Two negations

Kerfane-Brown, Lewis (2018) Two negations. (PhD thesis), Kingston University, .


This thesis belongs to the fields of creative writing, cultural theory and Lacanian theory. It comprises two components: one is a work of creative writing entitled "Two Negations". The "First Negation" is an exploration of Part A of German philosopher G. W. F. Hegel's Phenomenology of Spirit ("Consciousness", from §90 to §165) that chooses not to rely on secondary sources, instead remaining as close to the text as it can while establishing surprising or controversial links. The "Second Negation" consists mostly of aphorisms, with a handful of essays; its content side-tracks from what is initially a highly metaphorical and personal narrative into considerations upon the psychoanalytic understanding of time and space, and more specifically the feminine modalities of this experience. Creative writing here mixes psychoanalytic concepts, Hegelian vocabulary and wellknown works of modern and contemporary philosophy with pop music and original fiction. This symptom writ large eventually begs the question of what it is a symptom of, raising the stakes for an interpretation. The second component is a reflective commentary that seeks to put in context the creative writing in order to interpret it. Since Nietzsche's philosophy resembles Two Negations in both substance and style, it is the scholarly material best fit to bring contextual light to it. The first part of the commentary therefore investigates the use and function of aphorisms in Nietzsche's books, focusing on the analogy with the French moralists. The second part discusses Jacques Derrida's critique of Nietzsche in two papers written in the 1970s, in particular the groundbreaking emphasis on the woman in Nietzsche's writings, an analysis that bears on Two Negations. The third and final part introduces the question of melancholia in Two Negations in connection with Nietzschean nihilism and the psychoanalytic understanding of mourning, and closes on the notions of Author and Style in Hegel and French Romanticism.

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