By Paul de Man, Lindsay Waters
This quantity brings jointly 25 essays and reports through Paul De guy, Sterling Professor of Literature,Yale collage
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Additional info for Critical writings, 1953-1978
It was they who even during the war were working out the consequences of the Heideggerian version of Hegel for the writing and reading of literature. What they developed was first of all a thematic of separation, death, and temporality that might well have seemed to some to be inflected with pathos (as even de Man recognized in AR). It is a thematic one can see at work in Blanchot's The Gaze of Orpheus and The Space of Literature as well as in de Man's essays up to Blindness and Insight. It permeates the part of his dissertation that is devoted to connecting Mallarme and Hegel.
Poetic language can do nothing but originate anew over and over again; it is always constitutive, able to posit regardless of presence but, by the same token, unable to give a foundation to what it posits except as an intent of consciousness. The word is always a free presence to the mind, the means by which the permanence of natural entities can be put into question and thus negated, time and again, in the endlessly widening spiral of the dialectic. (RR, p. 6) As for the objective correlative and its perfect fusion of word and object, de Man says: Poetics of "unmediated vision," such as those implicit in Bergson and explicit in Bachlard, fuse matter and imagination by amalgamating perception and reverie, sacrificing, in fact, the demands of consciousness to the realities of the object.
On the contrary, it takes us beyond the self as usually understood, and to a fragmentation of experience that calls our ordinary notions of identity into question. To help understand why this might be so it is crucial to understand more about the context in which de Man's mind matured in the 1940s. The intellectuals of the 1930s in France had attacked subjectivity, interiority. In his 1931 preface to the French translation of A Farewell to Arms, Drieu La Rochelle had celebrated the barbarian vitality of Hemingway as a welcome antidote to French decadence.