The Rhythm of ThoughtArt, Literature, and Music after Merleau-Ponty

The Rhythm of ThoughtArt, Literature, and Music after Merleau-Ponty

Jessica Wiskus

Print publication date: 2013

ISBN: 9780226030920

Publisher: University of Chicago Press


Between present and past, visible and invisible, and sensation and idea, there is resonance—so philosopher Maurice Merleau-Ponty argued and so this book explores. Holding the poetry of Stéphane Mallarmé, the paintings of Paul Cézanne, the prose of Marcel Proust, and the music of Claude Debussy under Merleau-Ponty’s phenomenological light, it offers interpretations of some of these artists’ masterworks, in turn articulating a new perspective on Merleau-Ponty’s philosophy. More than merely recovering Merleau-Ponty’s thought, the text thinks according to it. First examining these artists in relation to noncoincidence—as silence in poetry, depth in painting, memory in literature, and rhythm in music—it moves through an array of their artworks toward some of Merleau-Ponty’s most exciting themes: our bodily relationship to the world and the dynamic process of expression. The book closes with an examination of synesthesia as an intertwining of internal and external realms and a call, finally, for philosophical inquiry as a mode of artistic expression. Structured like a piece of music itself, the book offers contexts in which to approach art, philosophy, and the resonance between them.