Poetics of Imagining: Modern and Post-modern by Richard Kearney

By Richard Kearney

"Analyzes and assesses the decisive contributions made to our realizing of the imaginary lifetime of phenomenology (Husserl, Sartre, Merleau-Ponty, Bachelard), hermeneutics (Heidegger, Ricoeur), and postmodernism (Vattimo, Kristeva, Lyotard) . . . wonderful and hugely recommended." -The Midwest booklet evaluation

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An example of the first would be the image of an object which we know doeeees not exist - say, the image of Peter's head with the body of a centaur. An example of the second would be the image of an existing someone or something in a particular place other than here - say, the image of the absent Peter at the North Pole. An example of the third would be the image of an existing someone or something in no particular place other than here - say, the image of the absent Peter as simply absent but nowhere.

In perception my intention presents Peter as he really is: as he is 'seen' by me. In imagination, by contrast, my intention presents Peter in an 'unreal' way: not as he ts but as he is imagined to be. Both reach the same Peter; but the former reaches him in the direct manne r o f encounter, the latter in the indirect manner of invention. The matter is not, however, quite as simple as this neat antithesis between reality and unreality s uggests. If it is true that the i~age presents the object in an unreal way, it is e qually true that what it wishes to present is more often than not the real object.

This existential inquiry concerns itself with two primary questions: ( 1) the ontological question of what a human being must be in order to imagine; and ( 2) the aesthetic question of what art must be if it is a creation of imagination. In the postscript Sartre reveals the underlying ontological motivation of his two works on imagination. And this revelation involves a novel evaluation of the 'unrealizing' (neantisant) powers of imagining. In additio n to its pathological tendencies to captivate and e nthrall consciousness, the imaginary life no w eme rges as the primary co nditio n of all human consciousness as a temporal being-in-the-world.

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