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Production of Presence: What Meaning Cannot Convey
Production of Presence is a comprehensive version of the thinking of Hans Ulrich Gumbrecht, one of the most consistently original literary scholars writing today. It offers a personalized account of some of the central theoretical movements in literary studies and in the humanities over the past thirty years, together with an equally personal view of a possible future. ...more
Paperback, 180 pages
Published December 11th 2003 by Stanford University Press
(first published 2003)
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Jun 10, 2008 Brad rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: tara, zeli,
Taking a step back from his "Farewell to interpretation" stance, this is a fascinating exploration (in part via Heidegger) of what the dominance of Cartesian intellectual orientations may exclude from the analysis of cultural phenomena. A central trope is the tension/oscillation between 'presence effects' and 'meaning effects' in place of the divide sometimes glossed as the veil of perception. Gumbrecht calls for the generation of concepts that would "allow us to point to what is irreversibly ...more
Grumbrecht takes you through his own intellectual development--his embracing and then movement away from meaning production (hermeneutics) and his movement towards a more holistic model that engages with and privileges what Gumbrecht calls "aesthetic experience" or epiphany, or presence. I enjoyed the opening segment where he laid out his own intellectual journey and I really appreciated the synopsis on the development of the hermeneutically-based epistemology that rules in the humanities, but I ...more
I'm ambivalent about Gumbrecht. I think the chapter entitled "Beyond Meaning..." is wonderful and his illusion that power is more sinister than physical violence is politically and theoretically fruitful. But herein lies the most frustrating thing about this book: G. resists and negates the political implications of his work! The rest of the book reads as sentimental wallowing. It feels as if Gumbrecht has fallen prey to impulse male scholars have to "feminize" themselves and their disciplines, ...more
Quite impressive. An important work exploring the alternatives to the Apollonian world of meaning in the experience of presence, integrating insights about the aesthetic life and intense, fully-lived human experience. It synthesizes many nascent threads in contemporary philosophy seeking to surpass the post-modern turn. It might not be a definitive work, but it advances the conversation.
Feb 10, 2009 Brian rated it liked it
Recommends it for: People seriously interested in art, semiotics and the humanities in general
I often speculate to myself that the purpose of most contemporary philosophy is to redress damage done by earlier philosophizing. That seems to be the case with this book. As the subtitle suggests, Gumbrecht addresses the shortcomings of our Cartesian legacy, which is obsessed with meaning and hermeneutics. This book is an early attempt to start a discussion of how theorists might talk about the presence of something, that part of it's being that exists beyond or before it is interpreted. His ...more
Fascinating, audacious, and clearly written. The book suggests that thinking since Descartes has left us unable to deal with things that may be uninterpretable--for examples, various experiences of presence, which (he writes) press on or affect the body in various ways.
Hans Ulrich Gumbrecht is the Albert Guérard Professor in Literature in the Departments of Comparative Literature and of French & Italian (and by courtesy, he is affiliated with the Department of Iberian and Latin American Cultures/ILAC, the Department of German Studies, and the Program in Modern Thought & Literature). As a scholar, Gumbrecht focuses on the histories of the national ...more