Thursday, April 28, 2016

Weekly Report 7

Etel Adnan is a Lebanese-American poet and artist who appeals particularly to my interest in philosophy as she may also be labeled a philosopher. She received her degree in philosophy from Paris' renowned Sorbonne and later, after coming to the United States, she completed her post-graduate studies in philosophy at Harvard. This was prior to having taught philosophy at several universities over the coarse of many years. She was born in Beirut to a Greek mother who identified as a Christian and a Syrian father who identified as a Muslim and thus, she spoke both Greek and Turkish due to the influence of her parents. However, due to her living in an Arabic-speaking society, she naturally learned Arabic as well. Interestingly, while she would later study in France as earlier mentioned, she was educated at French convent schools in her youth, where she also came to know French. It would later be in French that she would write her first major works. Having mastered Greek, Turkish, Arabic, French and English (due to her eventual move to the United States), one would imagine that her command of language is exquisit. There is proof of this as her work has been heavily awarded the world over. While her cultural experience was an excellent background for both philosophical work and poetry (for which she would come to be known), she felt caught amid the confusion of all of the languages that regularly ran through her mind and thus, she felt that the best way of expression early in in her life, was through painting. Perhaps she felt that she could visually capture the cross of cultures present in her life. Here is an example of one such painting by Etel Adnan:

Being that Adnan received a French education, one can see certain parallels between much of her work and the French Cubist painting that was likely present and popular during the time of her education in France. Perhaps her use of color and shape in the above paining, combined with the somewhat chaotic look of the way the shapes collide is a representation of the clash of cultures? This is an expression of both how artistic and equally, philosophical this poet is. She is currently 91 years old and live in both California and France, depending on the time. It is fascinating that she, being a woman, has such prominence in three fields which have been dominated throughout history by men: Art, Poetry, and Philosophy. 


Lecture by Dr. Vera Jakoby. What is Text?. Writing in the Discipline. Spring 2016

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