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THE LACK OF REPOSE

THE LACK OF REPOSE In a dialogue whose precedents include Oscar Wilde's "Critic as Artist," two fictional professors of English take up the relationship between aestheticism and quietism. Their conversation begins with a debate on the necessity of treating sociopolitical contexts when teaching literature then moves to connections among aesthetic experience, political disengagement, inactivity, and contemplation explored by Wilde, Miguel de Molinos, Aristotle, Hannah Arendt, Walter Pater, Arthur Schopenhauer, Johann Winckelmann, and others. Having described the influence of nineteenth-century science and determinism on Wilde's gospel of inaction, as well as Pater's adaptation of the Winckelmannian view that people and things express their nature most truly when still, one speaker wonders whether aesthetic experience gains some of its significance from its affiliation with leisure. The other resists the idea that repose might constitute one of life's key desiderata, but notes at the close how both his own view and his interlocutor's are adumbrated in the Wallace Stevens poem that furnishes the dialogue its title. http://www.deepdyve.com/assets/images/DeepDyve-Logo-lg.png Common Knowledge Duke University Press

THE LACK OF REPOSE

Common Knowledge , Volume 15 (3) – Oct 1, 2009

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Publisher
Duke University Press
Copyright
Duke University Press
ISSN
0961-754X
eISSN
1538-4578
DOI
10.1215/0961754X-2009-021
Publisher site
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Abstract

In a dialogue whose precedents include Oscar Wilde's "Critic as Artist," two fictional professors of English take up the relationship between aestheticism and quietism. Their conversation begins with a debate on the necessity of treating sociopolitical contexts when teaching literature then moves to connections among aesthetic experience, political disengagement, inactivity, and contemplation explored by Wilde, Miguel de Molinos, Aristotle, Hannah Arendt, Walter Pater, Arthur Schopenhauer, Johann Winckelmann, and others. Having described the influence of nineteenth-century science and determinism on Wilde's gospel of inaction, as well as Pater's adaptation of the Winckelmannian view that people and things express their nature most truly when still, one speaker wonders whether aesthetic experience gains some of its significance from its affiliation with leisure. The other resists the idea that repose might constitute one of life's key desiderata, but notes at the close how both his own view and his interlocutor's are adumbrated in the Wallace Stevens poem that furnishes the dialogue its title.

Journal

Common KnowledgeDuke University Press

Published: Oct 1, 2009

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