Marginal Modernity: The Aesthetics of Dependency from Kierkegaard to Joyce

Marginal Modernity: The Aesthetics of Dependency from Kierkegaard to Joyce

by Leonardo F. Lisi


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Two ways of understanding the aesthetic organization of literary works have come down to us from the late 18th century and dominate discussions of European modernism today: the aesthetics of autonomy, associated with the self-sufficient work of art, and the aesthetics of fragmentation, practiced by the avant-gardes. In this revisionary study, Leonardo Lisi argues that these models rest on assumptions about the nature of truth and existence that cannot be treated as exhaustive of modernist form.

Lisi traces an alternative aesthetics of dependency that provides a different formal structure, philosophical foundation, and historical condition for modernist texts. Taking Europe's Scandinavian periphery as his point of departure, Lisi examines how Søren Kierkegaard and Henrik Ibsen imagined a response to the changing conditions of modernity different from those at the European core, one that subsequently influenced Henry James, Hugo von Hofmannsthal, Rainer Maria Rilke, and James Joyce.

Combining close readings with a broader revision of the nature and genealogy of modernism, Marginal Modernity challenges what we understand by modernist aesthetics, their origins, and their implications for how we conceive of our relation to the modern world.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780823245321
Publisher: Fordham University Press
Publication date: 12/10/2012
Pages: 352
Product dimensions: 6.10(w) x 9.10(h) x 1.10(d)

About the Author

Leonardo F. Lisi is Assistant Professor in the Humanities Center at The Johns Hopkins University. He is the author of Marginal Modernity: The Aesthetics of Dependency from Kierkegaard to Joyce (Fordham).

Table of Contents

Acknowledgments ix

Note on Citations xiii

Introduction: The Aesthetics of Modernism 1

Part 1 Philosophical Foundations

1 Presuppositions and Varieties of Aesthetic Experience 23

Part 2 Aesthetic Forms at the Scandinavian Periphery

2 John Ludvig Heiberg and the Autonomy of Art 57

3 Aesthetics of Fragmentation in Henrik Ibsen's Peer Gynt 87

4 Nora's Departure and the Aesthetics of Dependency 117

Part 3 Modernism and Dependency

5 Henry James and the Emergence of the Major Phase 169

6 Hugo von Hofmannsthal and the Language of the Future 204

7 Conflict and Mediation in James Joyce's "The Dead" 220

8 Intransitive Love in Rainer Maria Rilke's The Notebooks of Malte Laurids Brigge 247

Conclusion 269

Notes 273

Bibliography 301

Index 331

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