Monthly Archives: March 2019

“The Agonism between Democracy and Sovereignty as the Form of the Political”

My review of the challenging book Stasis before the State:  Nine Theses on Agonistic Democracy (2018) by Dimitris Vardoulakis in the journal of political and social theory Stasis.  I have discussed issues of stasis and agonism in “The Rule of Justice” (1995) … Continue reading

Posted in Uncategorized

The decline of intellectual debates

Reading recently about the Löwith-Blumenberg debate made me think of the dramatic decline of the public intellectual debate as a cultural exercise and terrain. Since at least La querelle des Anciens et des Modernes and The Battle of the Books, debates over cultural issues had been … Continue reading

Posted in Culture

Werther’s lyric performance of a bardic self

The devastating aria “Pourquoi me réveiller?” in Massenet’s drame lyrique Werther (1892) portrays a poet (Werther) singing the poem of a poet (Ossian) singing (in a contest of poets). But things are even more complicated.  “Within the opera and without, the poem is … Continue reading

Posted in Classical Music, Literature, Melancholy | Tagged , ,

Heroic civic friendship

It comes as a surprise to see an entire act of Gluck’s Iphigenia in Tauris (1779) devoted to the magnanimous dispute between Orestes and Pylades about who is more committed to their friendship. While the plot is hardly advanced, we watch … Continue reading

Posted in Classical Music, Friends, Revolt | Tagged ,