Rogueish

08/08/14

My love of images - mesquite flowering, the wind, Ehécatl, whispering its secret knowledge - and words, my passion for the daily struggle to render them concrete in the world and on paper, to render them flesh, keeps me alive.

― Anzaldúa, Borderlands / La Frontera

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08/08/14

By means of the breach of philosophical identity, a breach that amounts to addressing the truth to itself in an envelope, to hearing itself speak without opening its mouth or showing its teeth, the bloodiness of a disseminated writing comes to separate the lips, to violate the embouchure of philosophy, putting its tongue into movement, finally bringing it into contact with some other code, of an entirely other kind. A necessarily unique event, nonreproducible, hence illegible as such and, when it happens, inaudible in the conch, between earth and sea, without signature.

― Derrida, “Tympan”

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'Majesty, Vehemence, Splendor' by Andrew Butterfield

08/08/14

Veronese’s style is overtly rhetorical. In the Renaissance, painting was often said to be a form of mute poetry, but Veronese’s first biographer, Carlo Ridolfi, writing in 1646, instead compared his art to oratory. This comment may appear to emphasize the artificial, ceremonial, and unnatural qualities of Veronese’s art. But it was meant as praise: in the Renaissance, rhetoric was seen as the foundation of the humanities. It is striking to note that in 1557, the year after he published the first Italian edition of his commentary on Vitruvius, Daniele Barbaro also published a treatise about literature and rhetoric called On Eloquence. There he praises grandezza as the highest and most sublime style, appropriate for the most elevated topics. The elements he names as the main components of grandezza—majesty, vehemence, splendor, vivacity—read almost like a list of the qualities of Veronese’s art.

I’ve been thinking recently about the “linguistic turn” in philosophy, and how language sometimes gets framed in opposition to the material and the affective. Classical rhetorical theory is a nice reminder of the contingency of this distinction - we can instead imagine a phenomenology of language in which language is itself majestic, vehement, splendid, and vivacious.

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[lbo-talk] Language & Wolf Children, was RE: (The 23%...)

02/25/12

Susanne Langer has a fine analysis of a “Wolf Child’ ‘discovered’ in France in the 1790s. The physician who took the young boy (around 18) into his home had a utilitarian conception of language and what motivated it. The by had come to love milk, and the physician tried to get him to say “milk” in order to get milk. Total failure. Then the boy became ill and died. During the final illness the boy kept murmuring “milk” to himself, apparently for the comfort of saying it and thinking about it.

Reminds me of Benjamin Noyes’ recent post on refusal of language as refusal of work (I believe the reference here is to Langer’s Philosophy in a New Key).

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