As a part of academic work you should read a lot of literature, but if you do not document it, it does not exists. That is why writing literature reviews is essential. So this week we were assigned to give it a first try. You can see below what I have come up with.


Ruth Ronen is a full Professor at the department of philosophy at Tel Aviv University. Her areas of interest include Philosophy and Psychoanalytic Thought, Philosophy of Art and Contemporary Aesthetics. I was particularly interested in one of her articles, which called «Art and Anxiety, or: Lacan with Joyce» and was published in the (Re)-turn: A Journal of Lacanian Studies, Volume 2, Spring 2005.

She is looking on the phenomenon of anxiety from the points of view of such philosophers as Kant, Freud and Lacan to investigate an aesthetics with anti-aesthetics face of contemporary art. As the subject of her investigation she chose works of James Joyce, as a prominent example of «unreadable» modernist avant-garde novelist. According to Lacan, anxiety is an aesthetic affect between judgement and something which goes prior any judgement. If to examine the connection between pleasure and anxiety. The second one is non-deceptive. The desire of something arouse the anxiety, thus it is not a signifier, but a signal which precedes a judgement and then pleasure or displeasure. Kant, in his turn, distinguish two moments: a moment of what is felt prior to judgment (and can be deceptive) and a moment of the judgment of taste, where pleasure and displeasure are non-deceptive because of leaning on the binary law of the Other that distinguishes positive from negative judgments.

Anxiety is hence what emerges retroactively at the moment prior to any judgment of the object as tragic or comic, as beautiful or ugly, as harmonising or as conflicting. The support
of the beautiful image comes from the harmony of cognitive faculties by necessity preceded by a moment of anxiety. Likewise displeasure can be perceived as the signal indicating that the support of the image has failed in producing harmony. In such cases the anxiety persists as aesthetic displeasure.

For my final major project, this article provides an interesting point of view on the anxiety as something not necessarily negative because it helps us to evaluate everything we see and feel pleasure or displeasure.