A European Social Contract. Realistic Solution or Utopia?
Some commentators, however, see the influence of expressionism on Bloch as much more pervasive and enduring. Hence why philosophers, particularly those working in the analytic tradition, have increasingly sought to accommodate their discourse to the demands of scientific detachment and objectivity. To be sure, it is far from ignored, but as compared with that of, 4 Cf. Ernst Bloch, Literary Essays, trans.
Andrew Joron Stanford University Press, Holz, , p. When it comes to the question of how Nietzsche can predominantly be considered to have influenced Bloch, a variety of perspectives can be found in the literature. The idea of language as itself a form of social action is significant here, and the final part of the paper turns to the philosophy of language that Bloch develops initially in Geist der Utopie, and more expansively in his late work Experimentum Mundi. Bloch defends the idea of an objective truth that, while it may only be graspable in and through historically contingent language and while our perception of it may, he admits, be considerably shaped by the latter, is nevertheless irreducible to the status of mere metaphor.
The edition history of Geist der Utopie is rather complicated. The book was first published in , then again in a heavily revised version in The Suhrkamp edition in the Gesamtausgabe, published in , is an edited version of the text. The English translation is based on the Suhrkamp version. Here, wherever I have refer to material present in the version that has been altered or omitted from later versions of the text, I refer to the original German version. Where I refer to material that is either retained more or less unchanged, or was added later, I refer to the English translation.
Yet if it was renewal the expressionist generation sought, they were nevertheless often critical of technological modernity and its alienating effects. Particularly in Germany, where the transition to industrial capitalism had been late and rapid, expressionist generation was the first to experience the disintegrating effects of modernity in all their force. Unification under a Bismarck-led Prussia in had transformed a predominantly provincial, agricultural society into a leading industrial power in Europe by the turn of the century.
The effect of these historical developments on individual experience was profoundly disorientating. This preoccupation with an accelerating temporality fed a sense of messianic expectation, which Lisa-Marie Anderson has described as the defining characteristic of German culture in the first decades of the twentieth century.
Even the First World War was treated ambiguously as both a threat and a chance for cultural and spiritual rebirth.
Karl Schmidt-Rottluff, Christkopf Not only the sense of time was disrupted by the multiplication of new technologies: large-scale urbanization disrupted traditional experiences of space. Bloch saw the spatial contradictions of capitalism encapsulated in the contrast between the proletarian port town of Ludwigshafen where he grew up, and the refined yet conservative Mannheim just across the Rhein. Many, Bloch included, came to believe that the human condition could only be improved through social, not technological, change. Bloch was among those who looked to Marxism and the prospect of a communist revolution like the one that had taken place in Russia as a solution to the ills of the age.
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Yet if many expressionists were socially critical, the overweening political spirit of the age was what Seth Taylor has described as a left-wing Nietzscheanism. As Nietzsche saw it, the death of God had brought about a profound crisis threatening metaphysical nihilism and epistemological relativism. By adopting this macrocosmic view of human insignificance, Nietzsche suggests that the modern scientific understanding of reality was contributing to what Weber would later call the disenchantment of the world by revealing it as devoid of meaning.
Claims to be able to represent objective truth linguistically failed, as Nietzsche saw it, because language is historically contingent, subjectively variable, and ultimately dependent on the senses. Owen and Tracy B. Strong eds. The vocation lectures Indianapolis: Hackett, Knowledge was therefore no longer primarily transcendentally constituted, but deeply subjective and perspectival. He followed in the footsteps of German romantics like Friedrich Schlegel who argued that if philosophy could not claim to represent reality transparently through language, then truth can only be approached through more poetic forms.
Whereas the Greeks had managed to balance the aesthetic drives of Dionysian abandon and Apollonian form and order, since the age of Socrates and Euripides Nietzsche claimed that the Apollonian drive to order had repressed the irrationalist Dionysian spirit, which as he saw it nevertheless remained the true source of artistic generation. Fischer Verlag, , p. In formal terms, this imperative often involved attempts to capture sensuously in language the subjective experience of dislocation and alienation associated with technological modernity.
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Braun wie Laub. Here, Stadler combines Nietzschean ideas about the power of art and language to create a new world with a social conscience typical of expressionist poetry. Ihr Gehilfe ist das Wort, die Sprache, die Vorbereitung. Alle Worte haben andere erfunden. Ich will meinen eigenen Unfug, und Vokale und Konsonanten dazu, die ihm entsprechen. Best, Theorie des Expressionismus Stuttgart: Reclam, , p. Figure 2. Hugo Ball, Karawane If most expressionists might have accepted the ultimate arbitrariness of language, however, their social agenda kept them broadly committed to the utility of convention even as they sought to experiment with new forms.
Nevertheless, as far as the question of language was concerned, the intellectual and aesthetic atmosphere of the expressionist age was redolent with a sense of linguistic meaning as essentially constructive rather than representative. It was in this context that the philosophy of culture began to emerge.
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The philosophy of culture was one of several new intellectual currents that developed during the first decades of the twentieth century. Departing from the idea of culture as the defining condition of human being, these thinkers essentially sought to reorient modern philosophy as a form enquiry into the universal and particular structures of culture and meaning.
