William Clare Roberts: Karl Marx and the Katabatic Tradition

Aesthetic Seminar

2018.05.14 | Betina Ramm

Date Thu 07 Jun
Time 14:15 17:00
Location Kasernen, Aarhus University, Langelandsgade 139, Aarhus C, Building 1584, Room 112

The descent into the world of the dead is one of the oldest motifs in world literature, going back at least to the epic of Gilgamesh. Within the Greco-Roman tradition, this descent received an influential early articula-tion in the Homeric Odyssey, a political-philosophical reworking by Plato (Gorgias and Republic), and a political-historical reinscription in Vergil’s Aeneid. These precedents, in turn, furnished the materials for Dante’s Inferno, the most famous and most elaborate of the classical katabases. In conversation with the mainstream of this tradition, one can also find a counter-tradition, which asserted, with Lucretius, that "whatever things are rumored to dwell deep in Acheron are all things that exist in life for us." This counter-tradition criticized the things of this world that provoke us to project another, mythical world, the Hell on Earth that induces us to imagine a mythical Hades. I argue that Marx, in Capital, attempts to merge these two katabatic traditions, the mythic and the critical, by leading his readers on a critical journey through political economy, the science of capital.


The seminar is public, and we welcome everybody.


Programme: Aesthetic Seminars Spring 2018

Seminar, Contemporary Aesthetics and Technology