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398Philosophy and Literature politics ofde Man and Heidegger do not discredit their criticism or philosophy, any more than Derrida's or Foucault's leftist engagement credit their thinking, he argues that diese political scandals do show that this flunking is inherently apolitical. The finale of the book is a rousing call to action for leftist politics: It is time to go out and change the world. But for all of his lucid argumentation, Holub never responds to the central claim ofdeconstruction that such thinking might have conservative aspects as well. By the end of Holub's book, there are clearly two groups: bad guys—Nazis, in fact—and good guys. That sort of dichotomy has always prevented self-analysis and self-critique. Nor does Holub refute the notion that attention to the signifier, playful and nonserious as it might seem, could have potential for a truly profound revolution. Overall, the dichotomies between French and German, frivolous and serious , deconstruction and Marxism quickly become predictable. Nonetheless, CrossingBorders is worth reading. Even if one disagrees with Holub's conclusion on the relationship between deconstruction and Marxism, one can appreciate his clarity and his political passion. Like Terry Eagleton's Literary Theory, Crossing Borders can give lucid summaries of difficult arguments while simultaneously maintaining a clear Marxist perspective. Whitman CollegeRobert Tobin Textuality and Subjectivity: The Poetics ofReading, edited by Eitel Timm and Kenneüi Mendoza; 129 pp. Columbia, South Carolina: Camden House, 1993, $48.00. In general, the essays in this collection view the textuality of language as a quality that defers the identification of subjectivity as self-present meaning or being. A "poetics of reading," then, offers a strategy of interpretation able to examine subjectivity as a construction of textuality and not vice versa. As a prime example, the excellent initial essay by Gerhard Richter argues that Kafka's "The Burrow" "textually reenacts the existential struggle of the writing subject" (p. 5) . The paranoid vigilance of the creature in the burrow is a replication of the subject's attempt to maintain authority despite its imperfect cognition of its own textual situation. The unidentified creature has no contextual ground outside the burrow and can only vainly posit an "ideal Other" who is not similarly constrained. The political implications of the way in which textual or rhetorical signifiers determine subjectivities, or "others," is explored in several essays. Brent Gowen speaks of an awareness of the power of those-who-name over those-who-arenamed (p. 21) in the writings ofWalter Benjamin and Paul Celan; both writers Reviews399 present traces of a belief in a paradisiac language in which signifier and signified are holistically related, but both are wary of naming as a means of ascribing an identity that limits the scope of the individual. Cezar Omatowski examines Renaissance rhetoric as a "government of the tongue" that emphasizes eloquence and decorum to establish the linguistic practices necessary for negotiating the social order and constituting oneself as a political subject. Yuan Yuan argues that the importation of communism into China involved a textual displacement in which an absence was replaced by a presence; by deliberately mistranslating Marx's "workers" as "proletarians," Chinese communists were able to present a political agenda that had no actual basis in the underclass. Yuan uses this example to make a larger point that is somewhat overstated: all translation is a form of misrepresentation. Several essays in the collection are not wholly satisfying; Paulo Medeiros insists that Nietzsche's imagery of consumption and digestion is not "solely . . . a metaphor for interpretation" (p. 103), but is not clear about how Nietzsche's blurring of epistemology and ontology should be interpreted. John Rice and Paul Malone provide a concise account of arguments that favor performance over text—as in Artaud—or text over performance—as in Michael Fried—but the conclusion that drama involves both text and performance does not resolve the problem in a convincing way. Kenneth Mendoza's attempt to provide theoretical grounds for the importance of die performer's presence in the oral tradition fails to make its distinctions clear. "Recovering Presence" could have offset this collection's tendency to privilege textuality over subjectivity. However , Mendoza's assertion that the Western...

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Additional Information

ISSN
1086-329X
Print ISSN
0190-0013
Pages
pp. 398-399
Launched on MUSE
2011-10-05
Open Access
No
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