‘Pour cet état si particulier’: Disinterest and the Impersonal Resonance of Aesthetic Experience


Beginning with a consideration of the positive, affective dimension of disinterest, this article uses a passage of Proust’s Recherche to argue for a fundamental connection between weather and the aesthetic. By employing Gilles Deleuze’s transcendental empiricism, Gernot Böhme’s discussion of a “new aesthetics” that can account for atmosphere, and Hannah Freed-Thall’s recent Spoiled Distinctions, this article examines the interconnection of habit, disinterest, and chance in the context of aesthetic experience. In doing so, a response to the tradition of Western aesthetics emerges, a response that indicates a further movement away from the object and toward impersonal, non-subjective (but also non-objective) aesthetic experience, as underscored by the theme of weather and its relationship with sound in Proust’s text — both the sound from outdoors and the “new sound” that arises within the narrator.

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