Phantom Formations: Aesthetic Ideology and the Bildungsroman
Cornell University Press, 1996 - Literary Criticism - 220 pages
Marc Redfield maintains that the literary genre of the Bildungsroman brings into sharp focus the contradictions of aesthetics, and also that aesthetics exemplifies what is called ideology. He combines a wide-ranging account of the history and theory of aesthetics with close readings of novels by Goethe, George Eliot, and Gustave Flaubert. For Redfield, these fictions of character formation demonstrate the paradoxical relation between aesthetics and literature: the notion of the Bildungsroman may be expanded to apply to any text that can be figured as a subject producing itself in history, which is to say any text whatsoever. At the same time, the category may be contracted to include only a handful of novels (or even none at all), a paradox that has led critics to denigrate the Bildungsroman as a phantom genre.
Phantom Formations addresses the problem of the Bildungsroman through a rigorous examination of aesthetic ideology which explains the hysteria provoked by literary theory, clarifies the link between aestheticism and technologism, and questions the aesthetic presuppositions of the pragmatist and neo-professionalist ideologies of the modern bureaucratic university.
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aesthetic appears beautiful becomes begin Bildung Bildungsroman body called chapter character claim close consciousness course criticism critique culture death desire difference discourse discussion Eliot's emergence essay event existence experience fact father fetish fiction figure finally Flaubert force formal genre George German Goethe Goethe's ground hand human idea ideal identity ideology imagination instance institution interest irony judgment knowledge language Lehrjahre less linguistic literary literature meaning narrative nature notion novel object occurs offers once origin paradox particular passage play political possibility pragmatic precisely present problem production provides pure question reading reason reference reflection relation remains representation represents rhetorical Schiller seems sense sentimental social story structure suggests symbol sympathy taste technical theory thought tion tradition trans turn understanding University Press Wanderjahre Wilhelm Meisters writing York
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