Face Off: The Allegorical Image and Aesthetics

Brenda Machosky

in Structures of Appearing

Published by Fordham University Press

Published in print November 2012 | ISBN: 9780823242849
Published online January 2013 | e-ISBN: 9780823242887 | DOI:
Face Off: The Allegorical Image and Aesthetics

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This chapter challenges Plato's exile of the poets and the defensive posture this typically provokes in literary scholars. A close reading of Plato, especially Republic and Ion, reveals that in the image of the philosopher the poet appears. Not synonymous with the figure, the image sustains a conflicting simultaneity, two things in the same space at the same time, a logical contradiction with which philosophy cannot contend yet needs, and that allegory enables and supports. The introductory section analyses the difference of the image as resemblance rather than representation with reference to Plato's khora, Aristotle's phantasma, Heidegger's Gestalt, and Lévinas’ face. The section, “Art and Aesthetics” contests Hegel's judgment against art by proposing a nonaesthetic approach to art and by criticizing the philosophical sleight of hand by which Hegel promotes the Science of Art as Aesthetics. A final section, “The Work of Art,” presents a phenomenology of art, investigating what art is as a thing (a work) and as a task (a working out). Contrary to Hegel's views that art is something no longer essential and allegory is something cold, this chapter concludes that allegory itself is a work of art and can give us art unmediated by philosophy.

Keywords: aesthetics; allegory; Hegel; image; philosopher as poet; Plato; work of art

Chapter.  15751 words. 

Subjects: Literary Theory and Cultural Studies

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