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Re: <eyebeam><blast> Adorno...Beauty's Wounds

I wish to thank Clifford Duffy for his post re: Celan and Adorno, a
pleasure to read. I appreciate arguments supported by biographical and
historical references. They offer the reader the opportunity to
understand something of how the subjects developed their ideas as well
as how the writer formed a response, and they leave room for the reader
to formulate independent conclusions. Though I do not share his
expertise in the contexts in which Celan wrote his poem and Adorno made
his critical riposte, I have always considered Adorno's remark as a kind
of afterword on Celan's majestic empathic elegy. Perhaps having been
guided by Celan into the maelstrom of sorrow engendered by the Shoah, he
could not reconcile the distraction caused by the poem's ineffable
beauty. I feel the force of Celan's message, yet I, too, am aware also
of the beauty of its vehicle. I hate myself for the pleasure I take in
this beauty. And I can undesrstand why one might object to an art that
foregrounds this incommensurable gap in my moral being. Perhaps that art
derives its power from the fusion of aesthetic appreciation of the
beautiful and emotional engagement with the consequences of evil. Can
they exist in the same moral universe? George Steiner writes of his
astonishment with those who listened to Schubert songs in the evening
and created bloodbaths by day. What can one say? To say nothing, as
Adorno originally proposed, would be to simulate one's own death, one's
own non-being. An act of atonement by closing off -- a form of
iconoclasm, proscription of the hubris that would allow one to attempt
to create words or images that can contain the ineffable. But, as
horrible as it may appear to suggest so, perhaps the peril is not so
much in admitting beauty to the arena of evil, as it is in admitting the
possibility of that evil's recrudescence iun the world.  We must not
remain silent. And if in expressing the malevelant sights of that inward
eye we alight on beauty as our transport, will not that beguiling craft
capture the reader and conduct him into depths to which he otherwise
would not have descended? It is a marvelous debate, and thank you for
putting it forward so compellingly.

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