The Historicity of Experience: Modernity, the Avant- Garde, and the Event

The Historicity of Experience: Modernity, the Avant- Garde, and the Event

The Historicity of Experience: Modernity, the Avant- Garde, and the Event

The Historicity of Experience: Modernity, the Avant- Garde, and the Event

Synopsis

In this groundbreaking volume, Krzysztof Ziarek rethinks modern experience

Excerpt

The Historicity of Experience rethinks modern experience by bringing together philosophical critiques of modernity and avant-garde poetry. My purpose in introducing the avant-garde into the philosophical discussion of modernity is not to provide a new global theory of the avant-garde or a cultural-historical account of the diverse avant-garde movements but, rather, to explore, through selective readings of avant-garde poetry, the key aspects of the radical critique of experience: technology, everydayness, temporality, and sexual difference. To that extent, The Historicity of Experience is less a book about the avant-garde then a critique of experience through the avant-garde. Reading the avant-garde in dialogue with the work of some of the major critics of modernity—Heidegger, Benjamin, Lyotard, and Irigaray—allows me to situate avant-garde poetry in the broader context of the ongoing polemics about modernity and to explore how avant-garde “experiments” bear critically upon the issue of modern experience and its technological organization.

In his famous Baudelaire essay on the crisis of experience brought about by technology, Walter Benjamin links the eclipse of the lyric to the changes in the structure of being in modernity. For Benjamin, the atrophy of a certain kind of experience—of full presence or the aura—makes Baudelaire a representative poet of the nineteenth century and possibly the last lyric . . .

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