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The Pathos of the Real
Author: Robert Buch

ISBN: 9780801897566
Format: Hardcover
Number Of Pages: 232
Published: 11 November 2010
Country of Publication: US
Dimensions (cm): 22.9 x 15.2 x 1.9

This book is about the ambition, in a set of paradigmatic writers of the twentieth century, to simultaneously enlist and break the spell of the real-their fascination with the spectacle of violence and suffering-and the difficulties involved in capturing this kind of excess by aesthetic means.

The works at the center of this study-by Franz Kafka, Georges Bataille, Claude Simon, Peter Weiss, and Heiner Mller-zero in on scenes of agony, destruction, and death with an astonishing degree of precision and detail. The strange and troubling nature of the appeal engendered by these sights is the subject of The Pathos of the Real. Robert Buch shows that the spectacles of suffering conjured up in these texts are deeply ambivalent, available neither to cathartic relief nor to the sentiment of compassion. What prevails instead is a peculiar coincidence of opposites: exaltation and resignation; disfiguration and transfiguration; agitation and paralysis.

Featuring the experiences of violent excess in strongly visual and often in expressly pictorial terms, the works expose the nexus between violence and the image in twenti...

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