The Poetics of Diagram

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The Poetics of Diagram

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Title: The Poetics of Diagram
Author: Kim, John Hyong
Citation: Kim, John Hyong. 2014. The Poetics of Diagram. Doctoral dissertation, Harvard University.
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Abstract: This dissertation treats the diagram as a literary object. It explains how the diagram structured the conditions of possibility of a world-literary modernity as it emerged in the late nineteenth- and early twentieth-century. Caught between the competing epistemic regimes of scientific and humanistic knowledge, as well as between the clash of cultures, East and West, the diagram's potential as a scientifically neutral, and thus, "universal" language was deployed and redeployed in complex ways: just as the diagram was used to reveal the fundamental conditions of literary possibility, it was also made into a literary object itself. Thus, as both a hermeneutic tool and an aesthetic object itself, the diagram's place in literature is shown to hinge upon the necessary but ambivalent relationship between the gravitas of literary criticism and the spirit of play in literary art. Beginning with a philosophical and genealogical archaeology of the diagram, the dissertation unfolds by situating various theoretical issues elicited by the placement of the diagram in literature, such as problems of interpretation, cognition, translation, adaptation, and materiality, within an intricate matrix of historical and cultural contexts. Readings likewise draw from a wide range of disciplines, such as continental philosophy, history of science and mathematics, visual studies, as well as from a wide range of languages and literatures, from English, French, and German, to Chinese, Japanese, and Korean.
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