Red Sea-Red Square-Red Thread: A Philosophical Detective Story (Hardcover)

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A profoundly original philosophical detective story tracing the surprising history of an anecdote ranging across centuries of traditions, disciplines, and ideas

Red Sea-Red Square-Red Thread is a work of passages taken, written, painted, and sung. It offers a genealogy of liberty through a micrology of wit. It follows the long history of a short anecdote. Commissioned to depict the biblical passage through the Red Sea, a painter covered over a surface with
red paint, explaining thereafter that the Israelites had already crossed over and that the Egyptians were drowned. Clearly, not all you see is all you get. Who was the painter and who the first teller of the tale?

Designed as a philosophical detective story, Red Sea-Red Square-Red Thread follows the extraordinary number of thinkers and artists who have used the Red Sea anecdote to make so much more than a merely anecdotal point. Leading the large cast are the philosophers, Arthur Danto and S ren Kierkegaard,
the poet and playwright, Henri Murger, the opera composer, Giacomo Puccini, and the painter and print-maker, William Hogarth. Strange companions perhaps, until their use of the anecdote is shown as working its extraordinary passage through so many cosmopolitan cities of art and capital. What about
the anecdote brings Danto's philosophy of art into conversation with Kierkegaard's stages on life's way, with Murger and Puccini's la vie de boh me, and with Hogarth's modern moral pictures?

Lydia Goehr explores these narratives of emancipation in philosophy, theology, politics, and the arts. What has the passage of the Israelites to do with the Egyptians who, by many gypsy names, came to be branded as bohemians when arriving in France from the German lands of Bohemia? What have Moses
and monotheism to do with the history of monism and the monochrome? And what sort of thread connects a sea to a square when each is so purposefully named red?

About the Author


Lydia Goehr is Professor of Philosophy at Columbia University. She is the author of The Imaginary Museum of Musical Works: An Essay in the Philosophy of Music; The Quest for Voice: Music, Politics, and the Limits of Philosophy; Elective Affinities: Musical Essays on the History of Aesthetic Theory;co-editor with Daniel Herwitz of The Don Giovanni Moment: Essays on the Legacy of an Opera; and co-editor with Jonathan Gilmore of The Blackwell Companion to Arthur C. Danto.


Product Details
ISBN: 9780197572443
ISBN-10: 0197572448
Publisher: Oxford University Press, USA
Publication Date: December 1st, 2021
Pages: 720
Language: English