In lieu of an abstract, here is a brief excerpt of the content:

Reviews265 this fable. In such a model the parasite does not relate to the individual objects but to the relationship between the objects: "someone has a relationship to someone or something else. A third arrives who has no relationship to the people or the things but only relates to their relation" (p. 109). Thus static or noise, orut( parasite in French, interrupts die relationship in sound or electronic messages yet the static has no significance for the individual parties to a communication, only to the communicative relationship. To characterize any philosophical reflection in a few sentences is unsatisfactory; in the case of Serres it is laughable because Serres builds his whole work out of complex verbal play, much of which would be lost in any translation, and with a deliberately non-linear movement, circling around various problems again and again but with different examples . Since most of these textual illustrations are literary (seventeen texts from La Fontaine, two from Rousseau, a passage from the Odyssey, etc.) he casts a new light on the structure of these stories — and he does treat them as stories by concentrating on the relations of characters, for the most part — in a way that should give a welcome shock particularly to readers of French neo-classical literature. Serres is not easy reading, yet he is anything but dull. It is hard not to rethink familiar texts after a brief plunge into Serres. The translation by Lawrence Schehr is generally competent and gets across die main ideas. Strangely, the translator has solved some really difficult problems, translations ofpuns and of the word families by which Serres proceeds, but has fallen into simple traps of idiomatic French. The English reader should be warned, for example, that the country rat is not "Broken himself by the interruptions . . ." (p. 14). It is instead "Because he is not accustomed to these interruptions ." In another case, "I never thought that my peers and I were angels, but we were not stupid enough ever to stop making war, ever to obtain a few moments of peace" (p. 139), should be the opposite, "we are not stupid enough never to stop war, never to arrange moments of peace." Yet despite errors of translation and typesetting, the reader will get a reasonably good idea of Serres's thought. This is an important contribution to the philosophical use of literary texts. Dartmouth CollegeJohn D. Lyons Blake, Hegel and Dialectic, by David Punter; 268 pp. Atlantic Highlands, New Jersey: Humanities Press, 1982, $23.00. According to David Punter, "Blake's dialectic and Hegel's share a number of crucial features" (p. 11), making Hegel's Phenomenology the "closest parallel to [Blake's] work" (p. 17). By emphasizing progression through contraries, both Blake and Hegel transform the dialectical tradition that they presumably inherit from Heraclitus, Giordano Bruno, and Jakob Böhme, all of whom Punter analyzes in his opening chapter. Subsequent chapters trace the similarities diat Punter finds among such works as the Phenomenology, The Mar- 266Philosophy and Literature riage ofHeaven and Hell, and The Four Zoos. Although Punter calls his comparison of Blake and Hegel "important and fruitful" (p. 255), I do not see that it tells us much that we did not already know. Punter waints not only to join Blake and Hegel but to separate them both from the Romantic movement with which M. H. Abrams, Northrop Frye, and many others have associated them. In Punter's view, "dialectic" serves a "double function" in Blake and Hegel, allowing them to transcend die "logical and scientific formalism" that characterized the Enlightenment and to counter die "subjectivistic," "mystical," "indulgent," "onesided ," and "simple organicist assumptions" diat "romantics from Fichte to Keats" endorse. Aldiough Blake, Hegel, and die Romantics all respond to "the political experience of the French Revolution and its aftermath" and to "the effects of industrialization" (p. 253), only Blake and Hegel, in diis view, try to salvage reason and work instead of crudely rejecting diem. Punter concedes diat his portrait of the Romantics may be "partial" (p. 7), but in my opinion it is worse than that. The generosity toward reason and work diat characterizes Blake aind Hegel also appears in Coleridge, Keats, Wordsworth, Schelling...


Additional Information

Print ISSN
pp. 265-266
Launched on MUSE
Open Access
Back To Top

This website uses cookies to ensure you get the best experience on our website. Without cookies your experience may not be seamless.