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Readings in Interpretation

Readings in Interpretation: Holderlin, Hegel, Heidegger

Andrzej Warminski
Introduction by Rodolphe Gasché
Volume: 26
Copyright Date: 1987
Edition: NED - New edition
Pages: 288
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  • Book Info
    Readings in Interpretation
    Book Description:

    Institutes a rethinking of history, theory, philosophy, literature and the way they relate to one another in critical reading. "Meticulous and challenging . . . well worth reading." --Southern Humanities Review

    eISBN: 978-0-8166-8194-5
    Subjects: Language & Literature

Table of Contents

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  1. Front Matter
    (pp. i-iv)
  2. Table of Contents
    (pp. v-vi)
  3. Acknowledgments
    (pp. vii-viii)
  4. Reading Chiasms: An Introduction
    (pp. ix-xxvi)
    Rodolphe Gasché

    Coming to a text (or, for that matter, a collection of texts), the reader-critic normally expects that its constellation yields to the unity of a configuration of thought. Yet, if a work deliberately situates itself between figures, themes, or motifs that could, and normally would, authoritatively confer unity, what, then, is its status? Indeed, what sort of unity does an in-between establish, in particular if the work does not occupy the precise middle of that interspace? If, on the contrary, it is at once in-between and to the side? If the figures of thought at the crisscross of which the...

  5. Prefatory Postscript: Interpretation and Reading
    (pp. xxvii-lxii)

    This is a book of readings. As such, it necessarily offers particular resistance to the exigencies of an introduction or a preface, no matter how perfunctory (or elaborate) we would pretend to make it, and the questions of subject—what is it about?—and method—how does it do what it does? how does it treat its subject matter—proper to it. For the book’s most direct answer to these questions would have to be: both the subject and the method are “reading,” and yet “reading” can be neither subject nor method. But such redundancy—reading reading—and such a...


    • Chapter 1 Endpapers: Hölderlin′s Textual History
      (pp. 3-22)

      For Martin Heidegger, Hölderlin was the poet’s poet, “the poet of the poet” (der Dichter des Dichters),¹ and for most interpreters the problem of “Hölderlin—his life and his work—still comes down to the question of self-consciousness, reflection, and returning. The usual answer to the question of Hölderlin’s self-consciousness is what could be called a “narrativization” of a reflexive structure: that is, the explanation of his work (in particular the late hymns and translations) as a story (or a history) told in terms of a turning or returning—toward or away from Greece, toward or away from Hesperia—in...

    • Chapter 2 Hölderlin in France
      (pp. 23-44)

      InThe Tyranny of Greece over Germany, E. M. Butler’s chapter on Hölderlin begins, appropriately enough, with a long story of Hölderlin in France:

      At the very beginning of the nineteenth century a girl of fourteen or so, who was later to become madame de S——y, was living very happily with her father in their castle near Blois. It was surrounded by a magnificent park in which was a great marble water-basin enclosed by a high balustrade. On this balustrade were ranged twenty-four statues of the greater and lesser Greek gods. One day the girl and her father, looking...

    • Chapter 3 Heidegger Reading Hölderlin
      (pp. 45-71)

      If Hölderlin’s textual history disarticulates the (Hegelian) dialectical interpretation and the negative proper to it, it also disarticulates Heidegger’s (fundamental ontological) “hermeneutic” interpretation and the negative proper to it. This conclusion is by no means self-evident. As we have suggested in the preceding two chapters, the Hegelian interpretation of Hölderlin depends upon a certain (“Greek”) aesthetification—turning poetry into art—indeed, an entire “aesthetic ideology”² (i.e., an interpretation of art as that which makes it possible for the mind or spirit to know itself, to represent itself [its self-knowledge] in phenomenal appearance, and thus as that which makes possible an...

    • Chapter 4 ″Patmos″: The Senses of Interpretation
      (pp. 72-92)

      Hölderlin’s “Patmos” lends itself readily to being treated as a religious document or a profession of faith. Interpreters of the poem have been particularly resourceful in tracing its many Biblical themes and allusions.³ P. H. Gaskill sees “Patmos” as Hölderlin’s closest approximation of the spirit of pietism.⁴ But the determined effort to discover Christian doctrine in or behind the words of the poem has facilitated the covering of the poem’s inconsistencies under the convenient labels of “mystery” and “paradox.” Whether secular or religious, the interpreter is repeatedly forced into formulations like: “A secret. . .to grasp the God in the...


    • Chapter 5 Pre-positional By-play
      (pp. 95-111)

      The question of the meaning of meaning provides an exemplary beginning, for, according to thePhilosophy of Religion, it is a question of beginnings. To ask what this or that means—“was bedeutet dies oder jenes” (XVI:32)¹—is to ask for two different, indeed opposed, meanings:which onedepends upon the question’s point of departure. If “we” begin with theVorstellung(representation) of an “expression, work of art, etc.,” we are asking for the inner, the universal, the thought (Gedanke). If we begin with the thought, we are asking for the outer, the particular, theVorstellung, an example of the...

    • Chapter 6 Parentheses: Hegel by Heidegger
      (pp. 112-162)

      —from the beginning and in the end, the question of the text—its writing and its reading, its beginnings and its ends—is difficult to avoid. “‘Science of theExperienceof Consciousness’ is [or, better, “sounds” or “resounds” (lautet)] the title that Hegel, at the publication of thePhenomenology of Spiritin the year 1807, puts at the beginning (voranstellt) of the work” (H, 105)² If the title placed at the beginning of the “work” (Werk) is indeed the title of the work, what is the “Phenomenology of Spirit”? If the “Phenomenology of Spirit” is the “work,” what does Hegel...

    • Chapter 7 Reading for Example: ″Sense-certainty″ in Hegel′s Phenomenology of Spirit
      (pp. 163-180)

      “Sense-certainty; or the ‘this’ and ‘meaning’ (Die sinnliche Gewissheit; oder das Diese und das Meinen)," the first part of the first chapter of Hegel’sPhenomenology, has exemplary status in the book and in commentaries on the book. Not only is it the first example of the dialectical movement at work in a particular content—that is, the first figure of apparent knowing—and as such can be taken as a model for the figures to follow, but, as the beginning, it is in Hegelian terms necessarily also the (as yet unreflected) end. That is, just as on the first page...

  8. Epilogue: Dreadful Reading: Blanchot on Hegel
    (pp. 183-192)

    No rereading of Blanchot in the 1980s can take place without coming up against what a fragment from “Fragmentaire” calls “the dread of reading” (l’angoisse de lire): “The dread of reading: it is that every text, no matter how important and how interesting it may be (and the more it gives the impression of being so), is empty—it does not exist at bottom (il n’existe pas dans le fond); it is necessary to clear an abyss, and if you don’t jump, you don’t understand.”¹ If in order to understand (reading and the dread proper to it) we have to...

  9. Notes
    (pp. 195-222)
  10. Index
    (pp. 223-225)
  11. Back Matter
    (pp. 226-226)