Stanzas : The Word and the Phantasm in Western Culture

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"Stanzas" (which means "rooms" in Italian) is a blend of philology, the psychoanalysis of toys, medieval physics and psychology, and contemporary linguistics and philosophy. In this work, Giorgio Agamben attempts to reconfigure the epistemological foundation of Western culture. He rereads Freud and Saussure to discover the impossibility of metalanguage - there is no "superior language" that can read the obscure scenes of the unconscious, and the "symbol" is always the return of the repressed in an improper signifier. This impossibility leads Agamben to the problem of representation. He argues that since language is the locus of the production and storage of phantasms, all real objects are fractured by phantasmic itineraries that in turn divide poetry and philosophy, joy and knowledge. This division is at the origin of Western culture and renders impossible the possession of any object of knowledge. Giorgio Agamben is the author of "Language and Death" (University of Minnesota Press 1991).
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Product details

  • Paperback | 224 pages
  • 149.86 x 223.52 x 12.7mm | 294.83g
  • University of Minnesota Press
  • Minnesota, United States
  • English
  • 2nd ed.
  • 0816620385
  • 9780816620388
  • 307,163

Table of contents

Part 1 The phantasms of Eros: The noonday demon; Melencolia I; Melancholic Eros; The lost object; The phantasms of Eros. Part 2 In the world of Odradek: Freud or the absent object; Marx or the universal exposition; Baudelaire or the absolute commodity; Beau Brummel or the appropriation of unreality; Mme Panckoucke or the toy-fairy. Part 3 The word and the phantasm: Narcissus and Pygmalion; Eros at the mirror "Spiritus phantasticus"; Spirits of love; Between Narcissus and Pygmalion; The "joy that never ends". Part 4 The perverse image: Oedipus and the sphinx; The proper and the improper; The barrier and the fold.
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