Ideology, Rhetoric, Aesthetics: For De Man

Ideology, Rhetoric, Aesthetics: For De Man

Ideology, Rhetoric, Aesthetics: For De Man

Ideology, Rhetoric, Aesthetics: For De Man

Synopsis

Readings of de Man's critique of aesthetic ideology and the strange 'materiality' that emerges from it. 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 Holderlin-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.

Excerpt

Since its inception Theory has been concerned with its own limits, ends and after-life. It would be an illusion to imagine that the academy is no longer resistant to Theory but a significant consensus has been established and it can be said that Theory has now entered the mainstream of the humanities. Reaction against Theory is now a minority view and new generations of scholars have grown up with Theory. This leaves so-called Theory in an interesting position which its own procedures of auto-critique need to consider: what is the nature of this mainstream Theory and what is the relation of Theory to philosophy and the other disciplines which inform it? What is the history of its construction and what processes of amnesia and the repression of difference have taken place to establish this thing called Theory? Is Theory still the site of a more-than-critical affirmation of a negotiation with thought, which thinks thought’s own limits?

‘Theory’ is a name that traps by an aberrant nominal effect the transformative critique which seeks to reinscribe the conditions of thought in an inaugural founding gesture that is without ground or precedent: as a ‘name’, a word and a concept, Theory arrests or misprisions such thinking. To imagine the frontiers of Theory is not to dismiss or to abandon Theory (on the contrary one must always insist on the it-is-necessary of Theory even if one has given up belief in theories of all kinds). Rather, this series is concerned with the presentation of work which challenges complacency and continues the transformative work of critical thinking. It seeks to offer the very best of contemporary theoretical practice in the humanities, work which continues to push ever further the frontiers of what is accepted, including the name of Theory. in particular, it is interested in that work which involves the necessary endeavour of crossing disciplinary frontiers without dissolving the specificity of disciplines. Published by Edinburgh University Press, in the city of Enlightenment, this series promotes a certain closeness to that spirit: the continued . . .

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