Aesthet(h)ics: On Levinas’ Shadow
2017-05-17T11:27:53Z (GMT) by
Emmanuel Levinas' aesthetics has been critically discussed much less than other components of his philosophy. In one way, this is not surprising, given Levinas' wider post-war project. Nevertheless, in the late 1940s, the very time his influential later philosophy was taking shape, Levinas published a series of papers on literary criticism, and on the nature of art. <i>Existents and Existence</i>, the text where Levinas first announces his project of "leaving the climate" of Heidegger's thought, contains in its heart a remarkable discussion of modernist painting. Levinas' aesthetics, moreover, represents a provocative standpoint within modern aesthetic theory in its own right. As such, it stands as a partial corrective to the comparative – and surely surprising – dearth of phenomenological analyses of art, which at the same time contrasts markedly with Heidegger's renowned position in "The Origin of the Work of Art."