Aesthetic Animism

Excerpt from David Jhave Johnston’s Aesthetic Animism:

Aesthetic Animism“Words in ancient usage were both practical tools and living magic, sent through the ether, emanating from the gods. Our terms for gods might have changed yet some parallels persist: remote communication is now both inspirational and normative, and our contemporary pantheons are platforms. Since the Renaissance, as science explored the universe, the habitat of ancient myths (which gestate the evolution of the poetic aspects of language) dwindled. Displaced from oracular dominance, poetry became a refugee, a fallen exiled god. Incarnated and mortal, poetry devolved into secular interiority, fluctuating states of consciousness, wordplay, and the primacy of phenomena.”

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On the concept of digital poetry: “Poetry’s relevance involves engaging with technology’s effect on language. And not just the surface effects of shifts in word usage and transitions in styles, but fundamental transformations that are occurring in how words operate ontologically.”

SOURCE: Johnston, David Jhave. “National Poetry Month: Aesthetic Animism.” MIT Press.

The Becoming-Literature of the World: Pheng Cheah’s Case for World Literature

“What Is a World?, by contrast, aims to identify the ‘ethicopolitical horizon [that literature] opens up for the existing world’: literature’s normative, rather than merely 25778724reflective, capacity — in other words, its ability to shape a world rather than simply being its product.”

“To that end, Cheah mobilizes a series of terms that seem to have long gone out of fashion, beaten out of use by historicist deconstruction: world spirit, universality, teleology, and authenticity. What Is a World? argues that novels that merit the name world literature ‘remake the world against capitalist globalization’ by pointing, through their narrative contingencies, at the openness of ontological structures.”

 

 

SOURCE: Alon, Shir. “The Becoming-Literature of the World: Pheng Cheah’s Case for World Literature.” Los Angeles Review of Books (LARB).