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  1. Literary Paradox - Encyclopedia of Ideas
  2. Paradoxism after paradoxism
  3. Paradoxism after paradoxism
  4. Related titles
  5. A (more than) paradoxist work

The Aesthetics of Paradoxism Second Edition. Titu Popescu P. Georgelin Florentin Smarandache L. In the history of thought and creation, the decisive events, the great and significant moments, the strongly affirmative stages - then the imposition of the optimizing novelties - have depended on the name and prestige of a personality. Referring to those, we personalize further on. The examples are extremely numerous, even in our nearest past.

When we mention a creation - in the largest sense of the term - with the name of the personality who illustrates it most extensively at a given time, we state precisely the specific importance of it; we give it, with other words, the identity to which we can refer continuously with full knowledge and without causing any confusion among the receivers. The consecrated proper names evolve through quickly imposed habits, a large range of increments that announce the essential outline of their peak production.

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Share your thoughts with us. Take the survey! Please enable Javascript to take full advantage of our site features. Edit Artist. Marketplace Search for Paradoxism. Discography Tracks. Data Quality Correct. Reviews Add Review charlestle April 28, Report. Paradoxism is a literary and artistic vanguard movement, as an anti-totalitarian protest, set up by the writer Florentin Smarandache in s, and based on an excessive use of antitheses, antinomies, contradictions, paradoxes in creation.

In music it is also based on contradictory sounds and themes. It was set up and led by the writer Florentin Smarandache since 's, who said: "The goal is to enlargement of the artistic sphere through non-artistic elements. But especially the counter-time, counter-sense creation. Also, to experiment. C History: "Paradoxism started as an anti-totalitarian protest against a closed society, Romania of 's, where the whole culture was manipulated by a small group. Only their ideas and their publications counted. We couldn't publish almost anything.

Then, I said: Let's do literature Let's write Simply: object literature! Do you want a vertically classification? Another classification in diagonal: "poem-phenomenon", "poem- soul status", "poem-thing". In painting, sculpture similarly - all existed in nature, already fabricated. Therefore, a mute protest we did! Later, I based it on contradictions.

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Literary Paradox - Encyclopedia of Ideas

Because we lived in that society a double life: an official one - propagated by the political system, and another one real. In mass-media it was promulgated that 'our life is wonderful', but in reality 'our life was miserable'. The paradox flourishing! And then we took the creation in derision, in inverse sense, in a syncretic way.

Further, though precisely formulated ac- cording to given rules, paradoxes nonetheless tend to indeterminacy: Achilles never catches the tortoise, and the tortoise, presumably, never crosses the finish line either; the Cretan by lying does not lie—or, in telling the truth, he lies. By its curious tautology, the self-referential paradox abolishes the possibility of external measuring-rods; praise of the conventionally unpraiseworthy, however, is itself a measuring rod, of the standards by which values are established.


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Why is a nut intrinsically less praiseworthy than a garden, an ass than a horse,. The association of formal paradox with both epideixis and play suggests that it was early regarded as an artistic, or at the very least a leisure- time, activity. This playfulness has as necessary pre- conditions considerable skill in the arts of the trivium grammar, rhetoric, logic , a groundwork of conven- tional values familiar to both paradoxist and his audi- ence, and an intellectual atmosphere in which values and value-systems competed for attention and ad- herence.

So Cicero could write out the Stoic axioms of his Paradoxa Stoicorum with ironic intent, knowing that his audience recognized their official moral value and knew that the axioms ran counter to current mo- rality in Rome. Paradoxes have been considered chiefly to occur in periods in which competing value-systems strengthen philo- sophical pluralism and relativism; certainly the literary paradox occurs in periods marked by considerable disturbance of intellectual patterns. The Renaissance is, partly for this reason, rich in paradoxy, although another reason for the form's popularity in the period is simply the humanist recovery of classical literary models, among them the paradox.

Paradoxism after paradoxism

Ancient paradoxes were recovered, studied, imitated, and adapted to new conditions. But paradoxy is by no means limited to the Renais- sance, though most of this article's typical examples will be drawn from that period: in the Western tradi- tion, epistemologically inquisitive authors Mandeville, Swift, Sterne, Diderot, for instance tended to formu- late paradoxes. Paradoxy has always had its associations with nonsense, and the highly intellectual work of Lewis Carroll and Christian Morgenstern offers both the classical paradoxical topics and major contributions to literary paradoxy.

In the modern period, such di- verse authors as G. Chesterton, Joyce, Sartre, Queneau, Borges, and Heller, as well as Zen-influenced poets and detective story writers such as Nicholas Freeling, have prolonged the tradition of Western literary paradox in their work. Basically, a paradox is a word-play, a pun, expressed in rhetorical and logical form. Any verbal test of skill is likely to develop into an art form, so that one need not be surprised that one major ancient writer wrote in praise of the nut Ovid , and that a poem on the gnat was attributed to another Vergil. Montaigne's defense is in fact a censure: his apologia apologizes for the book his title appears to praise.

Most examples of paradox- ical novelty are less grand than this great essay in skepticism. Debt was a widespread topic for Renaissance paradoxists, trying to cope with the new situations arising from a cash economy. Ridiculous though Lando's arguments for debt were in terms of medieval economic theory and current morality, they turned out to be normal enough in an era of extensive credit. Both Rabelais and Bodin dealt, of course very differently, with the paradoxes in economic behavior perceived as new modes of economics massively altered the old: Panurge's praise of debt in Gargantua et Pantagruel is humorous enough, but it touches on the real anoma- lies of a new commercial age.

