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

Print publication date: 2013

Print ISBN-13: 9780226030920

Published to Chicago Scholarship Online: September 2013

DOI: 10.7208/chicago/9780226031088.001.0001

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Cézanne: Depth in the World

Cézanne: Depth in the World

(p.13) 2 Cézanne: Depth in the World
The Rhythm of Thought

Jessica Wiskus

University of Chicago Press

This chapter explains why Cézanne stands as a key figure in Merleau-Ponty’s work, and how this is related to Merleau-Ponty’s engagement with the visual arts, particularly with painting. It is argued here that understanding the development of Merleau-Ponty’s thought requires applying ourselves to the heart of the changes that his work underwent instead of his most well-known conclusions. From his notes, one could gather a subtle but important shift in emphasis, underscoring “depth” as a philosophical notion. Depth, like the silent space of poetry, becomes in painting a means of expressing a fundamental structure of noncoincidence. Merleau Ponty takes up this theme by contrasting his own reading of depth with that of Descartes, who believed that a world of noncoincidence is merely a world of illusion.

Keywords:   visual arts, Cézanne, merleau-ponty, painting, depth, poetry, noncoincidence, descartes, illusion

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