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Ideology, Rhetoric, Aesthetics

Ideology, Rhetoric, Aesthetics: For De Man

Andrzej Warminski
Copyright Date: 2013
Pages: 240
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  • Book Info
    Ideology, Rhetoric, Aesthetics
    Book Description:

    This volume explicates Paul de Man’s late project of a critique of aesthetic ideology and attempts to extend it in ways productive for critical thought. After a reading of de Man’s work in all its rigour - and hence also the aesthetic theory of Kant, Schiller, and Hegel- the book goes on to uncover a ‘material moment’ in Hegel’s Phenomenology of Spirit that lives on in Marx and in the Marxist tradition. The book also elucidates de Man’s critical reading of Heidegger on the example of Hölderlin—a moment essential for de Man’s shifts to the question of rhetoric and then to the question of ideology—and ends with a reading of Derrida’s ‘last’ text on de Man and its uncanny self-inscription in Rousseau’s episode of the stolen ribbon. Key Features: Rigorous explications of Paul de Man’s late work on aesthetic ideology and the political New readings of Kant, Schiller, and Hegel that extend de Man’s project Demonstrates how a certain already ‘Marxian’ self-undoing of Hegelian dialectics leaves traces in Kojève and in Marxists like Lukács and Jameson Presents accounts of disagreements and altercations between de Man and Heidegger and de Man and Derrida

    eISBN: 978-0-7486-8127-3
    Subjects: Language & Literature

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. Author’s Preface
    (pp. viii-xi)
  5. Acknowledgements
    (pp. xii-xiii)
  6. List of Abbreviations
    (pp. xiv-xiv)
  7. PART I Aesthetic Ideology

    • Chapter 1 Allegories of Reference: An Introduction to Aesthetic Ideology
      (pp. 3-37)

      The texts collected inAesthetic Ideologywere written, or delivered as lectures on the basis of notes, during the last years of de Man’s life, between 1977 and 1983. With the possible² exception of the earliest text – “The Concept of Irony” (1977) – all of these essays and lectures were produced in the context of a project that we might call for short-hand purposes a critique or, better, a “critical-linguistic analysis” of “aesthetic ideology.”³ This project is clearly the animating force ofallthe essays de Man produced in the early 1980s – and not just those explicitly concentrating...

    • Chapter 2 ʺAs the Poets Do Itʺ: On the Material Sublime
      (pp. 38-64)

      The entrance of “the poets” onto the scene of Kant’s attempt to ground aesthetic reflexive judgments of the sublime as a transcendental principle – in his phrase “as the poets do it” (wie die Dichter es tun) – could hardly be more peculiar and more enigmatic.¹ Paul de Man’s reading of this moment in the Third Critique is no less enigmatic and, if anything, even more peculiar, not least of all because the vision of the ocean “as the poets do it” – “merely by what appears to the eye” (bloßnach dem, was der Augenschein– “merely according...

    • Chapter 3 Returns of the Sublime: Positing and Performative in Kant, Fichte, and Schiller
      (pp. 65-78)

      There is more than a little irony in an afterthought Fichte appends to his account and examples of what he calls thetic judgments. After having explained why “I am” constitutes “the first and foremost judgment of this type” and how all judgments subsumed under it, “i.e., under the absolute positing of the self,” are also of this type – “for example, man is free” – Fichte adds, after a dash: “The judgment of taste, A is beautiful (so far as A contains a feature [Merkmal] also present in the ideal of beauty), is likewise a thetic judgment; for I cannot...

    • Chapter 4 Lightstruck: ʺHegel on the Sublimeʺ
      (pp. 79-96)

      On the final examination of my undergraduate literary theory course I sometimes include a short ID for extra credit: “/i/ or /u/.” It’s from a moment in Roman Jakobson’s “Linguistics and Poetics” when he claims that “Sound symbolism is an undeniably objective relation founded on a phenomenal connection between the visual and auditory experience.” If results of research in this area have been vague or controversial, says Jakobson, “it is primarily due to an insufficient care for the methods of psychological and/or linguistic inquiry.” According to Jakobson, a proper attention to the phonological aspect of speech sounds – in particular...

