, sensory observation and the role of apriori concepts in establishing knowledge, Kant in fact created a divide between knowable and unknowable things.

This leads to a regress, because any particular judgement will be reliant upon a potentially infinite series of prior conditions.

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By locating the conditions of possibility of knowledge in our minds rather than in the world of things, Kant wished to avoid the infinite regress necessarily entailed in attempting to ground any empirical judgement by tracing all of its conditions. Kant introduced the concept of the negative into philosophy. Wouldn't it be worthwhile trying now to introduce the concept of the positive into philosophy as well?

In Goethe's Sturm und Drang phase, the influence of Jean Jacques Rousseau pushed him to the fascination with nature and away from the logical rationality of philosophy which Kant embodied.


Cambridge Studies in German: Philosophy and German Literature, 1700-1990 (2002, Hardcover)

Goethe's philosophical background was neither of a scholar nor a historian, so his thought comprised of syncretic views not arranged into a singular philosophical system but left asunder. Although Goethe was primarily schooled in the Leibnizian and Wolffian philosophies, it was Spinoza with his emphasis on nature and God's immanence alongside it which Goethe was influenced by. Goethe thought that the beginning of any philosophical system was experience and 1 Altman C. Matthew ed. Therefore, Kant's transcendental explorations in the first Critique were unnecessary to Goethe who saw the primacy of the experience of nature as the fundamental basis by which knowledge is formed.

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