the novelistic conditions of modernism
This chapter considers how late modernist reflection on novelistic language responds to perceived impasses of philosophy. Focusing on Theodor Adorno's writings on the novel, the chapter argues that thinking through the problem of apparently excessive or purposeless description in the epic and the novel provides a path to develop a more expansive understanding of knowledge and experience—that is, beyond the overly circumscribed conception of knowledge and experience descending from Kantian philosophy and Georg Lukács's influential account of the absent totality. Adorno's distinctive approach to this problem is inseparable from a linguistic reorientation of his thought, a shift that involves a mutation of the problem of knowledge underlying Lukács's accounts of the absent totality, as the work of philosophy is conceived as a practice of reading and reflection on language. Adorno's reflections on novelistic language thus offer a framework to think beyond the scenario of representational failure that has oriented recent work on modernism hinging on the situation of the absent totality.
D'Arcy, M. (2018)., Intimidated thought: the novelistic conditions of modernism, in A. Falcato & A. Cardiello (eds.), Philosophy in the condition of modernism, Dordrecht, Springer, pp. 285-307.
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