Claudio Magris

Curvaceous Enlightenment

Close to the so-called Vienna Gate, Bécsi Kapu, on the Várhegy, Castle Hill, is a statue which metaphorically commemorates Ferenc Kazinczy, a man of the Enlightenment. The female figure holds a lantern, symbol of the light of Reason; her form is slender, the curves of her body are light and soft. The Enlightenment in feminine guise softens the edge of rationality, seems to remove a little of its intellectual dryness, that progressive’s self-assertion, and to confer on it a supple and even amorous understanding—something that perhaps might save it from that dialectic of progress and violence which, according to the famous analysis by Adorno and Horkheimer, is forcing our civilization into a fatal spiral.

SOURCE: Magris, Claudio. Danube: A Sentimental Journey from the Source to the Black Sea, translated from the Italian by Patrick Creagh (London: The Harvill Press, 1997), pp. 269-270.

Claudio Magris on identity, origins, ghettoes, provincialism, Kafka

Theodor W. Adorno & Critical Theory Study Guide

The Enlightenment:
Bibliography of Intellectual Life in Society, Conventional & Unconventional

Futurology, Science Fiction, Utopia, and Alienation
in the Work of Imre Madách, György Lukács, and Other Hungarian Writers:
Select Bibliography

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