William Egginton

 

On his book The Theater of Truth: The Ideology of (Neo)baroque Aesthetics

Cover Interview of December 28, 2009

In a nutshell

The Theater of Truth: The Ideology of (Neo)baroque Aesthetics argues that seventeenth-century baroque and twentieth-century neobaroque aesthetics have to be understood as part of the same complex.

Rather than a return to the stylistic practices of a particular time and place, the neobaroque should be described as the continuation of a cultural strategy. It is produced as a response to a specific problem of thought that has beset Europe and the colonial world since early modernity.

This problem, in its simplest philosophical form, concerns the paradoxical relation between appearances and what they represent.  The aim of this book is to explore a series of expressions of this problem in the art and literature of the Hispanic Baroques, new and old.

In seven chapters, I build up a thesis concerning the relation of two baroque strategies, a “major” and a “minor” one, how these strategies emerged in the political and social world of the Spanish Empire, and how they continue to be deployed in the cultural politics of the present.

In short, The Theater of Truth is a book for those interested and engaged in the debates around baroque and neobaroque aesthetics.  It offers a unified theory for the relation between these terms and a new vocabulary for distinguishing between their ideological values.