IF IT HAS BEEN THE FATE OF POETRY to be defeated, marginalized, and lorded over by philosophy, we could map the history of modernist literature between two decrees against art - Georg Wilhelm Friedrich Hegel's thesis that art works have lost their power and capacity to fulfill humanity's highest needs and Theodor Adorno's pronouncement that it is barbaric to write poetry after Auschwitz. It is of course between the time of these two proclamations that art in Europe embarked upon a period of unprecedented formal innovation and that poetry in particular shattered received conventions of rhetoric and syntax. Hegel's idea of the end of art is less a categorical denunciation of art-works for posing a threat to the notion of truth and the good life, the view that underpins Socrates' proposal in Plato's Politeia to banish the poets from the just state, than the assertion of the primacy of speculative reason in grasping the highest stages of historical consciousness. Adorno's stricture, on the other hand, stands as an ethical injunction. For it is the moral legitimacy of art that is now at stake - its very right to exist in the wake of the barbarism of war and genocide. If art does come to an end, it is because it has been radically outbid by the devastations of history. Measured against the reality of suffering, art is both inadequate and incapable of giving voice to horror and agony, or is complicit in it.
|Title of host publication||Hermann Broch, Visionary in Exile|
|Subtitle of host publication||The 2001 Yale Symposium|
|Publisher||Boydell and Brewer Ltd|
|Number of pages||16|
|Publication status||Published - 2011 Jan 1|
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Arts and Humanities(all)