Figures of Memory: From the Muses to Eighteenth-Century British Aesthetics (Transits: Literature, Thought & Culture, 1650–1850)

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9781611480443: Figures of Memory: From the Muses to Eighteenth-Century British Aesthetics (Transits: Literature, Thought & Culture, 1650–1850)
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Zsolt Komáromy’s Figures of Memory: From the Muses to Eighteenth-Century British Aesthetics affects a rapprochement between memory studies and eighteenth-century British aesthetics. It argues that the assessment of memory in the history of aesthetics and criticism has been determined by the ideological import of the creative imagination, based on the dichotomies of imitative versus creative or reproductive versus productive mental and artistic procedures. The legacy of such an opposition can still be felt in the way the literary relevance of memory is based on either viewing it as a representational (reproductive, imitative) power that is a counter term to the creative sense of the imagination, or as a constructive (productive, creative) power that is assimilated by the creative imagination. The notion of memory, however, harbors problems that unsettle such dichotomies. This book does the timely work of employing insights offered by memory studies in reconsidering memory in the history of aesthetics: it suggests that memory’s literary relevance is explained precisely by the problems that make it resistant to the reproductive-productive opposition. These problems are explored through various “figures” representing senses of memory, such as the Muses, or metaphors for memory in philosophical and critical discourse. Tracing figures of memory from the Muses through Plato and Descartes to works by Pope, Addison, Gerard and Kames, Komáromy reveals an undercurrent of thought in eighteenth-century British aesthetics that questions memory’s nominal opposition to the imagination , and that exploits memory’s simultaneously reproductive and constructive nature in the emerging theory of the imagination. By thus claiming that the tradition of memory’s literary relevance is not marginalized but in fact perpetuated in eighteenth-century British critical thought, Figures of Memory gives a powerful new perspective on the history of memory in aesthetics and criticism.

A theoretical work with claims for historical generalization, Figures of Memory will appeal to those interested in the history of aesthetics and criticism, in memory studies, in literary theory, to students of literature and memory, of literature and psychology, and to scholars of the eighteenth century with theoretical interests.

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About the Author:

Zsolt Komáromy is assistant professor in the Department of English Studies, Eötvös Loránd University, Budapest.

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Book Description Bucknell University Press, United States, 2011. Hardback. Condition: New. Language: English . Brand New Book. This book affects a rapprochement between memory studies and eighteenth-century aesthetics with the aim of modifying received views on the role and fate of memory in the history of criticism. It argues that the philosophical problems characterizing conceptualizations of memory unsettle its opposition to the imagination and explain its relation to literary discourse. Moving from the Muses through Plato and Descartes to works by Pope, Addison, Gerard, and Kames, the book traces these problems through various figures representing notions of memory and claims that eighteenth-century critical thought exploited a constructive sense of memory for accounts of the notion of the imagination. Komaromy thus argues for the persistence of the literary relevance of memory even in a poetics of the imagination, offering a new perspective on the changing relation of memory and imagination at a point in the history of criticism that has determined the critical assessment of these concepts. Seller Inventory # AAR9781611480443

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Book Description Bucknell University Press, United States, 2011. Hardback. Condition: New. Language: English . Brand New Book. This book affects a rapprochement between memory studies and eighteenth-century aesthetics with the aim of modifying received views on the role and fate of memory in the history of criticism. It argues that the philosophical problems characterizing conceptualizations of memory unsettle its opposition to the imagination and explain its relation to literary discourse. Moving from the Muses through Plato and Descartes to works by Pope, Addison, Gerard, and Kames, the book traces these problems through various figures representing notions of memory and claims that eighteenth-century critical thought exploited a constructive sense of memory for accounts of the notion of the imagination. Komaromy thus argues for the persistence of the literary relevance of memory even in a poetics of the imagination, offering a new perspective on the changing relation of memory and imagination at a point in the history of criticism that has determined the critical assessment of these concepts. Seller Inventory # AAR9781611480443

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