Capital in the Mirror

Critical Social Theory and the Aesthetic Dimension

eISBN-13: 9781438477770

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Aesthetic objects, crafted as poetic reflections of the contradictory worlds that they inhabit, are simultaneously theorized and theorizing. In Capital in the Mirror, eminent critical theorists explore the aesthetic dimension for reflective visions of capital that are difficult to obtain through even the most rigorous statistical analyses. Chapters address inequality, alienation, ideology, warfare, and other problems of contemporary capitalism through the cultural prisms of Herman Melville, Thomas Mann, Charles Dickens, J. W. Goethe, Friedrich Hölderlin, Walt Whitman, Bertolt Brecht, and science-fiction cinema. Famous narrative elements in their works, such as Ahab's pursuit of the white whale in Melville's Moby-Dick, demonic production and perverse desire in Mann's Doctor Faustus, socially electrified bodies of Whitman's Leaves of Grass, and dystopian projections of current sci-fi cinema, are theorized as stylistically distorted reflections of social life within capital. The authors reveal theoretical powers latent within these condensed images that prefigure the dark dynamics of capitalism. Focusing on dark images of domination and also prophetic images of transformation, the book points the way toward emancipation, social regeneration, and human flourishing.

ISBNs 9781438477770, 1438477775, 9781438477756
Language English
Number of Pages 344