The Necessity of Over-interpretation: Adorno, the Essay, and the Gesture of Aesthetic Experience

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Title:The Necessity of Over-interpretation: Adorno, the Essay, and the Gesture of Aesthetic Experience
Creators:
Johansson, Anders; anders dot johansson at littvet dot umu dot se; Umeå University, Umeå, Sweden
Journal or Publication Title:
Estetika: The Central European Journal of Aesthetics, 50, 2, pp. 149-169
Uncontrolled Keywords:Adorno T., Kafka F., over-interpretation, Benjamin W., essay

Abstract

This article is a discussion of Theodor W. Adorno’s comment, in the beginning of ‘The Essay as Form’, that interpretations of essays are over-interpretations. I argue that this statement is programmatic, and should be understood in the light of Adorno’s essayistic ideal of configuration, his notion of truth, and his idea of the enigmatic character of art. In order to reveal how this over-interpreting appears in practice, I turn to Adorno’s essay on Kafka. According to Adorno, the reader of Kafka is caught in an aporia: Kafka’s work cannot be interpreted, yet every single sentence calls for interpretation. This paradox is related to the gestures and images in Kafka’s work: like Walter Benjamin, Adorno means that they contain sedimented, forgotten experiences. Instead of interpreting these images, Adorno visualizes the experiences indirectly by presenting images of his own. His own essay becomes gestural.

Official URL: http://www.ceeol.com/aspx/issuedetails.aspx?issueid=8F39543F-B79E-471C-BC69-9850474A6B7D&articleid=8B2EEEEF-8EE9-4C89-A79F-4A8983D54D61

Title:The Necessity of Over-interpretation: Adorno, the Essay, and the Gesture of Aesthetic Experience
Creators:
Johansson, Anders; anders dot johansson at littvet dot umu dot se; Umeå University, Umeå, Sweden
Uncontrolled Keywords:Adorno T., Kafka F., over-interpretation, Benjamin W., essay
Subjects:B Philosophy. Psychology. Religion > BH Aesthetics
Divisions:Humanities and Social Sciences > 8. Section of Historical Sciences > Institute of Art History > Estetika (Aesthetics)
Journal or Publication Title:Estetika: The Central European Journal of Aesthetics
Volume:50
Number:2
Page Range:pp. 149-169
ISSN:0014-1291
Publisher:Institute of Art History Academy of Sciences of the Czech Republic
Related URLs:
URLURL Type
http://avi.lib.cas.cz/node/31Publisher
ID Code:7929
Item Type:Article
Deposited On:18 Nov 2013 15:30
Last Modified:18 Nov 2013 14:30

Citation

Johansson, Anders (2013) The Necessity of Over-interpretation: Adorno, the Essay, and the Gesture of Aesthetic Experience. Estetika: The Central European Journal of Aesthetics, 50 (2). pp. 149-169. ISSN 0014-1291

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