William Franke

Mo16Mai19:30Mo21:00William FrankeSelf-Reflection and Reduction in the Language of LyricVeranstaltungsartVortrag


Lyric is the language of self-reflection – and is self-reflexive language – par excellence. The question will be: Is self-reflection necessarily a reduction to the self? or, How can self-reflection effect a dissolution of the self and a breaking open to the Other?

Lyric, above all in its modern, I-centered form, has often been viewed as a reduction to the self in its self-enclosure or even to the prison house of language about language that is obsessed only with itself. In this paper, William Franke considers how in lyric language the filtering of reality through the experience of the ‘I‘ or of highly self-reflective language can actually turn into a powerful way of opening the world into a dimension of infinite self-revelation and of revelation of the Other – which might be the other person, or the other of language, or the Other to thinking itself, or even some kind of divine or absolute otherness. He explores how precisely reduction, especially in the form of self-reflection, leads to discovery of something that is irreducible. He aims to demonstrate this in the case of lyrical language. The dialectic of reduction leading to and revealing the irreducible emerges exemplarily in the case of lyric language. But this is only an example of a dialectic that can be charted more generally as determining the entire course of modern secular culture.

William Franke is Professor of Comparative Literature at Vanderbilt University and was concomitantly Professor of Philosophy at University of Macao (2013-16). He is a research fellow of the Alexander von Humboldt-Stiftung and has been Fulbright Distinguished Chair in Intercultural Theology at the University of Salzburg. His apophatic philosophy is directly expressed in On What Cannot Be Said (2007) and A Philosophy of the Unsayable (2014). It is extended into a comparative philosophy of culture in Apophatic Paths from Europe to China (2018) and applied to address current controversies in education and society ranging from identity politics to cognitive science in On The Universality of What is Not: The Apophatic Turn in Critical Thinking (2020). As a philosopher of the humanities with a negative theological vision, he elaborates a theological poetics in books including Dante’s Interpretive Journey (1996), Poetry and Apocalypse: Theological Disclosures of Poetic Language (2009), Dante and the Sense of Transgression: ’The Transgression of the Sign‘ (2012). He traces the ramifications of Dante’s theological poetics forwards in modern poetry (Secular Scriptures: Theological Poetics and the Challenge of Modernity, 2016) and backwards towards Dante’s own sources (The Revelation of Imagination: From the Bible and Homer through Virgil and Augustine to Dante, 2015). In 2021 he published three speculative monographs revolving around Dante: The Divine Vision of Dante’s Paradiso: The Metaphysics of Representation (2021); Dante’s Vita Nuova and the New Testament: Hermeneutics and the Poetics of Revelation (2021): Dante’s Paradiso and the Theological Origins of Modern Thought: Toward a Speculative Philosophy of Self-Reflection (2021).

In English

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16. Mai 2022 19:30 - 21:00(GMT+02:00)


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ICI Berlin