Afterness: Figures of Following in Modern Thought and Aesthetics (Columbia Themes in Philosophy, Social Criticism, and the Arts)

By Gerhard Richter

Gerhard Richter's groundbreaking examine argues that the concept that of "afterness" is a key determine within the suggestion and aesthetics of modernity. It pursues questions comparable to: What does it suggest for whatever to "follow" anything else? Does that which follows mark a transparent holiday with what got here earlier than it, or does it in reality tacitly perpetuate its predecessor due to its inevitable indebtedness to the phrases and stipulations of that from which it claims to have departed? certainly, isn't the very act of breaking with, after which following upon, a manner of retroactively developing and fortifying that from which the holiday that set the stream of following into movement had occurred?

The booklet explores the concept that and circulate of afterness as a privileged but uncanny type via shut readings of writers similar to Kant, Kafka, Heidegger, Bloch, Benjamin, Brecht, Adorno, Arendt, Lyotard, and Derrida. It exhibits how the vexed ideas of afterness, following, and coming after shed new gentle on a constellation of contemporary preoccupations, together with own and cultural reminiscence, translation, images, desire, and the old and conceptual specificity of what has been termed "after Auschwitz." The study's numerous analyses—across a heterogeneous number of sleek writers and thinkers, assorted historic moments of articulation, and quite a number media—conspire to light up Lyotard's apodictic assertion that "after philosophy comes philosophy. however it has been altered through the 'after.'" As Richter's elaborate learn demonstrates, a lot hinges on our interpretation of the "after." finally, our so much basic assumptions relating smooth aesthetic illustration, conceptual discourse, group, subjectivity, and politics are at stake.

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Because the French paintings historian Georges Didi-Huberman reminds us, in “Warburg’s paintings, the time period Nachleben refers back to the survival (the continuity or afterlife and metamorphosis) of pictures and motifs—as against their renascence after extinction or, conversely, their alternative by way of thoughts in picture and motif. ” He maintains: “Almost each element of Warburg’s Kulturwissenschaftliche Bibliothek opens with a suite of records on the topic of inventive survivals,” yielding a belief of Nachleben that “must profoundly adjust, if taken heavily, our knowing of what a historic phenomenon or truth is. ”1 even though Warburg’s advent of options akin to das Nachleben der Antike, or “the afterlife of antiquity,” as an artwork historic class could function a touchstone for paintings historians and theorists as heterogeneous as Ernst Gombrich, Erwin Panofsky, and Fritz Saxl, Benjamin’s later mobilization of Nachleben might impression a fair extra radical, enigmatic, and encompassing transformation of the philosophy of heritage and modernity. From Benjamin’s standpoint, the concept that of Nachleben inflects the fates of paintings, media, heritage, philosophy, and the ethico-political dimensions of modernity. He articulates those matters of their so much complicated formulations within the notes that contain The Arcades venture. There, within the part at the conception of information, Benjamin explains his perception: Geschichtliches “Verstehen” ist grundsätzlich als ein Nachleben des Verstandnen zu fassen und daher ist dasjenige used to be in der examine des “Nachlebens der Werke,” des “Ruhmes” erkannt wurde, als die Grundlage der Geschichte überhaupt zu betrachen. [Historical “understanding” is to be grasped, essentially, as an afterlife of that that is understood; and what has been well-known within the research of the “afterlife of works,” within the research of “fame,” is accordingly to be thought of the basis of background commonly. ]2 If the duty of ancient knowing firstly is to appreciate what knowing means—that is, to presuppose a conception of interpretation or perhaps a radical hermeneutics—then, for Benjamin, the Verstehen that's to be grasped (zu fassen) needs to be sought within the Nachleben within which a piece or an idea first turns into recognizable because the problem and provocation that it truly is. This figuring out of realizing unfolds within the spectral mode of its afterlife, whilst its putative second of cognition has lengthy handed. The foundational second of ancient figuring out, what Benjamin phrases the Grundlage der Geschichte überhaupt, may as a result now not be a second of presence, lucidity, and obvious information of an item that's to be had and similar to itself, yet relatively could demand a rigorous engagement with that which, inside of a piece or textual content, bespeaks a thorough nonsynchronicity of figuring out. What Nachleben inspires isn't really only a reconsideration of the historic yet a repetition of realizing that offers what was once presumed to were understood over to old realizing in ever-new and unpredictable methods.

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