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Revisiting Style in Literary and Cultural Studies

Interdisciplinary Articulations

Edited By Jasmin Herrmann, Moritz Ingwersen, Björn Sonnenberg-Schrank and Olga Ludmila Tarapata

The collected volume brings together leading scholars from a broad range of disciplines in the humanities to interrogate the productivity of style as an element of cultural expression and a parameter of cultural analysis. Despite its ubiquity in examinations of artistic singularity or postulations of epochal patterns, style remains a notoriously elusive concept. Suspicious of monolithic definitions, the contributions assembled in this volume address style from a multiplicity of methodological and conceptual angles, drawing from fields that include literary studies, film and media studies, post-structuralist philosophy, philosophy of science, and American cultural studies.

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18 Objective: Objective, Burma!

Extract



l’explosion dans le lumineux

- Gilles Deleuze, Le Pli

Abstract: In Luminous Philosophy Hanjo Berressem contends that light and illumination beam through Gilles Deleuze’s writings. Whether on Spinoza, the Stoics, Leibniz, Hume, Bergson or, no less, on Francis Bacon or cinema, they deal with how events are born from the dark shadows of chaos. In homage to Berressem, ardent student of popular culture and meticulous reader of Deleuze, this essay studies luminosity and chiaroscuro in Objective, Burma! (d. Raoul Walsh, 1945), a once-controversial, now-forgotten war film that director of photography James Wong Howe turns into an event: a reflection on the virtue of war, to be sure, but especially on illumination, destiny and darkness.

Keywords: chiaroscuro; illumination; luminosity; cartography

In his forthcoming Luminous Philosophy, Hanjo Berressem shows how Gilles Deleuze thinks with light and shadow. His reflections on Bergson, Spinoza, Hume and others, he notes, are pieces of reasoned illumination. Driven by poetic furor, their style or manner is the mettle of their matter. The great philosophers, whom Deleuze qualifies as creators and poets, enlighten darkly. Born of chiaroscuro, their concepts are pure events, screened “‘surfaces or absolute volumes’” perceived in darkness (Deleuze cites Raymond Ruyer on how surface or absolute volumes are “real beings” in Philosophie 26, here and elsewhere my translation). Born in the “depthless shadows” of chaos, filtered and sifted, their concepts swim in a “fuscum subnigrum” in whose dark mass a gamut of colors endlessly swirls...

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