I. WEAK THOUGHT: PHILOSOPHICAL FOUNDATIONS
Introduction The basic aims of this book are: 1) to capture and describe the fundamental characteristics of so-called “weak thought” in contemporary philosophy; 2) to show in a reasonably thorough and exhaustive manner its links with modern literature; and 3) to point towards possible applications of its basic assumptions within the field of literary studies. Clearly these three distinct problem clusters constitute, to a significant extent, separate and autonomous areas of inquiry: philosophy, literary history and literary theory. Therefore, capturing the titular “weakness” in each of these separate areas clearly demands the adoption of a slightly different perspective and the application of slightly different descriptive language and analytical tools. Nevertheless, I consider that the combined treatment of phenomena traditionally belonging to the separate domains of philosophy and literary studies – in both its historical and theoretical varieties – is possible and justified for three fundamental reasons. First of all, this is because weak thought itself grants aesthetic experience, including its literary dimension, an essential, even fundamental role – and a privileged role in relation to other discourses and practices – in the interpretation of the experience of the being, subjectivity and culture characteristic of late modernity in particular. It is precisely literature and modern art that have captured and depicted through artistic intuition many of the phenomena and problems described by weak thought in the language of philosophical discourse. Moreover, this discourse has sometimes boldly reached for means or forms of expression bearing a strong affinity with literature, such as metaphor or the generic...
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