By Andrew Eastham
Because the improvement of British Aestheticism within the 1870s, the idea that of irony has centred a chain of anxieties that are vital to fashionable literary perform. analyzing essentially the most very important debates in post-Romantic aesthetics via hugely centred textual readings of authors from Walter Pater and Henry James to Samuel Beckett and Alan Hollinghurst, this examine investigates the dialectical place of irony in Aestheticism and its twentieth-century afterlives.
Aesthetic Afterlives constructs a far-reaching theoretical narrative by way of positioning Victorian Aestheticism because the foundation of Literary Modernity. Aestheticism's cultivation of irony and reflexive detachment used to be crucial to this legacy, however it used to be additionally the focal point of its personal self-critique. Anxieties concerning the proposal and perform of irony continued via Modernism, and feature lately been situated in Hollinghurst's paintings as a symptom of the political stasis inside post-modern tradition. bearing on the hot debates in regards to the 'new aestheticism' and the politics of aesthetics, Eastham asks how a utopian Aestheticism might be reconstructed from the problematics of irony and aesthetic autonomy that haunted writers from Pater to Adorno.
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Additional resources for Aesthetic Afterlives: Irony, Literary Modernity and the Ends of Beauty (Continuum Literary Studies)
The tonsured figure on the right may be regarding either of his fellow musicians, but in contrast to the other musicians, his gaze appears to be contained within the visual field of the painting. Pater’s reading of the Concert effectively negotiates this theatrical system of gazes by displacing our attention from the visual field to the auditory relations between the figures. The tonsured figure to the right is in the process of bowing a viol and the clerk is waiting ‘upon the true interval for beginning to sing’ (R , 113).
4 Living absolutely by moods, his total subjectivism develops into a wasting disease, and Kierkegaard identifies this disease as vampirism. Socrates is a vampire in so far as he embodies the concept of irony: There quietly develops in the individual the disease that is just as ironic as any other wasting disease and allows the individual to feel best when he is closest to disintegration. The ironist is the vampire who has sucked the blood of the lover and while doing so has fanned him cool , lulled him to sleep, and tormented him with troubled dreams.
Pater begins the passage with an idealist conception of beauty as the sensuous manifestation of inner soul: ‘It is a beauty wrought out from within upon the flesh’ (R , 98), but the idea that the Mona Lisa’s spirit is sensuously present in the image is soon undermined by a consistent focus on absence and death.