The Racial Discourses of Life Philosophy: Négritude, Vitalism, and Modernity (New Directions in Critical Theory)

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9780231145480: The Racial Discourses of Life Philosophy: Négritude, Vitalism, and Modernity (New Directions in Critical Theory)
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In the early twentieth century, the life philosophy of Henri Bergson summoned the élan vital, or vital force, as the source of creative evolution. Bergson also appealed to intuition, which focused on experience rather than discursive thought and scientific cognition. Particularly influential for the literary and political Négritude movement of the 1930s, which opposed French colonialism, Bergson's life philosophy formed an appealing alternative to Western modernity, decried as "mechanical," and set the stage for later developments in postcolonial theory and vitalist discourse.

Revisiting narratives on life that were produced in this age of machinery and war, Donna V. Jones shows how Bergson, Nietzsche, and the poets Leopold Senghor and Aimé Césaire fashioned the concept of life into a central aesthetic and metaphysical category while also implicating it in discourses on race and nation. Jones argues that twentieth-century vitalism cannot be understood separately from these racial and anti-Semitic discussions. She also shows that some dominant models of emancipation within black thought become intelligible only when in dialogue with the vitalist tradition. Jones's study strikes at the core of contemporary critical theory, which integrates these older discourses into larger critical frameworks, and she traces the ways in which vitalism continues to draw from and contribute to its making.

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Donna V. Jones shows how Henri Bergson, Friedrich Nietzsche, and the poets Léopold Senghor and Aimé Césaire fashioned the concept of life into a central aesthetic and metaphysical category, while also implicating it in discourses on race and nation. Jones argues that twentieth-century vitalism cannot be understood separately from these racial and anti-Semitic discussions. She also illustrates how some dominant models of emancipation within black thought become intelligible only when in dialogue with the vitalist tradition. Jones's study strikes at the core of contemporary critical theory, integrating these older discourses into larger critical frameworks, and she traces the ways in which vitalism continues to draw from and contribute to its making.

From the Author:

Awarded the Aldo and Jeanne Scaglione Prize for Comparative Literary Studies in 2011 by the Modern Language Association. The citation for the book reads:

Donna V. Jones's Racial Discourses of Life Philosophy: Négritude, Vitalism, and Modernity is a groundbreaking study of négritude and its major theorists, the poets Léopold Senghor and Aimé Césaire, that examines their adaptation and transformation of the philosophies of vitalism proposed by Henri Bergson. Carefully tracing the tradition of Western modernity that posits the mechanical state and mechanism as its dominant forms, Jones shows how Senghor and Césaire rework "vital force" in their metaphysics and poetics and how--even as it is implicated in forms of racism and colonialism--vitalism remains an important influence on modern discourses of postcolonialism and racial emancipation. Expansive in its range and precise in its readings, the book invites a significant rethinking of important movements and philosophies of the twentieth century.

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9780231145497: The Racial Discourses of Life Philosophy: Négritude, Vitalism, and Modernity (New Directions in Critical Theory)

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Book Description Columbia University Press, United States, 2010. Hardback. Condition: New. Language: English. Brand new Book. In the early twentieth century, the life philosophy of Henri Bergson summoned the elan vital, or vital force, as the source of creative evolution. Bergson also appealed to intuition, which focused on experience rather than discursive thought and scientific cognition. Particularly influential for the literary and political Negritude movement of the 1930s, which opposed French colonialism, Bergson's life philosophy formed an appealing alternative to Western modernity, decried as "mechanical," and set the stage for later developments in postcolonial theory and vitalist discourse. Revisiting narratives on life that were produced in this age of machinery and war, Donna V. Jones shows how Bergson, Nietzsche, and the poets Leopold Senghor and Aime Cesaire fashioned the concept of life into a central aesthetic and metaphysical category while also implicating it in discourses on race and nation. Jones argues that twentieth-century vitalism cannot be understood separately from these racial and anti-Semitic discussions. She also shows that some dominant models of emancipation within black thought become intelligible only when in dialogue with the vitalist tradition.Jones's study strikes at the core of contemporary critical theory, which integrates these older discourses into larger critical frameworks, and she traces the ways in which vitalism continues to draw from and contribute to its making. Seller Inventory # AAH9780231145480

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Book Description Columbia University Press, United States, 2010. Hardback. Condition: New. Language: English . Brand New Book. In the early twentieth century, the life philosophy of Henri Bergson summoned the elan vital, or vital force, as the source of creative evolution. Bergson also appealed to intuition, which focused on experience rather than discursive thought and scientific cognition. Particularly influential for the literary and political Negritude movement of the 1930s, which opposed French colonialism, Bergson s life philosophy formed an appealing alternative to Western modernity, decried as mechanical, and set the stage for later developments in postcolonial theory and vitalist discourse. Revisiting narratives on life that were produced in this age of machinery and war, Donna V. Jones shows how Bergson, Nietzsche, and the poets Leopold Senghor and Aime Cesaire fashioned the concept of life into a central aesthetic and metaphysical category while also implicating it in discourses on race and nation. Jones argues that twentieth-century vitalism cannot be understood separately from these racial and anti-Semitic discussions. She also shows that some dominant models of emancipation within black thought become intelligible only when in dialogue with the vitalist tradition. Jones s study strikes at the core of contemporary critical theory, which integrates these older discourses into larger critical frameworks, and she traces the ways in which vitalism continues to draw from and contribute to its making. Seller Inventory # AAH9780231145480

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