On Creaturely Life: Rilke, Benjamin, Sebald
University of Chicago Press, 24 jun. 2009 - 216 páginas
In his Duino Elegies, Rainer Maria Rilke suggests that animals enjoy direct access to a realm of being—the open—concealed from humans by the workings of consciousness and self-consciousness. In his own reading of Rilke, Martin Heidegger reclaims the open as the proper domain of human existence but suggests that human life remains haunted by vestiges of an animal-like relation to its surroundings. Walter Benjamin, in turn, was to show that such vestiges—what Eric Santner calls the creaturely—have a biopolitical aspect: they are linked to the processes that inscribe life in the realm of power and authority.
Santner traces this theme of creaturely life from its poetic and philosophical beginnings in the first half of the twentieth century to the writings of the enigmatic German novelist W. G. Sebald. Sebald’s entire oeuvre, Santner argues, can be seen as an archive of creaturely life. For Sebald, the work on such an archive was inseparable from his understanding of what it means to engage ethically with another person’s history and pain, an engagement that transforms us from indifferent individuals into neighbors.
An indispensable book for students of Sebald, On Creaturely Life is also a significant contribution to critical theory.
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allegory animal Arcades Project argued Austerlitz baroque become biopolitical castration Celan characterizes cited concept context course creaturely crucial death deﬁnes difﬁcult dimension emphasized encounter enigmatic Eric Santner essay ethical exposure famous Ferber ﬁction ﬁeld ﬁgure ﬁnal ﬁnally ﬁnds ﬁrst Franz Rosenzweig Freud function gaze German Giorgio Agamben Heidegger Heidegger’s human Hunter Gracchus Ibid Jacques Lacan jouissance Kafka kind Lacan living Malte man’s means melancholy memory mode modern mythic narrator narrator’s natural history neighbor notes object one’s passage Paul Paul’s photographs poem Political Theology possibility radical Rainer Maria Rilke recalls refers reﬂections relation remarks Rilke Rilke’s Rings of Saturn Rosenzweig Schreber’s seems Selected Writings sense sexuality signiﬁes Slavoj Zˇizˇek social sovereign space speciﬁc spectral story suggests superego symbolic thing tion trans ture ultimately uncanny undead understanding University Press Vertigo violence W. G. Sebald Walter Benjamin word
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