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Carlos Michelstaedter and the Failure of Language

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    Available in PDF - DJVU Format | Carlos Michelstaedter and the Failure of Language.pdf | Language: ENGLISH
    Daniela Bini (Author)

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At the turn of the century, Carlo Michelstaedter (1187-1910) flashed through the night sky of Mitteleuropa. In this book-length study in English of the Italian cultural figure, Daniela Bini compares her subject to a meteor, a shooting star who dazzled the world briefly with his philosophy, poetry, and painting, then shot himself at the age of 23. Michelstaedter was born to a cultured Jewish family in the city of Borizia, then part of the Austro-Hungarian empire where Italian was spoken. After completing high school he moved to Florence to study art and there met and tutored a Russian divorcee, Nadia Baraden. Her suidice in 1907 marked the onset of the severe depression that plagued him the last three years of his life. During that time, however, he produced a body of work that anticipates existentialism in philosophy and expressionism in art: his analysis and criticism of language establish him as a forerunner of Blanchot, Bataille, and Derrida. In the frenetic intellectual and artistic activity of those years, Michelstaedter repudiated the compartmentalization of all knowledge from philosophy to science. He completed his dissertation, a powerful piece of rhetoric arguing against rhetoric, on the day he committed suicide. Bini traces the trail of Michelstaedter's star, claiming that he sheds light on the 20th century precisely because he found philosophical discourse inadequate. Basing her study on close readings of his papers, poetry, and letters, and on a detailed analysis of his pencil and chalk drawings, she portrays him as the emblematic figure of the turn of the century, tragically frustrated in his attempts to grasp the essence of life and a mode to express it.
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Book details

  • PDF | 314 pages
  • Daniela Bini (Author)
  • University Press of Florida (31 Mar. 1992)
  • English
  • 6
  • Poetry, Drama Criticism

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