Blind Love, Romanticism, and Rousseaus Julie
Lecture | April 11 | 12-2 p.m. | 4229 Dwinelle Hall
Alexandra Schamel, Universität Munich, Dept. of Comparative Literature, French Studies & IES Visiting Scholar
The lecture examines to what extent Rousseaus epistolary novel Julie ou la Nouvelle Héloïse modifies the visual paradigm of eighteenth-century anthropology, as seen in Rousseaus ideology of substantial nature, by introducing dynamics which produce obscurité, an unattainable dimension of inwardness. The argument leads to the proposal that the subjects strategies of hiding, masking and transforming its epistemological darkness in the penetrating regime of virtue create central aspects of the romantic mind. The term obscurité shall be illustrated as a dynamic of semantic desubstantialisation originated from the love-wound (Coelen, Derrida). The need for subordination under Wolmars omniscient eye effects a process of sublimation, in which the obscure semantics of love are transferred into legitimate areas of ontological diffusion, such as dreams, memories, wistfulness and even scarifying death, the very precursors of romanticism. Respective examples will illustrate how Rousseau constructs these threshold phenomena as semantic substitutes for the love affect which is also more and more transmitted into the rhetorical dimension of the letters.