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Reviews127 the holy" (p. 141). For "the world, luce Heraclitus' world-fire, now has many meanings, and die context in which it appears is as wide as diinking can make it" (p. 142). Another way to put it is uiat the world no longer belongs to Dasein; radier, Dasein finds that he is part of the world. The "turn" to poetic thinking is part of a more general turn in Heidegger toward an open, celebrative way of being in the world. Halliburton suggests tentatively that Heidegger in his essay on the jug may be "building up a case for a new or revived religious spirit" (p. 174). Parallel to die contrast from darker to lighter mood, from anxiety to openness, there is also, Halliburton notes, a change to images of water and waves radier dian a house of being, suggesting a movement toward simplicity and harmony (p. 197), a "festive unity of die four" (p. 176), a world where mortals also think of the immortals and where "everything hinges on thinking the play of die world" (p. 213). Halliburton is to be commended for an interesting, clear, and well-grounded account of the development of "poetic thinking" in the later Heidegger. MacMurray CollegeRichard E. Palmer Autobiography: Towards a Poetics ofExperience, by Janet Varner Gunn; ? & 154 pp. Philadelphia: University of Pennsylvania Press, 1982, $16.50. As Professor Gunn observes, the "classical" theory of autobiography assumes uiat the "true self lies hidden beneath a misleading surface; uiat the individual alone has full access to the depuis where it resides; diat it is atemporal and unchanging; and diat its "fall" into the temporality of language is an unfortunate if unavoidable accident. Most fundamentally, perhaps, by locating the "true self with respect to distinctions between reality and appearance, depui and surface, subject and object, it "unsituates" the self and isolates it from the world. Although this conception of die self has come under increasingly heavy fire from various quarters, most efforts to assess die impact of its demise on the theory of autobiography have been limited to announcing the end of autobiography. Gunn's book is a brave if not wholly convincing effort to provide an alternative view of autobiography based on the conviction that the true self is the public or "displayed" self, and diat it exists only in time and in language. For her, autobiography is an activity that articulates the dialectic between depui and surface and situates die self in relation to its world. Gunn's starting point is not an isolated subject who seeks to express in writing an interiority immediately available to him, but a reader who seeks to make sense of a text. The autobiographer reads his life, and this reading can take place only in the context of a whole culture, including die readings others make of his text. Gunn derives her conception of the "autobiographical situation" in which this reading occurs mosdy from Gadamer's philosophical hermeneutics (which has also left its mark on her sometimes excessively abstract style), supplemented by Frank Kermode's analysis of how narrative responds to our need to organize (temporal) experience into comprehensible wholes. In her view, die 128Philosophy and Literature reading/writing of autobiography is a hermeneutical, not an epistemological enterprise. Indeed, she concludes, "Autobiography can be said to model die interpretive activity that makes understanding possible and diat marks our common humanity" (p. 119). Some may object uiat such a formulation, feir from providing a distinctive uieory of autobiography, simply identifies it with the process of understanding in general and offers no criteria for distinguishing it from odier hermeneutical acts or literary genres. Gunn's claim, however, is not just uiat autobiography is an interpretive act among others, but diat it "models" such acts in the sense diat it provides a paradigm case of interpretation as well as "enacts" it. Autobiography could uius be said to be distinguished from other interpretive acts by its self-reflexive dramatization — or, as Paul de Man might put it, its allegory — of reading. While Gunn acknowledges that autobiography sometimes stresses die failures of selfunderstanding rather than its successes, in all the texts she examines (Thoreau's Waiden, Wordsworth's "Tintern Abbey," Proust's A...

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Additional Information

ISSN
1086-329X
Print ISSN
0190-0013
Pages
pp. 127-128
Launched on MUSE
2011-10-05
Open Access
No
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