Mute Speech: Literature, Critical Theory, and Politics

Paperback | November 15, 2011

byJacques RancièreTranslated byJames SwensonIntroduction byGabriel Rockhill

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Jacques Rancière has continually unsettled political discourse, particularly through his questioning of aesthetic "distributions of the sensible," which configure the limits of what can be seen and said. Widely recognized as a seminal work in Rancière's corpus, the translation of which is long overdue, Mute Speech is an intellectual tour de force proposing a new framework for thinking about the history of art and literature. Rancière argues that our current notion of "literature" is a relatively recent creation, having first appeared in the wake of the French Revolution and with the rise of Romanticism. In its rejection of the system of representational hierarchies that had constituted belles-letters, "literature" is founded upon a radical equivalence in which all things are possible expressions of the life of a people. With an analysis reaching back to Plato, Aristotle, the German Romantics, Vico, and Cervantes and concluding with brilliant readings of Flaubert, Mallarmé, and Proust, Rancière demonstrates the uncontrollable democratic impulse lying at the heart of literature's still-vital capacity for reinvention.

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Jacques Rancière has continually unsettled political discourse, particularly through his questioning of aesthetic "distributions of the sensible," which configure the limits of what can be seen and said. Widely recognized as a seminal work in Rancière's corpus, the translation of which is long overdue, Mute Speech is an intellectual t...

Jacques Rancière (b. 1940) is professor of philosophy emeritus at the University of Paris VIII. Among his major works translated into English are The Future of the Image, The Politics of Aesthetics, The Philosopher and His Poor, The Flesh of Words: The Politics of Writing, Aesthetics and Its Discontents, Disagreement: Politics And Phi...

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Format:PaperbackDimensions:208 pages, 9 × 6 × 0.68 inPublished:November 15, 2011Publisher:Columbia University PressLanguage:English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:0231151039

ISBN - 13:9780231151030

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One welcomes [an] ambitious, iconoclastic work like Gabriel Rockhill's Mute Speech