Six Variables, Three Modes

Eric Hayot

in On Literary Worlds

Published in print November 2012 | ISBN: 9780199926695
Published online January 2013 | e-ISBN: 9780199980499 | DOI:
Six Variables, Three Modes

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This chapter addresses the connection between the six variables and three modes set out in the preceding chapters. Together, the variables and the modes describe the history of a set of representational norms, and connect those norms to the social forces that they helped register and conceive. None of this means that the work of art always “discovers” society or the world, that it is invariably ahead of the imaginative curve whereby the social comes to be represented to (versions of) itself. We can only say that the artwork encodes and makes legible a set of relations that are expressions of a world-view in whose origin, conceptualization, development, consolidation, and transcendence works of art themselves play a vital role—and to which, through the commitment to making, the aesthetic will have a privileged and shared relationship. What emerges neither asserts art's reflective epiphenomenality nor illustrates its subordination to or illustration of history. It demonstrates art's coevality and engagement with the historical, and confirms its imaginative power and its verdant, social force.

Keywords: variables; modes; representational norms; social forces; art

Chapter.  3167 words. 

Subjects: Literary Studies (20th Century onwards)

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