By Joseph Acquisto
Joseph Acquisto examines literary writers and significant theorists who hire theological frameworks, yet who divorce that framework from questions of trust and thereby get rid of the doctrine of salvation from their issues. Acquisto claims that Baudelaire inaugurates a brand new type of amodern modernity by means of canceling the idea of salvation in his writing whereas additionally refusing to include any of its secular equivalents, resembling historic growth or redemption via art.
Through a chain of “interhistorical” readings that placed literary and important writers from the final a hundred and fifty years in discussion, Acquisto indicates how those authors fight to articulate either the metaphysical and esthetic effects of trying to circulation past a good judgment of salvation. placing those writers into discussion with Baudelaire highlights the best way either literary and significant techniques try and articulate a 3rd choice among theism and atheism that still steers away from political utopianism and Nietzschean estheticism. within the concluding part, Acquisto expands metaphysical and esthetic matters to account additionally for the ethics inherent within the refusal of the common sense of salvation, an ethics which emerges from, instead of trying to redeem or cancel, a undeniable type of nihilism.
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Additional resources for The Fall Out of Redemption: Writing and Thinking Beyond Salvation in Baudelaire, Cioran, Fondane, Agamben, and Nancy
A closer look at Baudelaire’s poetry in conjunction with the early Benjamin will help us to articulate precisely why redemption is impossible in Baudelaire and what the consequences of this impossibility are. The most relevant poems form a cluster at the conclusion of the “Spleen et Idéal” [“Spleen and Ideal”] section of Les Fleurs du Mal. Of the seven final poems of that section, four are new to the 1861 edition. These additions recontextualize the other three poems and allow us to read this final cluster together as representing a move toward a more thorough thinking through of the logic and consequences of the impossibility of redemption.
These considerations of temporality in Baudelaire may seem to have taken us far from the question of redemption; a famous analyst of Baudelaire’s work, Walter Benjamin, will help us establish the links among non-linear temporality, the critical act, and redemption but not by way of his writings on Baudelaire. Rather, two key passages from Benjamin’s Trauerspiel book will not only further illuminate the links among these categories but also themselves serve as an illustration of the nonlinearity of developments in literary criticism, as we go back in time from de Man to Benjamin by approximately the same forty-year period that separates de Man from Agamben.
It would be prodigious if a critic were to become a poet, and it is impossible that a poet not contain a critic”] (OC2: 793). Baudelaire here defies Agamben’s assertion that criticism and literature, once united, came to be perceived as distinct activities, for while Baudelaire affirms the unity of poet and critic, it is in a one-sided way, since the poet contains the critic whereas the critic cannot aspire to the status of the poet. In other words, Baudelaire’s description depends on the dichotomy it calls into question in the case of the poet.
The Fall Out of Redemption: Writing and Thinking Beyond Salvation in Baudelaire, Cioran, Fondane, Agamben, and Nancy by Joseph Acquisto