Flesh of Images, The: Merleau-Ponty between Painting and Cinema (SUNY series in Contemporary Continental Philosophy)

Flesh of Images, The: Merleau-Ponty between Painting and Cinema (SUNY series in Contemporary Continental Philosophy)

Language: English

Pages: 128

ISBN: 1438458789

Format: PDF / Kindle (mobi) / ePub


Highlights Merleau-Ponty’s interest in film and connects it to his aesthetic theory.

In The Flesh of Images, Mauro Carbone begins with the point that Merleau-Ponty’s often misunderstood notion of “flesh” was another way to signify what he also called “Visibility.” Considering vision as creative voyance, in the visionary sense of creating as a particular presence something which, as such, had not been present before, Carbone proposes original connections between Merleau-Ponty and Paul Gauguin, and articulates his own further development of the “new idea of light” that the French philosopher was beginning to elaborate at the time of his sudden death. Carbone connects these ideas to Merleau-Ponty’s continuous interest in cinema—an interest that has been traditionally neglected or circumscribed. Focusing on Merleau-Ponty’s later writings, including unpublished course notes and documents not yet available in English, Carbone demonstrates both that Merleau-Ponty’s interest in film was sustained and philosophically crucial, and also that his thinking provides an important resource for illuminating our contemporary relationship to images, with profound implications for the future of philosophy and aesthetics. Building on his earlier work on Marcel Proust and considering ongoing developments in optical and media technologies, Carbone adds his own philosophical insight into understanding the visual today.

“The elegant style of Carbone’s prose—crafted with a certain cadence and phrasing, an inimitable world of language—nevertheless does not conceal the complexity of his scholarly research.” — Notre Dame Philosophical Reviews

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realities’ out of love, hate or anger, leaving them accessible to one single witness: the person who feels them.”8 In fact, according to Merleau-Ponty, the “new psychology” shows that “[a]nger, shame, hate, and love are not psychic facts hidden at the bottom of another’s consciousness: they are types of behavior or styles of conduct which are visible from the outside.”9 Merleau-Ponty claims that “the best observation of the aestheticians of the cinema”10 converges with such novelties in

the first one—that of the immutable models, namely, the ideas—the images (μιμήματα) whose sensible copies it generates. In the Poimandres sentence quoted by Delaunay, however, MerleauPonty seems to find the description of a “component” that is not informed by an external model, but is at once amorphous and informative44 of itself, since its very darkness seems to emanate that “inarticulate cry like the voice of light.” This “component” is thus at once amorphous darkness and structural luminosity,

Flesh / 73 every ‘attitude,’ and which, apprehended by philosophy in its universality, appears as containing everything that will ever be said, and yet leaving us to create it (Proust): it is the λόγος ἐνδιάθετος [implicit logos] which calls for the λόγος προφορικός [spoken logos].”47 Chapter Six The Sensible Ideas Between Life and Philosophy “A-Philosophy” As we know, in Eye and Mind, Merleau-Ponty remarks that modern paintings give him the impression that in our age the relationship of

is also able to radically transform the identity of the philosophical. As Merleau-Ponty puts it in one of the notes that can be found in the beginning of his course titled Philosophy and Non-Philosophy since Hegel, to which I am referring, it is a “philosophy wanting to be philosophy while remaining non-philosophy [. . .], [that] has access to the absolute, not as ‘beyond,’ as a positive second-order, but as another order which must be on this side, the double-inaccessible without being passed

relationships of meaning. Thus language ceased to be (if it ever has been) simply a tool or means the writer uses to communicate intentions given independently of language. In our day, language is of a piece with the writer; it is the writer himself. It is no longer the servant of significations, but the act of signifying itself, and the writer or man speaking no longer has to control it voluntarily any more than living man has to premeditate the means or details of his gestures; [. . .] As a

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