The Abyss Above: Philosophy and Poetic Madness in Plato, Holderlin, and Nietzsche
In The Abyss Above, Silke-Maria Weineck offers the first sustained discussion of the relationship between poetic madness and philosophy. Focusing on the mad poet as a key figure in what Plato called the ancient quarrel between philosophy and poetry, Weineck explores key texts from antiquity to modernity in order to understand why we have come to associate art with irrationality. She shows that the philosophy of madness concedes to the mad a privilege that continues to haunt the Western dream of reason, and that the theory of creative madness always strains the discourse on authenticity, pitching the controlled, repeatable, but restrained labor of philosophy against the spontaneous production of poetic texts said to be, by definition, unique.
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Page 3 - As for a common language, there is no such thing; or rather, there is no such thing any longer; the constitution of madness as a mental illness, at the end of the eighteenth century, affords the evidence of a broken dialogue, posits the separation as already effected, and thrusts into oblivion all those stammered, imperfect words without fixed syntax in which the exchange between madness and reason was made. The language of psychiatry, which is a monologue of reason about madness, has been established...