Dramatic Experiments: Life According to Diderot (SUNY Series in Contemporary French Thought (Hardcover))

Dramatic Experiments: Life According to Diderot (SUNY Series in Contemporary French Thought (Hardcover))

Language: English

Pages: 271

ISBN: 1438448031

Format: PDF / Kindle (mobi) / ePub

A major new interpretation of the philosophical significance of the oeuvre of Denis Diderot.

Dramatic Experiments offers a comprehensive study of Denis Diderot, one of the key figures of European modernity. Diderot was a French Enlightenment philosopher, dramatist, art critic, and editor of the first major modern encyclopedia. He is known for having made lasting contributions to a number of fields, but his body of work is considered too dispersed and multiform to be unified. Eyal Peretz locates the unity of Diderot's thinking in his complication of two concepts in modern philosophy: drama and the image. Diderot's philosophical theater challenged the work of Plato and Aristotle, inaugurating a line of drama theorists that culminated in the twentieth century with Bertolt Brecht and Antonin Artaud. His interest in the artistic image turned him into the first great modern theorist of painting and perhaps the most influential art critic of modernity. With these innovations, Diderot provokes a rethinking of major philosophical problems relating to life, the senses, history, and appearance and reality, and more broadly a rethinking of the relation between philosophy and the arts. Peretz shows Diderot to be a radical thinker well ahead of his time, whose philosophical effort bears comparison to projects such as Gilles Deleuze's transcendental empiricism, Martin Heidegger's fundamental ontology, Jacques Derrida's deconstruction, and Jacques Lacan's psychoanalysis.

Eyal Peretz is Professor of Comparative Literature at Indiana University Bloomington. He is the author of Becoming Visionary: Brian De Palma's Cinematic Education of the Senses and of Literature, Disaster, and the Enigma of Power: A Reading of Moby-Dick.
















where, on the one hand, the writing itself haunts as an excess beyond that which it reveals, always remaining more than the content which shows itself in it; yet at the same time the content, which is also always more than itself and always contains an excess that marks its exposure beyond its finalized form, seems to exceed the finalized form received by the writing, in which it shows itself. The writing therefore calls for more writing—as if, through the excess of the content, it has discovered

image and watch herself, as in a dream, from the spectral, non-worldly place of this phantom, which thus becomes a strange mirror. In watching herself with, or through, the phantom’s “eye,” the actor also acquires the strange ability to see her own self-showing in relation to the spectators, and through this mysterious seeing mediated by the phantom she can relate to the audience, showing them the phantom that she sees in the way she wants them to see it, precisely because she can see her

this logic of split inheritance operates is that of the story itself, and also of its dramatic structure. As we have briefly seen, the story itself is an integral part of the father’s legacy. The story is what the father leaves to his children as an unsolved enigma, embodied in a voice which Diderot, as he says in his opening remarks, still seems to hear, long after the father’s death. The story concerns the ongoing posthumous reverberation of the father’s voice, for what the father leaves as a

Fried wants to interpret Diderot’s famous prescription to the actors in his On Dramatic Poetry to act as if no spectator were present, as if an invisible CONCLUSION 163 wall (also known as the fourth wall) separates the stage from the audience: “Whether you write or you act, think no more of the audience than if it had never existed. Imagine a huge wall across from the front of the stage, separating you from the audience, and behave exactly as if the curtain has never risen.”6 As Fried

prodeo,”14 “I advance masked,” has shown the Cartesian operation to involve a complexly constructed self-portrait. Very briefly put, Nancy shows that the exposed self, undergoing ontological doubt, constructs itself into a self-grounding Subject through a complex “visual” operation. In this operation, the self that tries to ground itself posits itself as a voyeur hiding behind a mask that he has constructed, a mask that is the Cartesian text itself, which he presents as being his autobiographical

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