Read e-book online Abyss of Reason: Cultural Movements, Revelations, and PDF

By Daniel Cottom

ISBN-10: 0195068572

ISBN-13: 9780195068573

During this pathbreaking learn, the ancient courting among nineteenth-century spiritualism and twentieth-century surrealism is the root for a common exam of conflicting routine in literature, paintings, philosophy, technological know-how, and different components of social lifestyles. simply because spiritualism delved into the realm past humanity and surrealism used to be based at the global inside of, the 2 offer a provocative body for studying the struggles inside sleek tradition. Cottom argues that we needs to conceive of interpretation by way of urgency, hope, fierce competition, and impromptu deviation if we wish to know how issues come to endure that means for us. He demonstrates that even if Victorians protecting seances and surrealists composing manifestoes have been such a lot silly, that they had a lot that was once necessary to assert concerning the existence (and dying) of cause.

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Additional resources for Abyss of Reason: Cultural Movements, Revelations, and Betrayals

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Consequently what is called unspeakable is nothing else than what is untrue, irrational, something barely and simply "meant". " His criticism of those who thought they could find truth in individuals who were mesmerized followed the same lines, but from the direction of subjectivity rather than objectivity. 71 There may be no getting past this criticism as long as one assumes that meaning must be rational —and that reason must be rational—but these assumptions were put to the test by modern spiritualism.

69 Spiritualism was bending discourse into forms at once bizarre and reassuring, into familiarity-in-strangeness, at the very time when professionals were insisting that their practices aspire to a disinterested and neutral form, as in the artistic code of realism that Lewes and George Eliot, among others, were helping to promulgate. And while this relation to professionalism does not exhaustively explain spiritualism, it does become especially important when one considers the way spiritualist communications would be characterized in relation to ordinary language.

It takes its title, Abyss of Reason, from Cahagnet, the nineteenth-century author of The Secrets of the Future Life Unveiled and other works on spiritualism; but as I have noted, I trust that this title also engages the concerns of contemporary criticism and theory. In writing of spiritualism and surrealism, I do not try to idealize these movements, to reflect upon them as objects of dispassionate scrutiny, or to trace their origins, growth, and decline. My aim has been to entertain their suggestiveness as cultural movements, to work through them in this sense, as opposed to thinking upon, about, against, or with them.

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Abyss of Reason: Cultural Movements, Revelations, and Betrayals by Daniel Cottom

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