Cloth $35.00 ISBN: 9780226030920 Published June 2013
Paper $21.00 ISBN: 9780226274256 Will Publish March 2015
E-book $7.00 to $30.00 About E-books ISBN: 9780226031088 Published June 2013

The Rhythm of Thought

Art, Literature, and Music after Merleau-Ponty

Jessica Wiskus

Jessica Wiskus

184 pages | 4 halftones, 20 line drawings | 6 x 9 | © 2013
Cloth $35.00 ISBN: 9780226030920 Published June 2013
Paper $21.00 ISBN: 9780226274256 Will Publish March 2015
E-book $7.00 to $30.00 About E-books ISBN: 9780226031088 Published June 2013
Between present and past, visible and invisible, and sensation and idea, there is resonance—so philosopher Maurice Merleau-Ponty argued and so Jessica Wiskus explores in The Rhythm of Thought. Holding the poetry of Stéphane Mallarmé, the paintings of Paul Cézanne, the prose of Marcel Proust, and the music of Claude Debussy under Merleau-Ponty’s phenomenological light, she offers innovative interpretations of some of these artists’ masterworks, in turn articulating a new perspective on Merleau-Ponty’s philosophy.
 
More than merely recovering Merleau-Ponty’s thought, Wiskus thinks according to it. First examining these artists in relation to noncoincidence—as silence in poetry, depth in painting, memory in literature, and rhythm in music—she moves through an array of their artworks toward some of Merleau-Ponty’s most exciting themes: our bodily relationship to the world and the dynamic process of expression. She closes with an examination of synesthesia as an intertwining of internal and external realms and a call, finally, for philosophical inquiry as a mode of artistic expression. Structured like a piece of music itself, The Rhythm of Thought offers new contexts in which to approach art, philosophy, and the resonance between them.
M. Dineen | Choice
“Wiskus sets forth stimulating ideas with considerable attraction for readers.”
Richard Kearney, Boston College
“In this pioneering and original study, Jessica Wiskus shows how Merleau-Ponty leads philosophy to a creative threshold—the place where thought and music merge. Bringing the work of Debussy into conversation with that of other modernist artists like Cézanne, Proust, and Mallarmé, she brilliantly investigates artistic notions often ignored in traditional philosophy: mythical time, musical depth, and the dynamic expressions of transcendence. The style of the writing is as innovative as the content, unfolding through rhythmical layers that mime the musical forms it is sounding. A captivating experiment in thought and expression.”
Galen Johnson, University of Rhode Island
“There is no other book that studies Merleau-Ponty’s late writings in relation to this assemblage of figures and ideas and no other book that engages so deeply his late writings with musical ideas. By placing these lesser-known writings into dialogue with Mallarmé, Proust, Cézanne, and Debussy, Jessica Wiskus offers a ‘new’ Merleau-Ponty bristling with crisp, fresh insights. The effect is powerful, even dazzling.”
Leonard Lawlor, Pennsylvania State University
“In The Rhythm of Thought, Jessica Wiskus presents a reading of Merleau-Ponty’s late writing and his engagement with art, literature, and music. Many people have already written about this, but Wiskus, better than anyone else, really draws out the philosophical importance: the development of a philosophical ‘operative language,’ one that expresses rather than represents. Her structure is very interesting. There is a sort of rhythm to the book itself. Each chapter presents not only an interesting reading of Merleau-Ponty, but also—and this is more impressive—an interesting reading of each artist. It is truly an impressive book.”
Dermot Moran, University College Dublin
“Jessica Wiskus’s The Rhythm of Thought takes on an extraordinary journey through the art works and music which inspired Merleau-Ponty’s philosophy. Wiskus draws on her expert knowledge of music and painting to comment in illuminating detail on Merleau-Ponty’s aesthetic sensibility, a sensibility that informed his overall vision of the world. This is a remarkable, highly original, fascinating, and deeply thoughtful book, a ‘must’ for anyone who wants to understand one of the greatest thinkers of the twentieth century.”
Contents
 

List of Illustrations
Preface
Acknowledgments


1   Mallarmé and a Proffer of Silence
2   Cézanne: Depth in the World
3   Proust through the Fold of Memory
4   Debussy: Silence and Resonance
5   Cézanne and the Institution of Style
6   Proust: In Search of the True Albertine
7   Harmony and the Movement of Style in Debussy
8   On the Musical Idea of Proust
9   Debussy: The Form That Has Arrived at Itself
10 Synesthesia, Recollection, Resurrection

Notes
Bibliography
Index

For more information, or to order this book, please visit http://www.press.uchicago.edu
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