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Figures of Simplicity
Sensation and Thinking in Kleist and Melville
Figures of Simplicity
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Birgit M. Kaiser - Author
SUNY series, Intersections: Philosophy and Critical Theory
Price: $75.00 
Hardcover - 171 pages
Release Date: January 2011
ISBN10: 1-4384-3229-1
ISBN13: 978-1-4384-3229-8

Quantity:  
Price: $26.95 
Paperback - 171 pages
Release Date: January 2012
ISBN10: 1-4384-3230-5
ISBN13: 978-1-4384-3230-4

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Summary Read First Chapter image missing

A fascinating comparison of the work of Heinrich von Kleist and Herman Melville.

Figures of Simplicity explores a unique constellation of figures from philosophy and literature—Heinrich von Kleist,  Herman Melville, G. W. Leibniz, and Alexander Baumgarten—in an attempt to recover alternative conceptions of aesthetics and dimensions of thinking lost in the disciplinary narration of aesthetics after Kant. This is done primarily by tracing a variety of “simpletons” that populate the writings of Kleist and Melville. These figures are not entirely ignorant, or stupid, but simple. Their simplicity is a way of thinking, one that Birgit Mara Kaiser suggests is affective thinking. Kaiser avers that Kleist and Melville are experimenting in their texts with an affective mode of thinking, and thereby continue a key line within eighteenth-century aesthetics: the relation of rationality and sensibility. Through her analyses, she offers an outline of what thinking can look like if we take affectivity into account.

Birgit Mara Kaiser is Assistant Professor of Comparative Literature at Utrecht University in the Netherlands.


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Table of Contents

Acknowledgments
Abbreviations

Introduction: On Subterranean Connections

1. Aesthetics: Sensation and Thinking Reconsidered

The Copernican Turn
The Folds of Small Perceptions
Sensate Thinking
Figures of Simplicity

2. Sentimentalities

Befuddling the Senses (The Betrothal in St. Domingo)
Spectacularly Simple: Well-Willingly Seeing Nothing (Benito Cereno)
Sentimentalizing Resentment

3. Affectivity

Resolute Simplicity (Billy Budd, Sailor. An inside narrative)
Calculating Mindlessness (Michael Kohlhaas)
Baroque Heroes

4. Insistence

On Passive Resistance (Bartleby, the Scrivener. A story of Wall-Street)
Figures of Simplicity
Lingering before Consciousness (Das Käthchen von Heilbronn oder Die Feuerprobe)
Supersensible Figures of the Fold

5. Conclusion

Notes
Bibliography
Index


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432298/432304(JFB/KW/MC)

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