Text, Body and Indeterminacy: Doppelgänger Selves in Pater and Wilde

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9781847185075: Text, Body and Indeterminacy: Doppelgänger Selves in Pater and Wilde
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The nature of the self is an important point at which philosophy and literature intersect. Text, Body and Indeterminacy acknowledges this connection by forging a link between the philosophical concept of the self and the category of the literary character. The philosophical horizon of Text, Body and Indeterminacy is delineated by the neo-pragmatist debate on selfhood. The book entwines the ideas of Richard Rorty and Richard Shusterman by stressing similarity in their aestheticizing of ethics and by showing the difference in their understanding of the self as textual or bodily. The characters created by Pater and Wilde are freshly assessed within this dual philosophical perspective. Their doppelgängers are seen as the forerunners of postmodernist concepts: the cerebral flâneur is reflected in Rortys model ironist, and the sensuous aesthete returns through Shustermans notion of the somatic self. Text, Body and Indeterminacy establishes how Pater renders his protagonists through discursive patternstropes of Decadence, philosophical theorems, and mythsonly to subvert these vocabularies and to emphasize the reality of the body, the extra-textual dimension of the self. It also shows how Wildes sensuous personae, both bodily and indeterminate, transcend the vocabularies available to the Wildean flâneurs. Through its interpretations, Text Body and Indeterminacy uniquely combines literary portraits by Pater and Wilde, highlights interlocking themes and, in every reading, points to the ethical gains of tilting the idea of selfhood into the somatic realm.

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About the Author:

Anna Budziak teaches at the Department of English, University of Wrocaw, Poland, where she specializes in the history and theory of literature. She has authored a book-length study of T. S. Eliot and published a number of articles exploring the interface between literature and philosophy.

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