The Cudgel and the Caress

Reflections on Cruelty and Tenderness

David Farrell Krell
eISBN-13: 9781438472997

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The Cudgel and the Caress explores the enduring significance of tenderness and cruelty in a range of works across philosophy, psychoanalysis, and literature. Divided into two parts, the book initially focuses on tenderness, with David Farrell Krell delivering original readings of Homer's Iliad, Sophocles's Antigone, and writings by Hölderlin, Hegel, Freud, and Derrida that deal with the importance of tenderness and the tragic consequences of its absence. Part One concludes with an extended reading of Robert Musil's Man Without Qualities, in which Krell analyzes the tender relationship between Ulrich and Agathe. In Part Two, Krell begins by examining Otto Rank's Birth Trauma, which reflects on the tenderness of gestation in the womb and the cruel necessity of birth. He then turns to an examination of cruelty in general, focusing on Derrida's challenge to contemporary psychoanalysis, his opposition between Kant and Nietzsche, and his analysis (and indictment) of the death penalty. Groundbreaking and insightful, the book provides a rare philosophical treatment of subjects vital to the world we live in.

ISBNs 9781438472973, 1438472994, 9781438472997
Language English
Number of Pages 340