Art and Liberation (Collected Papers of Herbert Marcuse, by Herbert Marcuse

By Herbert Marcuse

The position of artwork in Marcuse’s paintings has frequently been ignored, misinterpreted or underplayed. His critics accused him of a faith of artwork and aesthetics that ends up in an break out from politics and society. but, as this quantity demonstrates, Marcuse analyzes tradition and artwork within the context of the way it produces forces of domination and resistance in society, and his writings on tradition and artwork generate the potential for liberation and radical social transformation.

The fabric during this quantity is a wealthy choice of a lot of Marcuse’s released and unpublished writings, interviews and talks, together with ‘Lyric Poetry after Auschwitz’, reflections on Proust, and Letters on Surrealism; a poem via Samuel Beckett for Marcuse’s 80th birthday with alternate of letters; and plenty of articles that discover the position of artwork in society and the way it presents percentages for liberation.

This quantity could be of curiosity to these new to Marcuse, in most cases stated as a massive determine within the highbrow and social milieus of the Sixties and Nineteen Seventies, in addition to to the expert, giving entry to a wealth of fabric from the Marcuse Archive in Frankfurt and his deepest assortment in San Diego, a few of it released the following in English for the 1st time.

A entire creation by way of Douglas Kellner displays at the genesis, improvement, and tensions inside of Marcuse’s aesthetic, whereas an afterword via Gerhard Schweppenhäuser summarizes their relevance for the modern period.

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Additional info for Art and Liberation (Collected Papers of Herbert Marcuse, Volume 4)

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51 I shall follow Marcuse’s convention of using Freud’s term “phantasy” in the following analysis. In the section of Eros and Civilization under discussion, Marcuse repeatedly uses the phrase “phantasy (imagination)” to connote that he is combining Freudian notions of phantasy with conceptions of the imagination, merging play with the construction of images. 34 Introduction bringing to expression repressed desires, phantasies, hopes, and dreams. ) and expresses a demand for liberation. ). Art for Marcuse practices the “Great Refusal,” incarnating the emancipatory contents of memory, phantasy, and the imagination through producing images of happiness and a life without anxiety.

As modern classics, the avant-garde and the beatniks shared the function of entertaining without endangering the good conscience of men of good will” (ODM, p. 70). And so, Marcuse concludes, the “truly avant-garde work of literature Introduction 39 communicates the break with communication” (p. 68). Rimbaud, dada, surrealism, and other avant-gardists reject the structure of everyday discourse, presenting compelling words, images, harmonies, and works in a context of refusal and negation. While Chapter 3 of ODM tended to stress the incorporation of existing culture into the apparatus of cultural integration and domination, in the concluding section Marcuse returns to his more positive valorization of art, writing: If the established society manages all normal communication, validating or invalidating it in accordance with social requirements, then the values alien to these requirements may perhaps have no other medium of communication than the abnormal one of fiction.

Introduction 23 interpreted, one sees that even his more apparently idealistic and ontological positions emerge in the context of his critical theory of society and project of revolutionary social transformation and thus should be read and interpreted in this context. The idealist, utopian, and ontological moments of Marcuse’s analysis should thus be read in the framework of the critical theory of society that informed his work from the 1930s until his death. Interestingly, in his first major publication on art and culture in his work with Institute for Social Research, Marcuse focuses on the ideological and mystifying aspects of art in the contemporary era, although he also pointed to its utopian potential.

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