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Article Title

Commentary

Abstract

The questions Professor Kupffer's article raise concerning the relationship between image and the word, have been, by and large, ignored in modern aesthetic thought. An artificial separation of these two media of expression had been, since the Renaissance, characteristic of western philosophical thought. Leonardo, Cellini and Michelangelo all wrote treatises In order to place art on the same footing as the literati's words. A quick scan of the philosophical record suggests that the deep schism persists between the image and the word which manifests itself as a bifurcation between rationality and irrationality. To name but a few of the more prominent proponents of this position; Schiller's distinction between sensuousness and the rational (the word being rational, art being sensual), Nietzsche's distinction between the Apollonian and the Dionysian, Freud's pleasure principle and reality principle, Caudwell' s genotype and nature, Jung's archetype and society, Fromm's collective art and marketing orientation, Marcuse's eros and civilization, and Sorokin's characterization of sensate and ideational cultural types. We might end the list with an often quoted philosopher of art, Susan Langer, who preserves a strict division between word and image by claiming art to be non-discursive, while the medium of writing is, of course, discursive. Indeed, it appears that structuralism, by definition, rests on the binary oppositions that have emerged throughout western thought.

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