The Opulence of Existence
Essays on Aesthetics and Politics
This collection of essays offers a way of reading texts and testaments by suggesting that there is no dispute between critical skeptical thinking and our intuitive grasp of the opulent, shimmering matter that lies strewn all around us. One can wonder at the large forces of existence and yet color such wonderment with a tenor of incredulity. That is how we deal wit the ineradicable vehemence of life as participants and as observers. This could be called a counter-romantic way of approaching icons and images, confessions and treatises, journeys and turbulences.
Of the twenty-four essays collated here, several are close reading of a range of arts practices including literature, film, and iconography. Others are about antinomian forms of political philosophy.
"Iconoclastic, fervent, visionary, but insistently in touch with the harshness of much-lived reality, Prasanta Chakravarty brings a welcome freshness to politically committed advocacy for the humanities. This is radical criticism that recognises the demands of skepticism and the hunger for inspiration in equal measure." — Helen Small, University of Oxford
Prasanta Chakravarty’s wide-ranging essays are granular responses to hegemony. Each reflection is as systematic as it is non-systematic, allowing everyday and literary kinds of movement to burst theoretical and historical orthodoxies with their own, equally theoretical and historical force. What emerges is thought drawing political energy from texture. In this invaluable and original book, everything is up for rethinking under conditions that mean that not just anything can be thought.
— Rei Terada, University of California, Irvine