The Western writers had claimed the autonomy of literature since the 19th century. Demands for the autonomy of literature arose at the moment when writers resisted contemporary ideas. The conflict between literature and the social dominant ideology wa ...
The Western writers had claimed the autonomy of literature since the 19th century. Demands for the autonomy of literature arose at the moment when writers resisted contemporary ideas. The conflict between literature and the social dominant ideology was not confined to the 19th century, but literature had never been considered as being antagonistic to a society until the 19th century. The autonomy of literature would not have been perceived without the individual liberation. The economic and social liberation brought by the Enlightenment offered "autonomy" to artists : capitalism and the art market provided them with economic independence and freedom of thought and expression. On the other hand, the Enlightenment exposed the inconsistency between literature and society. The philosophy of Enlightenment was premised on the harmony between individuals and the general will. At the 19th century, however, it was revealed that the idea was a fantasy and that individuals were subordinate to economic and political power. The Western writers sensed this fact that the Enlightenment brought about human alienation, not human liberation. Resisting all political and moral authorities, a group of writers began to consider literature as the source of creating new values, with a slogan, "against capital" and "against vulgarity."
For the first year, I have tried to clarify that the claim of autonomy of literature was opposition to the social thinkers who regarded themselves as the successors of the Enlightenment project. It is widely accepted that the autonomy of modern literature arose against modernity. If there is a speciality in this study, I attempt to investigate this view especially focusing on how this can be justified and historically materialized. For this, I primarily examine the literary ideas of St. Simon's and Comte's, which extensively influenced ‘the new ideas’ of the 19th century. Also, I analyse the criticism of the idea of utility and progress proposed by Baudelaire and Flaubert, from the point of criticizing the narcissism of the Enlightenment. The conflict between the autonomy of literature and social discourse originated from two different views on human beings. Based on this contemplation, this study explores the fundamental antagonism between literary discourse(aesthetics) and social discourse.
For the second year, I have reviewed the criticism of ‘the pessimistic and autistic’ writers, who claimed the autonomy of literature. I study Homais, a problematic character, in Flaubert's Madame Bovary, and reinterpret ‘the absence of Utopia’ in Flaubert's literature. Homais embodies a modern man, who has taken the throne from God to a man. However, the novel does not end with a bright future. Despite Homais’ victory, Flaubert implies that there is a stupidity in Homais’ mind, or in the most advanced thinkers’ at that time. With an analysis of a variety of narratives, I suggest that Homais’ world dominated by the ideologies of teleology and utility, represents the folly ‘autolâtrie,’ where there are no ‘Others.’ Criticizing the contemporary anthropocentrism, Flaubert questions ‘Self-identity,’ that is, modern Subject. Flaubert and Mallarmée, the most radical representatives of the autonomy of literature, attempted ‘impersonal’ writing, which shows that their aesthetic world strays from the gravity of the modern philosophical Subject.