Fragments, spolia and economic texts

Repapis, Constantinos. 2022. Fragments, spolia and economic texts. In: Stratos Myrogiannis and Constantinos Repapis, eds. Economics and Art Theory. Abingdon: Routledge, pp. 128-150. ISBN 9780367615383 [Book Section]

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Abstract or Description

This paper attempts to form a connection across three disparate fields. First, it will argue that Schlegel had a consistent and modern view on the importance of the fragment in understanding contemporary reality. This view defines the romantic perspective and imbues the objects or text it glorifies with a meaning that is suggestive rather than definite. From these tentative remarks, the argument will move to the Arch of Constantine, built during (or before?) the 4th century AD, and will discuss both the use of spolia as fragments that display their association with their past, and as promises that these will become a basis for some new symbolism pregnant of an imagined future. From this application of Schlegel’s remarks on the history of viewing the arch, we will move to Keynes’ General Theory, in order to see how a text, like an architectural object, can display references as spolia of a past and of a future at the same time. Through its explicitly disjoined message, the GT steeps the reader in the context that these references bring with them, and the reader takes as given in order to construct an understanding of the text. This process, by refocusing the attention from the fragmentary text and its incomplete meaning back to the reader and the interpretive tools they bring with them or/and “discover” in an implied form in the text, allows the reader to imagine new spaces of meaning and build potential future understandings.

Item Type:

Book Section

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"This is an Accepted Manuscript of a book chapter published by Routledge in Economics and Art Theory on 4 August 2022, available online:”

Departments, Centres and Research Units:

Institute of Management Studies


1 April 2022Accepted
4 August 2022Published

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Date Deposited:

23 May 2022 09:15

Last Modified:

22 Aug 2022 15:21


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