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By Jessica Wiskus

Between current and previous, noticeable and invisible, and sensation and notion, there's resonance—so thinker Maurice Merleau-Ponty argued and so Jessica Wiskus explores in The Rhythm of Thought. preserving the poetry of Stéphane Mallarmé, the work of Paul Cézanne, the prose of Marcel Proust, and the song of Claude Debussy below Merleau-Ponty’s phenomenological mild, she bargains cutting edge interpretations of a few of those artists’ masterworks, in flip articulating a brand new viewpoint on Merleau-Ponty’s philosophy.
 
More than basically getting better Merleau-Ponty’s idea, Wiskus thinks based on it. First analyzing those artists in terms of noncoincidence—as silence in poetry, intensity in portray, reminiscence in literature, and rhythm in music—she strikes via an array in their artistic endeavors towards a few of Merleau-Ponty’s most fun subject matters: our physically dating to the realm and the dynamic technique of expression. She closes with an exam of synesthesia as an intertwining of inner and exterior nation-states and a decision, ultimately, for philosophical inquiry as a method of inventive expression. dependent like a section of track itself, The Rhythm of Thought bargains new contexts within which to method paintings, philosophy, and the resonance among them.

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The place does such an research go away us? One could—and should—caution that the research leaves us now not with the tune itself yet, as Proust wrote of Vinteuil’s sonata, simply with “certain equivalents, substituted (for his mind’s comfort) for the mysterious entity. ”11 but the pastime isn't really completely with out benefit, for it bargains us a fashion, via language, of circling round a middle. we will simply ponder this heart as a hole, and maybe the inadequacy of language therefore serves good by way of requiring that we constantly element to that hole. The song can and will by no means be captured. yet an enticing constitution emerges—a formal constitution characterised as a lot via its silence and house as its eloquence. whether it is enough neither to explain the Prélude as an arch shape (ABA') nor to name it a topic and diversifications, then you'll want to describe the shape as generated in keeping with the noncoincidence among the 2. For the shape of the Prélude is to be understood now not as any unmarried version might suggest: what our research discloses—through the harmonies, the melodies, the timbres—is a feeling of shape that gathers or arrives at itself or that, conversely, proliferates via “a type of folding again. ”12 The sequence of arabesque statements within the a piece, for instance, wrap via to the arabesque at m. seventy nine and recapitulation at m. ninety four. additionally within the a bit, the oboe melody in m. 37, descending via excellent 5th, includes ahead to the attractive woodwind melody, additionally descending through 5th, at m. fifty five of the B part. the 2 sections spread in accordance with a connection—a “membrane”13—that is traced among them via melodic edition, coiling approximately one another. but in addition they perform the extra extensively floating resonance among the arabesque statements of the hole and go back of m. seventy nine, because the motif of the descending tritone of the arabesque should be acknowledged to generate the descending 5th in mm. 37 and fifty five of the B part. What we comprehend via those relationships is that even if the arabesque isn't really heard—even whilst it isn't present—its absence is energetic. yet simply because the experience of the arabesque gathers itself inward around the diversifications, it strikes outward besides, proliferating via differentiation (melodic, harmonic, metric, and dynamic) within the B part. it truly is this interplay among the cohesion of the differences and the differentiation of the arch shape that makes attainable the unfastened and flowing expression of the song. therefore, what we listen because the shape isn't really linear; it strikes too deeply to be defined as a line, for it's dimensional. there's constantly a steady type of divergence or dissonance at paintings within the type of the Prélude, a layering of feel and the establishment of intensity. From this intensity springs the assumption of the shape itself. As we've seen Merleau-Ponty write, with the musical suggestion there's “not the positing of a content material, however the beginning of a measurement which can by no means back be closed. ”14 The musical proposal isn't really a “positive thought,” he keeps, yet “negativity or absence circumscribed.

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