By Paul de Man, Lindsay Waters
This quantity brings jointly 25 essays and reports by way of Paul De guy, Sterling Professor of Literature,Yale collage
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Extra info for Critical writings, 1953-1978
As long as form and matter are neatly distinguishable, and form and meaning are privileged over language, the task of poetry will seem to be making language subordinate and having work and object coincide. " The goal of art is not to harmonize our experiences of the world in some "insipid agreement," to resolve the so-called tensions, but rather to let strife remain strife. Heidegger argues that the work of art can set forth this strife, thereby winning its purchase on truth. What de Man took from Heidegger on art is a principle of negation or incommensurability that would stipulate that in art idea and medium can never so perfectly cohere that the medium can drop out of the picture rendering transparent the idea, but the principle of negation is at the same time an affirmation, an affirmation of the crucial import of the medium itself.
Jean Wahl's Le Malheur de la conscience dans la philosophic de Hegel had appeared in 1929 and his lectures, along with Kojeve's, led many readers to Hegel. ) The major treatise on Hegel at this time was Jean Hyppolite's Genese et structure de la Phenomenologie de I'esprit de Hegel, which appeared in 1946 and marked a great advance in Hegel scholarship in French. Hyppolite noted in 1946 that "most contemporary thinkers . . criticize Hegel's system as a system. "54 De Man in the lines I have just quoted is following here not just Kojeve, Heidegger, and Wahl but also that diverse set of literary figures that includes Georges Bataille, Maurice Blanchot, Pierre Klossowski, and others.
All is subject to reflection for an attentive spirit who refuses to admit without verifying it himself any of the formulas already made that language puts at one's disposal. This continual necessity to reverify, to place in doubt, to find grounds for reservation, is a characteristic of all thought that is rigorous. And this characteristic is everywhere manifest in Valery in his extreme care for exactitude and his constant preoccupation (evident in his written word and his eloquent speech) to make precise and circumscribe the sense of the words he uses.