The Self and Its Shadows: A Book of Essays on Individuality as Negation in Philosophy and the Arts

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OUP Oxford, Apr 18, 2013 - Literary Criticism - 327 pages
Stephen Mulhall presents a series of multiply interrelated essays which together make up an original study of selfhood (subjectivity or personal identity). He explores a variety of articulations (in philosophy, psychoanalysis, and the arts) of the idea that selfhood is best conceived as a matter of non-self-identity—for example, as becoming or self-overcoming, or as being what one is not and not being what one is, or as being doubled or divided. Philosophically, a sustained reading of the work of Nietzsche and Sartre is central to this project, although Wittgenstein is also fundamental to its concerns; Mulhall therefore draws extensively on texts usually associated with 'Continental' philosophical traditions, primarily in order to test the feasibility of a non-elitist form of moral perfectionism. Within the arts, several essays examine various films whose themes intersect with those of the philosophers under study (including Hollywood melodramas, recent spy movies such as the Bourne trilogy and the latest incarnation of James Bond, and David Fincher's 'Benjamin Button'); Wagner's Ring cycle is a recurrent concern; and the novels of Kingsley Amis, J. M. Coetzee and David Foster Wallace are also prominent.
 

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Contents

The Bearing of Proper Names in the Philosophical Investigations
1
Sartrean Scenes I Introduction
39
The Birth of Tragedy Between Drama Opera and Philosophy
51
Or Three Ways of Not Being James Bond
74
Sartrean Scenes II Part One Chapter One
116
Elizabeth Costellos Cinematic Sisters
136
Freedom and Form in Human All Too Human
151
Sartrean Scenes III Part One Chapter One Part Two Chapter One Part Three Chapter One
181
The Realistic Spirit of David Finchers The Curious Case of Benjamin Button
202
The Art of Reading On the Genealogy of Morality as Testimony
222
Sartrean Scenes IV Existentialism As A Humanism
266
Wallaces Wittgenstein Morans Amis
283
Bibliography
321
Filmography
324
Index
325
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About the author (2013)


Stephen Mulhall is a Professor of Philosophy, and a Tutorial Fellow of New College, Oxford. He was previously a Prize Fellow of All Souls College, Oxford, and a Reader in Philosophy at the University of Essex.

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