Infant Figures: The Death of the Infans and Other Scenes of Origin
This volume juxtaposes philosophical and psychoanalytic speculation with literary and artistic commentary in order to approach a set of questions concerning the human relation to language, a relation that cannot be taken as an "object" of critical or philosophical reflection in the traditional manner. Exploring the exigencies of figuring this relation at the limits of language, the multifold writing of this volume takes the form of a "triptych" (following the model of works by Francis Bacon) rather than that of a thesis.
The central (and organizing) section of the volume contains an extended dialogue on two textual passages portraying versions of what the author describes as "the death of the infans." With the strange resonance of the "primal" or the "originary," these two scenes from works by Maurice Blanchot and Jacques Lacan invite a reflection on the mortal exposure that marks the human share in the advent of language, an exposure whose figuration is necessary to any speech or conscious life. The dialogue explores the ethical and philosophical issues that surface in a practice of writing (a "pragmatics") that engages this necessary figuration, and thus the limits of language. The latter issues are also explored in a brief essay on Antigone that concludes the dialogical fiction.
The first and third parts of the volume's triptych address artistic projects that realize in their respective ways a pragmatics like that of the central section. The first part focuses on the work of Francis Bacon, taking the motif of crucifixion as a path toward understanding his violent realism. This essay is prefaced by a consideration of the notion of cruelty to which Nietzsche appeals in The Genealogy of Morals. The third part, which juxtaposes a dialogue with a critical essay, concerns the work of Salvatore Puglia. Through Bacon and Puglia, the author seeks another approach to a figural imperative at the limits of language.
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affirmation anamnesis Antigone Antigone's artist autrui awakening Blanchot burning child called character claim Crucifixion cruelty death drive Deleuze describes desire Dionysian dream Ecce Homo encounter engagement essay essence ethical event evoke exigency experience fact fantasm father finitude Francis Bacon Freud friendship Genealogy of Morals Giorgio Agamben ground Heidegger human infans infant figure Ismene jouissance kind Kreon Lacan language Leclaire Leclaire's Levinas marks matter Maurice Blanchot meaning meditation memory Michel Leiris mortal exposure motif Nietzsche Nietzsche's notion oedipal offer opening origin originary painting passage perhaps philia philosophical phrase political possible presence primal scene psychoanalysis question reading reality reference relation Remains responsibility ressentiment Salvatore Puglia seems sense signifier singular speak speech structure suffering supposition term thing thought tion translate turn Uber die Schadelnerven uncon unconscious understand usage words writing