  8. PART II Hegel/Marx

    • Chapter 5 Hegel/Marx: Consciousness and Life
      (pp. 99-126)

      To begin reading the Hegel/Marx relationship, we may as well start with their differing versions of the relation between consciousness and life: “It’s not consciousness that determines life,” writes Marx in a well-known sentence ofThe German Ideology, “but rather life determines consciousness” (Nicht das Bewußtsein bestimmt das Leben, sondern das Leben bestimmt das Bewußtsein).² If the sentence is well known, it is no doubt because both in its content and in its form the sentence expresses what we all know about Marx’s relation to Hegel and the Hegelian philosophy: that is, an apparently straightforward substitution of “life,” “real life,”...

    • Chapter 6 Man and Self-Consciousness: Kojève, Romantic Ironist
      (pp. 127-136)

      The “anthropologization” of Hegel’sPhenomenology of Spiritin twentieth-century French thought is well known; equally well known are its apparent mistakes and misunderstandings. Perhaps none of the French readings of thePhenomenologymanages to be quite as immediately anthropologizing and (therefore) quite as apparently mistaken as that of Kojève – both in his celebrated courses on thePhenomenologyin the 1930s and in the book (Introduction à la lecture de Hegel) that comes out of these courses. And yet, by the same token, there is no denying the obvious power of Kojève’s reading and its widespread influence on several generations...

    • Chapter 7 Next Steps: Lukács, Jameson, Post-Dialectics
      (pp. 137-156)

      At the outset of “Hegel on the Sublime,” Paul de Man offers Lukács – in a list that also includes Benjamin, Althusser, and Adorno – as an example of an authenticallycriticalaesthetic thinker who can make “the most incisive contributions to political thought and political action” preciselybecause of, and not in spite of, his concentration on aesthetic questions and literary texts. Such a characterization certainly makes sense, at least once we get past the platitudes of aestheticism and remember what intellectual history, “let alone actual philosophy,” will tell us: namely, that the category of the aesthetic is a...

  9. PART III Heidegger/Derrida

    • Chapter 8 Monstrous History: Heidegger Reading Hölderlin
      (pp. 159-172)

      Heidegger’s lectures on Hölderlin’s late hymns – his third and last lecture course on Hölderlin, given in the summer of 1942 and published in 1984 as volume 53 of theGesamtausgabe– follow a path from and back to a commentary on Hölderlin’s “Der Ister” by way of a long excursus on the Greek determination of man’s essence in Sophocles’sAntigone. This excursus to Greece – and hence Heidegger’s entire interpretation of Hölderlin – turns, as always, on a translation from the Greek. Here it is the well-known second choral ode ofAntigone, in particular one word in its opening,...

    • Chapter 9 Discontinuous Shifts: History Reading History
      (pp. 173-184)

      Surely one of the most valuable “Legacies of Paul de Man” is the genuinely critical conception of history he draws out of the texts of the romantics. As is well known, romantic literature was, for de Man, a privileged locus for asking the question of history (in particular, the question ofourhistory). Indeed, one could say that de Man’s thinking of history – in fact, what he in his last essays calls “material history” or “the materiality of actual history” (and what no doubt constitutes one of the most valuable and enduring legacies he has bequeathed to us) –...

    • Chapter 10 Machinal Effects: Derrida With and Without de Man
      (pp. 185-202)

      Toward the end of “Acts” – the third and what would have been the last lecture and the last chapter of Derrida’sMémoires, for Paul de Manif it had not been for the necessity of adding “Like the Sound of the Sea Deep Within a Shell: Paul de Man’s War” in a revised edition of 1988 – Derrida quotes passages from two letters de Man wrote to him in 1970 and 1971 before and after the publication inPoétique(1970) of de Man’s “The Rhetoric of Blindness: Derrida as Reader of Rousseau.”¹ De Man’s first letter is itself a...

  10. Appendix 1: A Question of an Other Order: Deflections of the Straight Man
    (pp. 203-214)
  11. Appendix 2: Response to Frances Ferguson
    (pp. 215-219)
  12. Index
    (pp. 220-226)