Karen Feldman, UC Berkeley—“Realität ist schlichtweg das Unverdächtige” (Reality is simply the Unsuspicious): On Blumenberg and Critical Affect
Hans Blumenberg’s “Wirklichkeitsbegriff und Möglichkeit des Romans” (The Notion of Reality and the Possibility of the Novel, 1964) expounds a modern concept of reality as what resists our grasp, a successor to an earlier concept of reality as what is secured by a guarantee. Blumenberg’s analysis of reality as resistance illuminates the bottomless suspicion that motivates critique, along with the critical affects catalogued by Eve Sedgwick and Rita Felski—including triumphalism, “smartness”, and self-satisfaction.
Professor Feldman is an Associate Professor of German at UC Berkeley. Her research occupies the intersection of philosophy and literary theory, reflecting a philosophical and literary-critical approach to classic texts of the German literary and philosophical canon, with a strong emphasis in Critical Theory. She has produced publications on a wide range of topics and covering 300 years, including Gottsched, G.F. Meier, Kant, Nietzsche, Benjamin, Adorno, Heidegger, Arendt, and Cold War effects on U.S. philosophy. Her current research explores the representation of connections between events in literary, historical and philosophical narratives. Events in a story can be seen as ordered according to proximate causation, which leads diachronically from one event to the next; and they can also be understood in view of the structure of the narrative as a whole – for instance in terms of the unity of plot. Her book manuscript Arts of Connection: Poetry, History, Epochality, which will be published by De Gruyter, argues that there exists an essential narrative tension between these two kinds of connection, by means of exemplary moments in Aristotle and classical German poetics, eighteenth-century philosophy of history, and twentieth-century phenomenology.