Skip to main content

Distributed for DIAPHANES

The Sea as Mirror

Essayings in and against Philosophy as History

Distributed for DIAPHANES

The Sea as Mirror

Essayings in and against Philosophy as History

The Sea as Mirror traces the pressing and repressed material and symbolic presence of the Mediterranean Sea and the Atlantic Ocean from Plato to Heidegger. To do so, Wu Yi employs the maritime as a lens to understand the drive of philosophy as both a response to and moment within the impetus of Western colonization. Yi examines how philosophy has again and again constructed itself as a genre in opposition to the movement of deterritorialization and fluidity of mimesis. She does so via the method (meta, “after” + hodos, “way, journey”) of a series of essayings (in the original sense of trial, measure, attempt) across a geopolitical topography of discourses.
These include philosophical texts drawn from a constellation of historical topoi at the critical moments of their encounter with the maritime: Plato and Euripedes’s work from fifth-century Athens; Augustus and Plautus’s writings from republican and early imperial Rome; Shakespeare’s creations from Elizabethan England; Kant and Rousseau’s texts from enlightenment continental Europe; and the thinking of Husserl and Heidegger from interwar Germany of the twentieth century. For each historical topos, Yi juxtaposes different representations of and responses to the maritime through the reading of a philosophical text vis-à-vis the reading of a literary text. In so doing, she lays bare the deep political and moral ambiguity attributed to the ocean in Western philosophical and literary imaginaries.

272 pages | 5 1/4 x 8 1/4

Culture Studies

Philosophy: General Philosophy


View all books from DIAPHANES

Table of Contents

Chapter 1 Plato’s Odyssey: Philosophy as Memory Theatre
0. Opening Remarks: Athens, a place without place
1. Collapse of a Spatial Order
2. Artemis against Dionysus: Transforming the Night
3. Memento Mori: Socrates’ Memory Theatre
4. Imperial Wealth, Compulsory Legacy
5. Genealogy of Justice as Economy
6. Inheritance of a Non-existing Conscience
7. Eclipse of the Tragic, or the Tragicomic Theatre of Philosophy
8. The Generationality of Desire
9. Fear and Tear of Odysseus
10. Mimesis, Enantiomorphosis, Metempsychosis: Philosophy’s Trinity
11. Choose, and Drink!
12. Closing Remarks: Between Scylla and Charybdis, philosophy (remember me)

Chapter 2 Helen
1. Liaisons dangereuses
2. T??atta! ???atta!
3. Meta-phor, or carrying-across
4. Symbolon
5. The eye and the I
6. “Guiltless though the guilt’s still mine…”
7. Monsters and metamorphoses
8. Righting rites
9. Tyranny of desire

Chapter 3 Times New Roman: Augustan Strategies of Re-territorialization and Refounding
0. Proem: The Ides of March
1. Pax Augusta
2. Mare Nostrum
3. The Seal of Sphinx, or Through the Ivory Gate
4. Postscript: allowed days

Chapter 4 Homeward Double Bound: Tragicomic Mimesis in Plautus’ Amphitryo
1. Deterritorialization I: Leaving and Returning
2. Mimesis I: The Metatheatre of Tragicomedy
3. Mimesis II: Mediation, Distanciation, Non-sympathy
4. Deterritorialization II: Worldless Laughter
5. Mimesis III: Doubling and Dispossession
6. Deterritorialization III: Worldless speech
7. Mimesis IV: Suffering, Possession, Anti-catharsis
8. Deterritorialization IV: Home, ad infinitum…

Chapter 5 The Maritime Modernity of Hamlet
1. Deterritorialization I: The Melancholic Earth
2. Mimesis I: The Mirror of Schema
3. Deterritorialization II: The Kinetic Ocean
4. Deterritorialization III: Water Unbound
5. Mimesis II: Sovereignty Mocked
6. Deterritorialization IV: Water Inbound
7. Mimesis III: Mirroring the Non-mimetic
8. Deterritorialization V: Wind of Sail
9. Mimesis IV: Rome Re-incarnated
10. Deterritorialization VI: Pass and Passage

Chapter 6 Kant on the Voyage of Human Reason
1. Revolutions
2. Nihilisms
3. Disillusionments
4. Finitudes
5. Voyages
6. Untergang

Chapter 7 Between the Acts
1. The Drama of Man
2. The Leap of History
3. The Animal that therefore I am
4. The Return of the Philosopher
5. Amours and Diets
6. The Isle of Man
7. Amour impériale
8. Nudity and Sacrifice
9. Between the Acts

Chapter 8 Husserl on the Task of Philosophy as Historical Reflection
1. A Genealogical Excursion
2. Thresholds of Reflection
3. The Circle of Founding
4. Toward a Poetics of Person
5. The True Homer

Chapter 9 To the Lighthouse: Meditations on a project
1. The Portrait of the Philosopher as a Father
2. Falling, Foundering, Turbulence
3. Silences
4. Nothing, Openness, Being-toward (of a he)
5. Life, still remains
6. The Blessed Island of Good Boots
7. Three Paths

Be the first to know

Get the latest updates on new releases, special offers, and media highlights when you subscribe to our email lists!

Sign up here for updates about the Press