Lezing: Longing for expression: Fundaments for a poetic reason – Karolina Enquist Källgren

Samen met galerie A Tale of A Tub organiseren wij de lezing “Longing for expression: Fundaments for a poetic reason” door Dr. Karolina Enquist Källgren over de esthetica, metafysica en levensfilosofie van de Spaanse Maria Zambrano.

3 november, 20u-22u, justus van effenstraat 44, Rotterdam

Longing for expression: Fundaments for a poetic reason
Life needs to express itself, writes the Spanish philosopher María Zambrano (1904-1991). Life in general, and the human being in particular, is characterized by firstly, the potential to express itself, secondly, the lack of a fixed self the cause by which expression becomes a necessity, and thirdly, an identity understood as form rather than nature or essence. According to Zambrano, the human being is a tragic being, at loss of essence, but with the potential and will to expression. Because of this tragic disposition, artistic expression turns into a world-making activity of the first order, producing figures, forms, architectonics, appearances, all of which can be synthesized as knowledge. The fundamental human need and longing for expression lies at the basis of what Zambrano understands as a poetic reason, different from scientific knowledge and philosophy.

Beginning in different notions of expression in Zambrano’s works – such as word, sign, rhythm and complaint – and with the help of a set of drawings found in Zambrano’s manuscripts, Karolina will elaborate on the idea that artistic and poetic practices can be understood as producing a specific form of knowledge. By developing on the notion of poetic reason, she will discuss a creative and expressive process of poetic knowledge production that is indicative rather than defining, representational rather than objectifying, and relational rather than essentializing. This process is fundamentally world-making, in a qualified sense, where world is always only fragment and perspective.


Karolina Enquist Källgren defended her doctoral thesis – Subjectivity from exile, place and sign in the works of María Zambrano – in History of Ideas and Theory of Science, in 2015. She has published several articles on the works of María Zambrano, and is currently engaged in publishing the author’s collected works. She works at the University of Gothenburg in Sweden, as Assistant professor of History of Ideas and Director of studies of the Centre for European Studies. Her research concerns issues such as poetry as a form of knowledge, as well as the imagery of exile and migration. She is editor of the Swedish journal of history of ideas, Lychnos, and contributes regularly in cultural journals in Sweden. Her first theater play ‘Drömtydning’ (Interpretation of dreams) premiered in Gothenburg in 2009. Her book on Zambrano and the notion of ‘expressive subjectivity’ will be published in 2019 with Palgrave McMillan.