Echoes of Beauty: In Memory of Pleshette DeArmitt

Journal of French and Francophone Philosophy 23 (2):67-75 (2015)
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Abstract

There is a special poignancy to the fact that Pleshette DeArmitt's essay "Sarah Kofman's Art of Affirmation" foregrounds Freud's essay "On Transience," in which he muses on the fact that beauty seems to be inextricably linked to a fleeting existence. As DeArmitt writes, "beauty, even in full flowering, foreshadows its own demise, causing what Freud describes as 'a foretaste of mourning.'" Such a transience, in Freud's mind, increases rather than decreases the worth of all that is beautiful. In her essay, DeArmitt argues that Kofman's 1985 text Mélancolie de l'Art reinscribes Freud's text, but brings it into the present by pointing to contemporary art as the occasion for the opening up of a new space, one capable of "dislocat[ing] the space of representation and meaning" and "invent[ing] a space of indetermination and play.” Through dislocation of a fixed reference or meaning and opening up a place for indeterminacy and play, contemporary art acknowledges and celebrates, rather than regrets, the transience of beauty.

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Eleanor Miller
Durham University

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