This Fall’s issue is the first collection of essays based on papers presented at GASC 2019, “Returning to the Linguistic Turn,” to be published in Anthropoetics.
Ben Barber’s “Immanence, Transcendence, and Interdividual Desire in Nietzsche, Bataille and Levinas” studies the philosophical roots of anti-humanist theory and philosophy’s commitment to immanence and repudiation of transcendence. Working with Girard’s notion of “interdividuality” and the understanding of transcendence generated by Gans’s originary hypothesis, Barber works through a genealogy of the reduction of sacrality to immanent totality through the privileging of violent sparagmos in Nietzsche and then Bataille. Barber concludes with a proposal for a dialogue between GA and Emmanuel Levinas’s ethics of alterity.
Andrew McKenna finds a linguistic turn in Shakespeare’s King Lear, following the mimetic crisis initiated by Lear’s resentment into linguistic doublings and meaninglessness. McKenna reminds us that understanding Shakespeare as a mimetic thinker allows a full appreciation of his accomplishment and place in Western culture while dispersing the mists created by mysticisms of “genius” like those of Harold Bloom.
Richard van Oort’s Shakespeare’s Big Men was the inspiration for MacKenna’s return to Shakespeare, and van Oort’s essay here contains the first fruits of a new project, complementary to Big Men, dealing with Shakespeare’s comedies. Van Oort starts mapping out the “laws” of Shakespearean comedy, in “Shakespeare’s Comedies and the Constancy of Love.” Focusing on Much Ado About Nothing. Van Oort finds in the comedies a turn away from the public sphere addressed in the tragedies toward the private, economic sphere, presaging the deferral of resentment effected by the modern marketplace.
Matthew Taylor’s “Beholding the Beholder’s Eye: Beauty and Mimetic Effects in Jane Austen” addresses what we might see as the equivalent of the materialist/idealist problem in mimetic theory. Mimesis adds to the desirability of the object, but does the object “really” remain as it is, with desire operating solely in the imagination of the subject? Or is the desired one actually transformed by the attraction of others? Taylor examines some characters in Austen’s novels and shows that, for Austen, beauty is not merely objective, with desire a superadded mimetic effect, but, rather, genuine, physical beauty can (in complex, qualified ways) be conferred upon (and appropriated by) the desired one. For Taylor, this conclusion suggests a solution to the problem of “good mimesis,” which has created difficulties for mimetic theory.
Finally, I initiate the new book review section of Anthropoetics by reviewing C.A. Bond’s Nemesis: The Jouvenelian vs. Liberal Model of Human Orders. Perhaps it will inject new political questions into GA, especially regarding the anthropological foundations of liberal democracy.