Rethinking Lessing's Laocoon: Antiquity, Enlightenment, and the 'Limits' of Painting and Poetry by Avi LifschitzRethinking Lessing's Laocoon: Antiquity, Enlightenment, and the 'Limits' of Painting and Poetry by Avi Lifschitz

Rethinking Lessing's Laocoon: Antiquity, Enlightenment, and the 'Limits' of Painting and Poetry

EditorAvi Lifschitz, Michael Squire

Hardcover | October 14, 2017

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Gotthold Ephraim Lessing first published Laokoon, oder uber die Grenzen der Mahlerey und Poesie (Laocoon, or on the Limits of Painting and Poetry) in 1766. Over the last 250 years, Lessing's essay has exerted an incalculable influence on western critical thinking. Not only has it directed thehistory of post-Enlightenment aesthetics, it has also shaped the very practices of "poetry" and "painting" in a myriad of different ways. In this anthology of specially commissioned chapters - comprising the first ever edited book on the Laocoon in English - a range of leading critical voices has been brought together to reassess Lessing's essay on its 250th anniversary. Combining perspectives from multiple disciplines (includingclassics, intellectual history, philosophy, aesthetics, media studies, comparative literature, and art history), the book explores the Laocoon from a plethora of critical angles. Chapters discuss Lessing's interpretation of ancient art and poetry, the cultural backdrops of the eighteenth century,and the validity of the Laocoon's observations in the fields of aesthetics, semiotics, and philosophy. The volume shows how the Laocoon exploits Greek and Roman models to sketch the proper spatial and temporal 'limits' (Grenzen) of what Lessing called "poetry" and "painting"; at the same time it demonstrates how Lessing's essay is embedded within Enlightenment theories of art, perception, andhistorical interpretation, as well as within nascent eighteenth-century ideas about the "scientific" study of Classical antiquity (Altertumswissenschaft). To engage critically with the Laocoon, and to make sense of its legacy over the last 250 years, consequently involves excavating various"classical presences": by looking back to the Graeco-Roman past, the volume demonstrates, Lessing forged a whole new tradition of modern aesthetics.
Avi Lifschitz is Senior Lecturer in European Intellectual History at University College London (UCL). Among his publications are Language and Enlightenment: The Berlin Debates of the Eighteenth Century (OUP, 2012), the edited volume Engaging with Rousseau: Reaction and Interpretation from the Eighteenth Century to the Present (CUP, 201...
Title:Rethinking Lessing's Laocoon: Antiquity, Enlightenment, and the 'Limits' of Painting and PoetryFormat:HardcoverDimensions:464 pagesPublished:October 14, 2017Publisher:Oxford University PressLanguage:English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:0198802226

ISBN - 13:9780198802228

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Table of Contents

FrontmatterList of IllustrationsList of TablesNote on Laocoon Editions0. W. J. T. Mitchell: Foreword: Why Lessing's Laocoon Still Matters1. Avi Lifschitz and Michael Squire: Introduction: Rethinking Lessings Laocoon From Across the Humanities2. David E. Wellbery: Laocoon Today: On the Conceptual Infrastructure of Lessing's Treatise3. Michael Squire: Laocoon among the Gods, or: On the Theological Limits of Lessing's Grenzen4. Luca Giuliani: Lessing's Laocoon as Analytical Instrument: The Perspectives of a Classical Archaeologist5. Katherine Harloe: Sympathy, Tragedy, and the Morality of Sentiment in Lessing's Laocoon6. Frederick Beiser: Mendelssohn's Critique of Lessing's Laocoon7. Avi Lifschitz: Naturalizing the Arbitrary: Lessing's Laocoon and Enlightenment Semiotics8. Daniel Fulda: Temporalization: Lessing's Laocoon and the Problem of Narration in Eighteenth-Century Historiography9. Elisabeth Decultot: Criticism as Poetry: Lessing's Laocoon and the Limits of Critique10. Ritchie Robertson: Suffering in Art: Laocoon between Lessing and Goethe11. Jason Gaiger: Transparency and Imaginative Engagement: Material as Medium in Lessing's Laocoon12. Jonas Grethlein: Lessing's Laocoon and the 'As-If' of Aesthetic Experience13. Paul A. Kottman: Art and Necessity: Rethinking Lessing's Critical Practice14. Jurgen Trabant: Image and Text in Lessing's Laocoon: From Friendly Semiotic Neighbours to Articulatory Twins15. Hans Ulrich Gumbrecht: Envoi: The Two-Fold Liminality of Lessing's LaocoonEndmatterNotes on ContributorsBibliographyIndex