‘Dramaturgy of the Dialectic’ by Rebecca Comay | Concept/s: Hegel’s Aesthetics

Concept/s: Hegel’s Aesthetics Conference Ljubljana 11-14 January 2018 Hosted by Aufhebung International Hegelian Association

Rebecca Comay Dramaturgy of the Dialectic


The temptation is to pit the Aesthetics against the Phenomenology: the one provides a museum or mausoleum of dead artworks, the other presents an open-ended artistic experiment. The one examines art from Olympian heights of absolute knowing, the other mobilizes and transforms art from (almost) within: philosophy of art vs the art of philosophy—mention vs use, constative vs performative, Hegel’s Aesthetics vs Hegel’s aesthetics. This opposition in turn recalls the contrast between Aristotle’s Poetics and Plato’s dialogues: the former provides an anatomy of tragic poetry, the latter disarms tragedy by sublimating and absorbing its resources for philosophy. Things aren’t so simple, of course, but I’d like to understand why. I’ll be exploring the theatrical elements of Hegel’s Phenomenology. How does Hegel’s dramaturgical practice relate to this ambivalent praise of drama, at the end of the Aesthetics, as the “highest” - which means also the most self-overcoming or self-relativizing — of all the arts?

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