Arts of Connection: Poetry, History, Epochality

Arts of Connection Book Cover

Arts of Connection: Poetry, History, Epochality

Karen Feldman
Berkeley Book Chats
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Working at the intersection of literary theory, philosophy of history, and phenomenology, Karen Feldman (German) explores the representation of connections between events in literary, historical, and philosophical narratives.

Events in a story can be seen as ordered according to proximate causation, in which one event leads diachronically to the next; they can also be understood in view of the structure of the narrative as a whole — for instance, in terms of the unity of plot. Feldman argues that there exists an essential narrative tension between these two kinds of connection: between the overarching arrangement or plot that holds together events from "outside" in order to produce an intelligible whole, and the portrayal of one-by-one, "interstitial" connections between events within the narrative.

Drawing upon Aristotle and classical German poetics, 18th-century philosophy of history, and 20th-century phenomenology, Arts of Connection (De Gruyter, 2019) demonstrates that the task of connection is a fraught one, insofar as the formal unity of narrative competes or interferes with the representation of one-by-one connections between events.

Feldman is joined by Mario Telò (Ancient Greek & Roman Studies). After a brief discussion, they respond to questions from the audience.

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