Our Sense of the Real: Aesthetic Experience and Arendtian Politics

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9780801435775: Our Sense of the Real: Aesthetic Experience and Arendtian Politics

This bold and persuasive study rereads the works of Hannah Arendt to recuperate her relevance to contemporary politics and to show that her deepest concerns are oriented by her ontology. Kimberley Curtis interprets Arendt's earlier work through the lenses of The Life of the Mind, elucidating what Curtis calls an "aesthetic sensibility of tragic pleasure" as a way out of the enclave politics of late modernity.Arguing that oblivion and radical forgetfulness of others are among the most ethically troubling features of our political landscape, Curtis shows that Arendt's aesthetic account of politics offers us an idiom in which to name and resist the depravations and dangers of our political condition. Curtis also elucidates Arendt's debt to phenomenology and argues that our sense of reality is born through highly charged sensuous provocation and mutual responsiveness. Arendt's innovation is to recognize that this countenancing of others is an aesthetic experience that creates the political world.Curtis plumbs the relevance of this work in current issues such as gated communities for the privileged and prisons for the disenfranchised, and in the extraordinary relationship between a black civil rights leader and a Ku Klux Klan officer. Our Sense of the Real is a poetic invocation of Arendt's politics, at once lively, passionate, and crucial.

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"In this excellent study, Curtis tries to reconcile the 'consensual-communicative' and 'agonistic-performative' interpretations of Arendt while exploring the ethical side of her theory. Curtis argues that our foremost moral duty, for Arendt, is to recognize and preserve 'plurality.'"―Choice. May, 2000.

"Curtis is particularly good in her analysis of Arendt's writing on the relation between thinking and plurality; on the duality of the thinking self in its encounter both with itself and with the material world."―Norma Claire Moruzzi, University of Illinois at Chicago. International Studies in Philosophy, September 2001

"Curtis's book is not easy reading, but the argument is fascinating and very much in the spirit of Arendt's thinking."―Ethics, July 2001

"Kimberley Curtis offers an original, powerful, and convincing rereading of Arendt. Curtis makes clear, in a way that no prior reader of Arendt has done, that the ontological and the ethical are completely intertwined, not just in Arendt's work but in all of our ways of being in the world."―John McGowan, University of North Carolina

"These days it is hard to say something original, arresting, and responsible about the political thought of Hannah Arendt, but Kimberley Curtis has managed to do all three in clear yet passionate prose. This book is provocative as well as thoughtful, respectful (though not uncritical) of both Arendt's philosophical ambitions and political judgments. It manages to enact the political pleasures it finds and commends in Arendt's thought."―J. Peter Euben, University of California, Santa Cruz

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Book Description Ithaca, NY ; London : Cornell University Press, 1999. Orig. cloth binding. Dustjacket. xv, 197 p. ; 24 cm. Includes bibliographical references and index. Condition : as new copy. ISBN 0801435773[KEYWORDS: PHILOSOPHY, aesthetics, Arendt, Hannah, (1906-1975). Bookseller Inventory # 174861

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