By the sheer multitude of paradoxical formulations in his Gargantua et Pantagruel, particularly clustered in the Tiers livre, Rabelais offers a wonderful anthol- ogy of Renaissance paradoxy. He praises many un praiseworthy things besides debt: his praise of the codpiece is a considered essay on generation, as well as an ironic commentary on that segment of a man's trousers.

Panurge's debate on whether or not he should marry makes us aware of the Renaissance's oscilla- tions in sexual relations, most noticeable in the fact that clerics might marry, according to the new dispen- sation; obvious as well, though, in education, in reli- gious, social, and business life. Rabelais does not specifically write a paradoxical praise of women, but other humanists did, and throughout his book he ac- cords them, especially in his utopian section, a re- markable degree of freedom and responsibility. Lando's paradox on bastardy, thematically very close to Rabelais' on the codpiece, points toward a related social change, as patterns of inheritance altered under the impact of the new commercialism.

Paradoxes on marriage, cuckoldry, and bastardy all have to do with social matters and with social change: another related paradoxical topic was virginity. The young John Donne and Parolles in All's Well that Ends Well speak of that particularly valued and disvalued condition in almost the same ironical terms. Falstaff's discourse on honor in I Henry IV is a paradoxical redefinition of an aris- tocratic value long unquestioned but, after the decline of active feudalism, a topic for the anti-idealist para- doxists of the Renaissance.

Falstaff himself embodies a Renaissance social para- dox, le chevalier sans cheval, the knight unhorsed, or deprived of his feudal function, a figure who was also the subject of one of Erasmus' Colloquia.

Paradoxism after paradoxism

Falstaff has strong affinities with another figure for paradox, the literary Fool. From Socrates, who alleged that his only knowledge was the limitation of his own knowledge, via Saint Paul and the Pseudo-Dionysius to Nicholas of Cusa and Erasmus, docta ignorantia was attributed to the gifted fool.

Alcibiades' image from the Sympo- sium, of Socrates as an ugly Silenus-box containing the sweetest perfume, was explicated by Erasmus in the Adagia, exploited in the Moriae encomium, adapted by Rabelais in the Preface to Gargantua, and referred to by a host of other paradoxists as a visual emblem of the functions of the formal paradox, evidently ugly but with a sweet truth within. Whatever else the book is, it is a demonstration of its author's command of contemporary learning; like Folly's discourse and Montaigne's Apologie, Agrippa's book illustrated the paradoxical sine qua non of technical control which the paradox existed to reject.

For the paradoxist any- way, ignorantia had to be docta to count: for that reason, the literary paradox can claim its place in an encyclopedia of philosophy. The subject of negations was an old philo- sophical topic, for instance in the Sophist. The great extender of this tradition into the Renaissance was Nicholas of Cusa, important also for his comprehensive formulation of docta ignorantia; Giordano Bruno also specialized in marvellous negative formulations in metaphysics and ontology.

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And they offer an interesting case-history in paradoxy: utopian commonwealths often proved so persuasive that their paradoxical character gave way before their didactic function. Irony faded away as the paradox turned into a model. This utopian paradigm has its analogue in an ancient paradoxical encomium on Helen, who as the cause of civilization's ruin was manifestly an unworthy and a low thing, not worth praising.

Isocrates' oration seems to have been ironic, and recognized as such; subse- quently, audience reaction altered the paradoxical quality of orations on Helen, so that topoi used in ironic praise of the most beautiful woman in the world be- came the magniloquent response to female loveliness familiar to us from the lips of Marlowe's Faustus and Goethe's Faust.

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So with utopias: the ideals they codify were too precious for an ironic context and their para- doxicality was ultimately rejected. More's Utopia however classically demonstrates the form's remarkable balancing, merely by its manipu- lation of elements from utterly different philosophical programs; both its Epicureanism and its Stoicism have been fully documented. Folly is an even more aston- ishing manipulator of traditions—Epicureanism and Stoicism are certainly identifiable components of her oration, both for good and for bad; so are skepticism and Christian fideism, modulated with immense skill into one composition.

Compared with his fairly con- sistent Stoic stance in other essays, Montaigne's skepti- cal Apologie offers yet another manifestation of par- adoxy, as this longest of his essays makes its extraor- dinary plea for a suspiciously Christian Pyrrhonism.

A (more than) paradoxist work

The tightrope-walking paradoxist took as his task, quite literally, equivocation, as part of his loyalty to indeter- minacy and to inclusiveness. Religious poetry draws heavily on both the epigrammatic tendency to verbal paradox and the theological tendency to adapt. Even the oxymoron's contradictoriness returns us to the self-referential, self-cancelling quality inherent in paradoxical formulations; it is not surprising that sui- cide, or individual self-cancellation, self-annihilation, became a recurrent topic of paradox.

Certainly the Stoics, whose rigorous morality was expressed in axioms apparently paradoxical because they ran so counter to man's natural self-indulgence, advocated suicide as a preservation of individual integrity against intolerable pressure. By Stoic standards, it was paradoxical that Nero, who drove the Stoic Seneca to his suicide, should be the subject of paradoxical encomia—but just be- cause Nero was a proper subject for paradox, he natu- rally became so. Seneca, apparently, did not become a paradoxical topic, but suicide did: suicide, the arch- sin of Christianity, was defended by several paradoxists, none more complexly than John Donne in his Biathana- tos.

In received opinion, however, man was made by his parents' endeavors and inspirited by God; his death, too, normally came to him, and should always have come to him, by some outside instrumentality.