Agamben, Stanzas: Word and Phantasm in Western Culture
“Stanzas” (which means “rooms” in Italian) is a blend of philology, the psychoanalysis of toys, medieval physics and psychology, and contemporary linguistics and philosophy. In this work, Giorgio Agamben attempts to reconfigure the epistemological foundation of Western culture. He rereads Freud and Saussure to discover the impossibility of metalanguage – there is no “superior language” that can read the obscure scenes of the unconscious, and the “symbol” is always the return of the repressed in an improper signifier. This impossibility leads Agamben to the problem of representation. He argues that since language is the locus of the production and storage of phantasms, all real objects are fractured by phantasmic itineraries that in turn divide poetry and philosophy, joy and knowledge.
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