Ross Posnock: “‘Don’t think, but look!’: W.G. Sebald, Wittgenstein, and Cosmopolitan Poverty”

The new issue of Representations (Fall 2010) includes an essay by Ross Posnock (English and Comparative Literature, Columbia University) entitled “‘Don’t think, but look!’: W. G. Sebald, Wittgenstein, and Cosmopolitan Poverty.” To access it online, please click here.

Here is the abstract and, below that, a preview of the article’s first page (click on it to enlarge):

Abstract. This essay has two aims: to bring together the antinovelist Sebald with a figure he revered, the antiphilosopher Wittgenstein, via the theme and form of “desublimed” looking—vision that respects surface and avoids “Cartesian rigidity” (Sebald). The essay weaves these two writers into a larger constellation, inaugurated by the first cosmopolitan Diogenes the Cynic, and which includes his admirer William James, a grouping marked by an esteem of poverty and the desire to find an exit from the refinement of philosophy as metaphysics.

 

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