Afterness: Figures of Following in Modern Thought and Aesthetics (Columbia Themes in Philosophy, Social Criticism, and the Arts)

Afterness: Figures of Following in Modern Thought and Aesthetics (Columbia Themes in Philosophy, Social Criticism, and the Arts)

By: Gerhard Richter (author)Hardback

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Gerhard Richter's groundbreaking study argues that the concept of "afterness" is a key figure in the thought and aesthetics of modernity. It pursues questions such as: What does it mean for something to "follow" something else? Does that which follows mark a clear break with what came before it, or does it in fact tacitly perpetuate its predecessor as a consequence of its inevitable indebtedness to the terms and conditions of that from which it claims to have departed? Indeed, is not the very act of breaking with, and then following upon, a way of retroactively constructing and fortifying that from which the break that set the movement of following into motion had occurred? The book explores the concept and movement of afterness as a privileged yet uncanny category through close readings of writers such as Kant, Kafka, Heidegger, Bloch, Benjamin, Brecht, Adorno, Arendt, Lyotard, and Derrida. It shows how the vexed concepts of afterness, following, and coming after shed new light on a constellation of modern preoccupations, including personal and cultural memory, translation, photography, hope, and the historical and conceptual specificity of what has been termed "after Auschwitz." The study's various analyses--across a heterogeneous collection of modern writers and thinkers, diverse historical moments of articulation, and a range of media--conspire to illuminate Lyotard's apodictic statement that "after philosophy comes philosophy. But it has been altered by the 'after.'" As Richter's intricate study demonstrates, much hinges on our interpretation of the "after." After all, our most fundamental assumptions concerning modern aesthetic representation, conceptual discourse, community, subjectivity, and politics are at stake.

About Author

Gerhard Richter is professor of German studies and comparative literature and chair of the Department of German Studies at Brown University. He is the author of Thought-Images: Frankfurt School Writers' Reflections from Damaged Life; Asthetik des Ereignisses: Sprache--Geschichte--Medium; and Walter Benjamin and the Corpus of Autobiography. He is also the editor of five additional books in the area of European critical thought, including Language Without Soil: Adorno and Late Philosophical Modernity.


Introduction: The Logic of Afterness 1. Afterness and Modernity: A Genealogical Note 2. Afterness and Critique: A Paradigmatic Case 3. Afterness and Aesthetics: End Without End 4. Afterness and Rettung: Can Anything Be Rescued by Defending It? 5. Afterness and Translation: The Politics of Carrying Across 6. Afterness and the Image (I): Unsettling Photography 7. Afterness and the Image (II): Image Withdrawal 8. Afterness and Experience (I): Can Hope Be Disappointed? 9. Afterness and Experience (II): Crude Thinking Rethought 10. Afterness and Experience (III): Mourning, Memory, and the Fictions of Anteriority 11. Afterness and Empty Space: No Longer and Not Yet Afterwards: After-Words Acknowledgments Notes Index

Product Details

  • ISBN13: 9780231157704
  • Format: Hardback
  • Number Of Pages: 272
  • ID: 9780231157704
  • ISBN10: 0231157703

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