The definition of culture was a central object of debate among these thinkers, but broadly conceived it was taken to include language, writing, myth, religion, morality, art, the economy, forms of social organization, media, science, and technology. In this context, many thinkers discovered Nietzsche as their intellectual predecessor, whose prioritization of value over truth and his metaphysics of artistry offered productive insights for considering culture philosophically as the irreducible condition of human experience.
Bloch was no exception in this regard. Even more strikingly, perhaps, is the fact that Bloch identifies Nietzsche in this early essay as a Vordenker of his own original insight, the idea of the not-yet conscious. Bloch had already formulated this idea by the time he moved to Berlin to study with Georg Simmel in , and it emerges ostensibly from his critical reading of psychoanalysis and his engagement with neo-Kantianism and experimental psychology. This dimension of the unconscious Bloch called the no- longer-conscious, and he opposed it with an anticipatory state of consciousness oriented towards what is not yet but might be.
Imagination, premonition, intuition, hope could all be examples of the not-yet-conscious for Bloch, and although these conditions—part mental, part emotional—often arise simply because the future cannot be known in advance, that did not mean for Bloch that they were necessarily irrational or divorced from reality. Returning to the theme of religion and its message at the end of the essay, Bloch writes: Dieu est mort, sagt Nietzsche, […] vive le dieu? Instead, he intimates a solution that would seem to involve reinscribing values of community, dignity, and the meaningfulness of life in a secular manner.
See, for example, p. It is, rather, a new world, coming with power to establish itself in the ruins of the old. Yet Bloch also understood the Front as the location of the human being as the most advanced kind of being yet to have emerged in the cosmic-historical process of world disclosure.
In addition, the Front is the location at which the new, or Novum, takes place. In other words, the Russian Popiel floats a third Slavic way toward the ideal compromise between the alternatives of humanness and sensual satisfaction. He disassociates the characters in his novella from a limited and limiting reality, to act out in an imagined space that which is not possible in the realm of reality, so that the fictional conversation substitutes for the real. This suspension in fantasy also explains his depiction of a rapid inversion of sexual power rela- tionships, set at the border of the Habsburg Empire, with its anxiety-provok- ing loss of manhood.
Sacher-Masoch stylizes the periphery of the empire as a place of social reconstruction and reinvigoration, and thereby elevates its status in relation to the center of the Empire. Through his use of temporal and geographical border- lands, he is able to bring to light conflicts that were repressed or displaced onto exotic locations. He offers, not a way to remove all colonial, sexual, and psychological anxieties from the Habsburg sense of self, but a way to project them onto the periphery of empire so that they become imaginable. I would like to thank the anonymous GQ reviewers for providing such helpful and productive criticism.
The relationship between colonizer and colony is unequal and exploitative in both colonialism and internal colo- nialism. An internal colony typically produces wealth for the benefit of those areas most closely associated with the state, usually metropolitan centers. The members of the internal colonies may be distinguished as different by a cultural variable such as ethnicity, language, or religion. They are then excluded from prestigious social and po- litical positions, which are dominated by members of the ruling class. Most recently, Joseph Metz applied this concept to Austrian literature of the 19th century.
More recently, several studies have focused on the relevance of post-colonial theory for the Habsburg Empire. Monarchie, in jeder Bedeutung dieses Genitivs.
For further literature, see: Feichtinger, Prutsch and Csaky ; Feichtinger et al. Lincoln: UP of Nebraska, Bruck, Oliver. Deleuze, Gilles. Masochism: Coldness and Cruelty. Jean McNeil. New York: Zone Books, Exner, Lisbeth. Leopold von Sacher-Masoch. Reinbek bei Hamburg: Rowohlt, Innsbruck: Studien Verlag, Feichtinger, Johannes, et al. Gratzke, Michael. Hardt, Michael, and Antonio Negri.
New York: Penguin, Hechter, Michael. London: Routledge, Hyams, Barbara. Michael C. Finke and Carl Niekerk. Amsterdam: Rodopi, Kauffmann, Kai. Koschorke, Albrecht. Lorm, Hieronymus. Magris, Claudio. Wien: Paul Zsolnay, Mennel, Barbara. Metz, Joseph.
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Musil, Robert. Der Mann ohne Eigenschaften. Adolf Frise. Noyes, John K. Fremdsprachen- unterricht und Literatur in Forschung und Lehre. Rolf Annas. Stellenbosch: SUN Press, The Mastery of Submission: Inventions of Masochism. Ithaca: Cornell UP, By Leopold von Sacher-Masoch. Riverside, CA: Ariadne Press, Sacher-Masoch, Leopold von. Afrika Semiramis. Dresden: H. Dohrn, Das Eigenthum. Bern: Froben, Der Judenraffael: Geschichten aus Galizien.
Adolf Opel. Don Juan von Kolemea: Galizische Geschichten. Michael Farin. Bonn: Bouvier, Souvenirs: Autobiographische Prosa. Sebald, W. Salzburg: Residenz, Graz: Droschl, Stewart, Suzanne R. Related Papers. Beyond Masochism. New Thoughts about Leopold von Sacher-Masoch. By Stephanie Weismann. By Anne Dwyer. By Vitaly Chernetsky. By Ulrich E Bach. Download pdf. Remember me on this computer. Enter the email address you signed up with and we'll email you a reset link. Need an account?