The book focuses on literary representations of the utopian projects in the Avant-Garde and Modernism.
Aldous Huxley’s final novel, Island (1962), famously combines Eastern and Western thought. However, many readings of the novel compartmentalize the engagement with science in the novel as Western and its engagement with philosophy as Eastern, with the consequence that aspects of the novel rooted in Western philosophy are often overlooked. This article argues that, among Western writing, attention to Henri Bergson is particularly revealing with respect to Island. Both Bergson’s philosophy of the function of the mind and his reflections on social evolution have major parallels within Huxley’s novel. The reflection of Bergsonian ideas in Island marks the culmination of a long journey for Huxley: he had been familiar with Bergson for fifty years prior to its publication. This article traces Huxley’s progress from initial coolness toward the then-modish Bergson to eventual acclamation, culminating in Island.
The early years of Soviet rule signaled the arrival of a new Utopian era where it seemed as if even the most outlandish avant-garde projects might be realized. Many avant-garde artists contributed to the construction of this brave new world which quickly degenerated into a nightmarish dystopia. Ironically, many avant-garde poets and painters emigrated from the soviet Russia in the early twenties just at a time when the range of possibilities still seemed enticing. Among the artists who turned their backs on such seeming opportunity was Ilia Zdanevich (Iliazd), Alexander Guinger, Boris Poplavsky, and Serge Charchoune. Thus was born, mainly in Paris, the Russian avant-garde art in exile, a phenomenon which allows the present day observer a fascinating analytical perspective in which the concept of Utopia may be placed at the very centre of our reflections. For if the avant-garde longed for a radical transformation of life, society and art, did it make sense to continue or even to start (as in the case of Poplavsky) such avant-garde developments so far removed from the country where these transformations were supposedly taking place? For example, the invention of transrational language was purely a utopian project, but why print this new language in the Cyrillic alphabet (as Iliazd did in 1923) rendering it inaccessible to the French Dadaists unless read aloud? Kruchenykh declared that Zaum could provide “a universal poetic language born organically”, but this very language produced in a foreign linguistic environment couldn’t help but loose its utopian aura, leaving it at best a pure artifice. The abrupt end of the “heroic times” of Russian avant-garde poetry in Paris demonstrates that the young émigrés had yet to elaborate their own alternatives, both to the art of their Russian predecessors as well to the new leftist ideology of art.
The article considers the Views of L. N. Tolstoy not only as a representative, but also as a accomplisher of the Enlightenment. A comparison of his philosophy with the ideas of Spinoza and Diderot made it possible to clarify some aspects of the transition to the unique Tolstoy’s religious and philosophical doctrine. The comparison of General and specific features of the three philosophers was subjected to a special analysis. Special attention is paid to the way of thinking, the relation to science and the specifics of the worldview by Tolstoy and Diderot. An important aspect is researched the contradiction between the way of thinking and the way of life of the three philosophers.
Tolstoy's transition from rational perception of life to its religious and existential bases is shown. Tolstoy gradually moves away from the idea of a natural man to the idea of a man, who living the commandments of Christ. Starting from the educational worldview, Tolstoy ended by creation of religious and philosophical doctrine, which were relevant for the 20th century.
This important new book offers the first full-length interpretation of the thought of Martin Heidegger with respect to irony. In a radical reading of Heidegger's major works (from Being and Time through the ‘Rector's Address' and the ‘Letter on Humanism' to ‘The Origin of the Work of Art' and the Spiegel interview), Andrew Haas does not claim that Heidegger is simply being ironic. Rather he argues that Heidegger's writings make such an interpretation possible - perhaps even necessary.
Heidegger begins Being and Time with a quote from Plato, a thinker famous for his insistence upon Socratic irony. The Irony of Heidegger takes seriously the apparently curious decision to introduce the threat of irony even as philosophy begins in earnest to raise the question of the meaning of being. Through a detailed and thorough reading of Heidegger's major texts and the fundamental questions they raise, Haas reveals that one of the most important philosophers of the 20th century can be read with as much irony as earnestness. The Irony of Heidegger attempts to show that the essence of this irony lies in uncertainty, and that the entire project of onto-heno-chrono-phenomenology, therefore needs to be called into question.
The article is concerned with the notions of technology in essays of Ernst and Friedrich Georg Jünger. The special problem of the connection between technology and freedom is discussed in the broader context of the criticism of culture and technocracy discussion in the German intellectual history of the first half of the 20th century.