The Post-Romantic Predicament

The Post-Romantic Predicament

Paul de Man
Edited by Martin McQuillan
Copyright Date: 2012
Pages: 248
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  • Book Info
    The Post-Romantic Predicament
    Book Description:

    A collection of critical texts from Paul de Man's Harvard University years, published for the first timeThese essays, brought together from the Paul de Man papers at the University of California (Irvine), make a significant contribution to the cultural history of deconstruction and the present state of literary theory. From 1955 to 1961, Paul de Man was Junior Fellow at Harvard University where he wrote a doctoral thesis entitled 'The Post-Romantic Predicament: a study in the poetry of Mallarmé and Yeats'. This dissertation is presented alongside his other texts from this period, including essays on Hölderlin, Keats and Stefan George. This collection reflects familiar concerns for de Man: the figurative dimension of language, the borders between philosophy and literature, the ideological obfuscations of Romanticism, and the difficulties of the North American heritage of New Criticism.Key FeaturesThe first collection of texts by Paul de Man published since the posthumous Aesthetic Ideology (1997)The missing link in the published de Man corpusShowcases important contributions to the analysis of Romantic and Post-Romantic poetry that engaged de Man for most of his life

    eISBN: 978-0-7486-5623-3
    Subjects: Language & Literature, Philosophy

Table of Contents

  1. Front Matter
    (pp. i-iv)
  2. Table of Contents
    (pp. v-v)
  3. Series Editor’s Preface
    (pp. vi-vii)
    Martin McQuillan
  4. Acknowledgements
    (pp. viii-viii)
    Martin McQuillan
  5. Editor’s Note on The Post-Romantic Predicament
    (pp. ix-x)
    Martin McQuillan
  6. ‘No Country For Old Men’: Paul de Man and the Post-Romantic Predicament
    (pp. 1-30)
    Martin McQuillan

    The essays collected in this book were written by Paul de Man during the period 1952–1959 when he was a Junior Fellow at Harvard University and writing a PhD entitled ‘The Post-Romantic Predicament: A Study in the Poetry of Mallarmé and Yeats’. This book is not de Man’s thesis, a sizeable part of which has already been published as ‘Image and Emblem in Yeats’s in The Rhetoric of Romanticism.² The present collection contains parts of his submitted thesis as well as preparatory doctoral work and abandoned sections of the thesis on the German poet Stefan George – all drawn from...

  7. Paul de Man:: Essays

    • Chapter 1 Introduction to ‘The Post-Romantic Predicament’ (1960)
      (pp. 33-35)

      The title and the subject matter of this study are perhaps in need of some explanation. Why should an essay, devoted primarily to the exegesis of a group of difficult texts, be given a title (‘The Post-Romantic Predicament’) that carries historical overtones? And why should the ‘predicament’ to which the title alludes be best described by the poets that have been selected?

      The answer to the first question is bound to be tentative. Although this essay is written as an analysis of poets who already belong to the past, my concern throughout has been with the inherent difficulty that challenges...

    • Chapter 2 Mallarmé (1960)
      (pp. 36-123)

      Mallarmé is the poet of his own development rather than a matter of individual poems. Although he justified his entire enterprise in the name of the ultimate Work, ‘le Livre . . . l’explication orphique de la Terre’,¹ he left little behind that resembles the usual conception of what a literary work ought to be. His own candid self-evaluation, in a public letter otherwise totally devoid of false modesty, has to be taken at face-value; speaking of his published poems, he writes to Verlaine: ‘All this had no other momentary value for me than to keep me in shape (‘m’entretenir...

    • Chapter 3 Drama and History in Yeats (1960)
      (pp. 124-165)

      The stylistic as well as the thematic development of Yeats’s work is determined by the tension between image and emblem. It remains to be shown that other dimensions of style and theme do not run counter to the pattern that emerges as a result of this conflict. Leaving aside the problems of prosody and sound,¹ the increasingly dramatic structure of the later poems as compared to the earlier demands comment and interpretation – all the more since the increased drama seems to coincide with the introduction of themes related to history. Is this growth in dramatic intensity and in historical content...

    • Chapter 4 Mallarmé, George and Yeats (c.1959)
      (pp. 166-181)

      The organisation of this essay indicates that it is not a comparative study, in the historical sense of the term. No particular emphasis on comparative data, used as sources or means of exegesis, appears in the general description of Mallarmé’s, George’s and Yeats’s work which constitutes the first part. Mallarmé is a common denominator for George and Yeats, but not much is to be gained by focusing the study of their poetry on its relationship or indebtedness to French symbolism.¹ If this were our aim, it would be a definite mistake to limit ourselves to Mallarmé, who in so many...

    • Chapter 5 Stefan George and Stéphane Mallarmé (1952)
      (pp. 182-195)

      Coming after the accurate, but well nigh conventional description of the Villiers and Verlaine, the definition of Mallarmé in terms of suffering seems almost far-fetched. Villiers is imperial, no doubt, Verlaine naïve and devout, but Mallarmé is far from being an obvious sufferer. A serene and tranquil man, living in the solitary light of his clearly burning spirit – who could be more removed from a bleeding martyr? But George insists. In his translation of ‘Brise marine’ he has, for the Baudelairian term ‘Ennui’, found the daring and profound equivalence: ‘ein Leid’. For as deliberate a chooser of words as George,...

    • Chapter 6 Stefan George and Friedrich Hölderlin (1954)
      (pp. 196-214)

      The relationship between Stefan George and Hölderlin leads, in fact, into three different problems. It is, first of all, a matter of factual literary history: one must consider the contribution of George and of the George Kreis to the discovery and re-evaluation of Hölderlin’s later work. In the second place, it is a problem of sources and influence in the exegesis of George’s own poetry. And finally, there are enough apparent analogies between Hölderlin’s and George’s poetic themes to warrant a deeper parallel. In spite of a superficial resemblance in their poetic themes, both poets are extremely different in texture....

  8. Appendix: Dissertation Fragment on Stefan George (c.1955)
    (pp. 215-226)
  9. De Man’s Bibliography to Chapter 2
    (pp. 227-230)
  10. Index
    (pp. 231-238)