Friday, September 11, 2009

where I find you

The Ecstatic Quotidian—isn’t that a lovely book title?—subtitled: “Phenomenological Sightings in Modern Art and Literature,”
by a philosopher who’s evidently an accomplished poet, Jennifer Anna Gosetti-Ferencei (don’t know of her). The book is premised, a reviewer notes, on the reality that “everydayness is transformed as soon as we try to reflect on it.”

You are where the familiar and the strange may be held in a mirrorplay, “each implying the other,” as if the ordinary can only be really appreciated via the extraordinary, and conversely.

“[M]odernist movements in philosophy and art all share a distinctive turn toward everydayness as a theme.” The quotidian “is an object of both fascination and denigration.”

“Merleau-Ponty, Proust, Benjamin, Rilke, Frost, and Bachelard all turn to childhood consciousness as a model for the ecstatic quotidian.” Yes, and the Inner Child of the adult enlightens potential for insight as the playful mind, the intrepid experimenter, the endearing improviser, the trickster.

The book pursues “the larger question of the relation between art and philosophy.” Me, too!—which is why I mention it. “[W]e see that what is really at stake here is the way in which language and seeing are connected.”

The reviewer isn’t especially impressed by the book, but she praises it enough that I’ve obtained it from the library, if only to express the importance of the topic to me. (It sits on my desk with other books, berating me for wanting too much from scarce free time.)

The review is worth reading; I hope the book is. The topic’s surely worth living with.