"Inversion: On Some Poetics and Politics in the Discourse of the Sublime," Ian Balfour, York University

Department: Poetics, History, Theory at UCI

Date and Time: May 9, 2016 | 12:00 PM-2:00 PM

Event Location: HG 1341

Event Details

Inversion: On Some Poetics and Politics in the Discourse of the Sublime

This talk inquires into the status of the figurative and its exemplars in the discourse of the sublime and of poetry a little more generally.  The main points of reference will be Longinus’ crafty treatise On the Sublime, Milton’s Paradise Lost, and Edmund Burke’s reading of it, where I track the mechanics of inversion and explore their consequences for thinking about language and politics.  Inversion emerges as a privileged figure for thinking about the supplementary relations of nature and art, within aesthetics and philosophy of language. Other points of references in literature will range a little promiscuously from Hölderlin to Celan, and among critic/theorists from Quintilian to Hamacher.

Ian Balfour is Professor of English at York University. He is the author of several books, including The Rhetoric of Romantic Prophecy.  He has co- edited with the filmmaker Atom Egoyan Subtitles: On the Foreignness of Film, with Eduardo Cadava a double-issue of South Atlantic Quarterly on human rights, and was sole editor of Late Derrida for SAQ. He is a co-translator of Walter Benjamin’s dissertation, The Concept of Criticism.   Recent and forthcoming publications include essays on Austen and adaptation, Mary Shelley, cover songs, and James Baldwin’s film criticism. He’s has been a visiting professor at numerous schools, including recently at Cornell as M. H. Abrams Distinguished Visiting Professor of English and at Rice as the Autrey Professor. He’s finishing an interminable book on the sublime.

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