Jean-Michel RabatÃ©, the eminent French Joycean, combines psychoanalytical and philosophical concepts in rereading the history of modernity to give a more precise meaning to the term "modernism."
Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â RabatÃ© focuses throughout on a single theme, the ghostly nature of modernity. In writing a history of the concept of modernity with the awareness that the radically new has often been subject to the effects of the return of the repressed, RabatÃ© analyzes the notion of loss in various fields: in Freudian aesthetics of color, in literary history, and in philosophy. The postmodernist fascination with a lost object allows a reconsideration of the boundaries of such terms as "modernism" and "postmodernism."
Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â The conclusion ties together all these motifs, from Joyce to Barthes, together and shows their theoretical basis in Marx's criticism of ideology and in Freud's consideration of mourning. From the analysis of "color" as an unthinkable object of discourse to an aesthetics of the unpresentable, RabatÃ© points to the possibility of an "ethics of mourning," which would seem capable of overcoming the dead end of history whose ending condemns it to eternal repetition.
Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â This work will appeal to a wide community of scholars. Its strong French and continental emphasis has application in literary studies, particularly English, French, and comparative studies.
Jean-Michel RabatÃ© is Marjorie G. Ernest Term Professor of English at the University of Pennsylvania. He is the coeditor of L'Ethique du don: Jacques Derrida et la question du don and the author of numerous books, including James Joyce, Joyce upon the Void: The Genesis of Doubt, Thomas Bernhard, and La BeautÃ© amÃ¨re.
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