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Challenging the Absurd?

Sartre’s Article on Kafka and the Fantastic

Jo Bogaerts

his own version of existentialism, which risked being conflated with ‘absurdity’ and ‘nihilism’. In these articles, one author in particular, Franz Kafka, acts as the figurative ‘prism’ through which Sartre challenges rival versions of existential

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Iddo Landau

This paper critically examines Sartre's argument for the meaninglessness of life from our foundationless freedom. According to Sartre, our freedom to choose our values is completely undetermined. Hence, we cannot rely on anything when choosing and cannot justify our choices. Thus, our freedom is the foundation of our world without itself having any foundation, and this renders our lives absurd. Sartre's argument presupposes, then, that although we can freely choose all our values we have a meta-value that we cannot choose: that values are acceptable only if they are justified by some independent factor rather than by one's free choice. I argue that we need not accept this presupposition: subjectivists may well choose to be 'proud subjectivists' who are pleased with, rather than ashamed by, their subjectivism. Indeed, many subjectivists, including those considering the meaning of life - for example, Harry Frankfurt and Brooke Alan Trisel - adopt this position.

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The Art of Doubting

A Jewish Perspective

Danny Rich

led to a breakdown in the liberal consensus, enabling proponents of absurd ideas to be reinforced by other believers geographically far away. He is much more cynical than me about humanity, concluding that Trump's misogynist beliefs and Modi

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Instrumentalising Media Memories

The Second World War According to Achtung Zelig! (2004)

Maaheen Ahmed

, protesting violence by operationalising the absurd and provoking laughter. Achtung Zelig! adds a twist to Holocaust (post-)memory since it ‘presents history as something that has passed through the prism of the culture of media’. 5 Cultural productions

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Niklas Olsen, Irene Herrmann, Håvard Brede Aven, and Mohinder Singh

Koselleck] (Frankfurt: Campus Verlag, 2018), 187 pp. Jan Eike Dunkhase, Absurde Geschichte: Reinhart Kosellecks historischer Existentialismus [Absurd history: Reinhart Koselleck's historical existentialism] (Marbach: Deutschen Literaturarchiv Marbach

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Nicholas J. Wernicki, Shannon M. Mussett, Adrian van den Hoven, and Matthew C. Eshleman

David Detmer, Sartre Explained Review by Nicholas J. Wernicki

Christine Daigle and Jacob Golomb, eds., Beauvoir & Sartre: The Riddle of Influence Review by Shannon M. Mussett

John Foley, Albert Camus: From the Absurd to Revolt Review by Adrian van den Hoven

Sebastian Gardner, Sartre’s Being and Nothingness: A Reader’s Guide Review by Matthew C. Eshleman

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Carol Bohmer and Amy Shuman

For immigration authorities, the goal of asylum hearings is to differentiate between economic migrants and legitimate political asylum seekers. However, in the stories asylum seekers tell, these categories often blur. Nevertheless, the asylum process uses this differentiation to conceal inequities in the system, and to justify denials. This article examines political asylum as a transnational and culturally local process and argues that contradictions between protection and control underlie some of the seemingly absurd denials of asylum applications.

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Dora Verus Dora

Exploding the Myth in Wise Children

Judy Hayden

'A woman attends a funeral. The coffin is lowered into the grave. A man approaches her and says, "He was not your father."' Thus begins a book, On Birth and Madness, by Eric Rhode, an opening reproduced in a review by Angela Carter. In this 'wayward and infuriating book', Carter observes, Rhode is remarkably absorbed by paternity, by Oedipus, by Hamlet and by Freud's LIttle Hans – in a book which ostensibly addresses maternity. Whose child we are, our paternity, Carter counters, is a 'profoundly absurd question' ('Rhode', 202–03).

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Refiguring Modernism in European Comics

'New Seeing' in the Works of Lorenzo Mattotti and Nicolas de Crécy

Barbara Uhlig

Both in literature and art, exponents of modernism sought new forms of expression that took into account changes in the social, economic, technical and political conditions of the time. A similar trend towards questioning outmoded forms of representation and establishing new ways of seeing has become apparent in European comics since the 1980s, a development that was initiated primarily in Italy and France. In Murmure (1989), Lorenzo Mattotti invokes expressionism and centres his mystical tale on the individual's inner being. In rejecting the representational norms traditionally applied to comics, Nicolas de Crécy also shows his allegiance to modernism yet reflects in his absurdly hyperrealist work, Foligatto (1991), the grotesque images of Otto Dix. The following article demonstrates how the two artists, despite the deliberate reversion to early twentieth-century art common to both, have, each in his own way, established a new approach to seeing in comics.

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David Allen Harvey

Classical polytheism or “paganism” presented a challenge to the Philhellenes of the Enlightenment, who found it difficult to accept that the greatest minds of antiquity had been taken in by (vide Fontenelle) “a heap of chimeras, delusions, and absurdities.” Rejecting the claim that “paganism” was a deformation of the “natural religion” of the early Hebrew patriarchs, several Enlightenment thinkers developed theories of classical polytheism, presenting it as the apotheosis of the great kings and heroes of the first ages of man, a system of allegorical symbols that conveyed timeless truths, and the effort of a prescientific mentality to understand the hidden forces of nature. Although divergent in their interpretations of “paganism,” these theories converged by separating its origins from Judeo-Christian traditions and presenting religion as an essentially human creation. Thus, Enlightenment theories of classical mythology contributed to the emergence of the more cosmopolitan and tolerant spirit that characterized the age.