IBNA- 'The Rhythm of Thought: Art, Literature, and Music after Merleau-Ponty’ (2013) by American scholar Jessica Wiskus which presents a philosophical concept of art has been published in Persian.
French phenomenological philosopher Maurice Merleau-Ponty’s core of philosophy is a sustained argument for the foundational role perception plays in understanding the world as well as engaging with the world. This book which features his stylistic idea on rhythm has been translated into Persian by Parisa Fotouhi and released by Nahid Publishing in Tehran in 274 pages.
Strongly influenced by Edmund Husserl and Martin Heidegger, the constitution of meaning in human experience was Merleau-Ponty’s main interest and he wrote on perception, art, politics, religion, psychology, psychoanalysis, language, nature, and history.
The Persian translator Parisa Parisa Fotouhi believes that Merleau-Ponty argues for the unity of all forms of arts, which of course does not limited to an aesthetic approach, but a unity derived from the fundamental position of the human body in the world. He suggests that every artist in any period of art history follows a path previously opened by another artist and calls this process a common style.
Between present and past, visible and invisible, and sensation and idea, there is resonance—so philosopher Maurice Merleau-Ponty argued and so Jessica Wiskus explores in ‘The Rhythm of Thought’. Holding the poetry of Stéphane Mallarmé, the paintings of Paul Cézanne, the prose of Marcel Proust, and the music of Claude Debussy under Merleau-Ponty’s phenomenological light, she offers innovative interpretations of some of these artists’ masterworks, in turn articulating a new perspective on Merleau-Ponty’s philosophy.
More than merely recovering Merleau-Ponty’s thought, Wiskus thinks according to it. First examining these artists in relation to noncoincidence—as silence in poetry, depth in painting, memory in literature, and rhythm in music—she moves through an array of their artworks toward some of Merleau-Ponty’s most exciting themes: our bodily relationship to the world and the dynamic process of expression.
She closes with an examination of synesthesia as an intertwining of internal and external realms and a call, finally, for philosophical inquiry as a mode of artistic expression. Structured like a piece of music itself, The Rhythm of Thought offers new contexts in which to approach art, philosophy, and the resonance between them.
Jessica Wiskus serves as Scholar-in-Residence at the Simon Silverman Phenomenology Center (SSPC) at Duquesne University in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, USA. Drawing upon 20th-century continental philosophy, her research is interdisciplinary in nature and seeks to elucidate musical expression as a form of philosophical thinking.
She writes on musical style, form, and performance within the context of close readings of classic phenomenological texts. Her book, The Rhythm of Thought: Art, Literature, and Music after Merleau-Ponty (University of Chicago Press, 2013), interprets the work of Maurice Merleau-Ponty, developing “rhythm” as a philosophical notion through original analyses of works by Mallarmé, Cézanne, Proust, and Debussy.
In addition to her article and book chapter publications, she regularly contributes to the academic discourse by means of paper presentations at conference events in the United States and throughout Europe.
A Professor of Music at the Mary Pappert School of Music (and a member of the faculty for 18 years) until transitioning to the SSPC at Duquesne University, she also served as a Fellow at the Aarhus Institute of Advanced Studies in Aarhus, Denmark from February 2017 to July 2018, where she worked on a project entitled, “Rhythmical Ethics (On Music and the Performance of Philosophy).”