© Columbia University Press
Cloth, 256 pages, 3
Edinburgh University Press
Robert Rowland Smith compares Freud's work on the death-drive to other philosophies of death, particularly those of Pascal, Heidegger, and Derrida, and applies it to Shakespeare, Mark Rothko, and Katharina Fritsch. Smith asks whether artistic creativity is actually a form of destruction and whether the seduction of fine words places us at risk of death.
He proposes a new theory of aesthetics in which artwork and literary text have a death-drive of their own, the effects of which translate into imaginary, rhetorical, and "artistic" worlds. Smith also provides a valuable introduction to the rich scholarship on the death-drive since the time of Freud.