The Pathos of Distance Affects of the Moderns

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  • Format: Paperback
  • Copyright: 2016-04-21
  • Publisher: Bloomsbury Academic

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Jean-Michel Rabaté uses Nietzsche's image of a “pathos of distance,” the notion that values are created by a few gifted and lofty individuals, as the basis for a wide-ranging investigation into the ethics of the moderns. Revealing overlooked connections between Nietzsche's and Benjamin's ideas of history and ethics, Rabaté provides an original genealogy for modernist thought, moving through figures and moments as varied as Yeats and the birth of Irish Modernism, the ethics of courage in Virginia Woolf, Rilke, Apollinaire, and others in 1910, T. S. Eliot's post-war despair, Jean Cocteau's formidable selfmythology in his first film The Blood of a Poet, Siri Hustvedt's novel of American trauma, and J. M. Coetzee's dystopia portraying an affectless future haunted by a messianic promise.

Author Biography

Jean-Michel Rabaté is one of the world's foremost literary theorists. He is Professor of English and Comparative Literature at the University of Pennsylvania, USA. Rabaté has authored or edited more than thirty books on modernism, psychoanalysis, contemporary art, philosophy, and writers like Beckett, Pound and Joyce. Recent books include Crimes of the Future (2014), The Cambridge Introduction to Literature and Psychoanalysis (2014), the edited volume 1922: Culture, Politics and Literature (2015), and the forthcoming Think, Pig! Beckett at the Limit of the Human (2016). Co-founder and curator of Slought Foundation in Philadelphia (slought.org), he is one of the editors of the Journal of Modern Literature. Since 2008, he has been a Fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences.

Table of Contents

Introduction: Formations of Pathos: Nietzsche, Benjamin, Warburg
1."Pathos of distance": Huneker and Barthes reading Nietzsche
2. "Hard" modernism: Alfred Jarry
3. The Birth of Irish Modernism from the Spirit of Nietzscheism
4. Ethos vs. Pathos of the New in 1910
5. Affect Effects Affects: Deleuzian Affect vs. Lacanian Pathos
6."Playing Possum": War, Death and Distance in Eliot's poetry
7. Let the wound speak: Cocteau's Pathosformel
8. The Pathos of History: Trauma in Siri Hustvedt's The Sorrows of an American
9. Pathos of the Future: Nihilism and Hospitality in The Childhood of Jesus
Conclusion: When is a door not a door?

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