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PresencePhilosophy, History, and Cultural Theory for the Twenty-First Century$
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Ranjan Ghosh and Ethan Kleinberg

Print publication date: 2013

Print ISBN-13: 9780801452208

Published to Cornell Scholarship Online: August 2016

DOI: 10.7591/cornell/9780801452208.001.0001

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Be Here Now

Be Here Now

Mimesis and the History of Representation

(p.26) 2 Be Here Now

Vincent P. Pecora

Cornell University Press

This chapter focuses on the work of art, poetry, and the place of aesthetics in understanding the relation of presence and representation. By engaging with the works of Gumbrecht and Elaine Scarry, this chapter considers whether the turn to presence is a return to the modernist agon of mimesis versus representation in which the “discovery” of the viability of concepts such as beauty and “presence” are primarily a rediscovery of the lure of a redemptive mimesis in the face of a fallen world of representation. In the end, the underlying recourse in Scarry and Gumbrecht to archaic mimesis as an antidote to representation implies the persistence within the modern humanities of a deeper discontent with the humanistic enterprise itself. For both, it is the apparent loss of the untutored (childlike) innocence of human perception that should matter most of all.

Keywords:   representation, Hans Gumbrecht, Elaine Scarry, mimesis, human perception, aesthetics, modernism

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