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Title:As lively mock’d as ever: Plasticity and the aesthetic image of life
Author(s):Carr, Brandon
Director of Research:Blake, Nancy; Michelson, Bruce
Doctoral Committee Chair(s):Blake, Nancy
Doctoral Committee Member(s):Courtemanche, Eleanor; Proulx, François
Department / Program:Comparative & World Literature
Discipline:Comparative Literature
Degree Granting Institution:University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
Degree:Ph.D.
Genre:Dissertation
Subject(s):Aesthetics
Biology
Hegel
Malabou
Plasticity
Literature
Structuralism
Abstract:This dissertation contends with the treatment of the biological in literary representation, arguing that the biological lacunae particularly visible in critical practice are best redressed by a formal exploration of aesthetic images of life. Biology, as I will show, admits of contingency, spontaneity, and novelty at the level of its aesthetic representation in a manner entirely distinct from what might be gleaned from a critical practice focused exclusively on the annals of discursive history. I approach this dynamic as an isomorphism of symbolism and biology and argue that just as contemporary philosophy has, through the work of Catherine Malabou, traced the symbolization of the biological, aesthetic criticism should seek to trace the biologization of the symbolic, that is, should seek to trace the way biology imposes its presence as an ontological piece of representation. Working my way back from the prominent appearance of three specific tropes in naturalist texts, I demonstrate within this dynamic that the aesthetic image of life asserts its plasticity against an impossible transcendental alterity, an alterity too long taken for granted in critical practice.
Issue Date:2018-04-03
Type:Text
URI:http://hdl.handle.net/2142/101275
Rights Information:Copyright 2018 Brandon Carr
Date Available in IDEALS:2018-09-04
Date Deposited:2018-05


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