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The Stelliferous FoldToward a Virtual Law of Literature's Self-Formation$
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Rodolphe Gasché

Print publication date: 2011

Print ISBN-13: 9780823234349

Published to Fordham Scholarship Online: January 2012

DOI: 10.5422/fordham/9780823234349.001.0001

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On Aesthetic and Historical Determination

On Aesthetic and Historical Determination

(p.210) Chapter 8: On Aesthetic and Historical Determination
The Stelliferous Fold

Rodolphe Gasché

Fordham University Press

A conference entitled Post-Structuralism and the Question of History in 1983, initiated by the Department of English at Southampton University in association with The Oxford Literary Review, was the occasion for writing On Aesthetic and Historical Determination. By focusing on the central category of determination (determinatio, Bestimmung), which has informed discourses of both aesthetics and history since their simultaneous emergence in the eighteenth century, this chapter makes the point that the prevalent opposition between historical and aesthetic literary criticism is basically a false problem. Indeed, because of the twofold meaning of the core concept of determination—definition and destination—the difference between the realm of aesthetics and that of history is only one between the objects of these disciplines, that is, artfully wrought objects: respectively, singular objects of nature that are beautiful or historical occurrences and facts. By contrast, the conceptual grid to account for both is essentially the same.

Keywords:   post-structuralism, The Oxford Literary Review, aesthetic literary criticism, determination, aesthetics

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