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Reviews169 goal of theoretical heterogeneity. Not only do all the articles reveal a similar approach, but their endnotes often cite the same critical sources, and the overwhelming impression is a validation of Anglo-American Women's Studies, informed by European semiotic sophistication. However, while it was not the editors' intent that their chosen articles should seem uniform, this is not really a defect in the book. In fact, the reader (particularly, perhaps, the woman reader) is left with the sensation of having participated in the articulation of a powerful shared experience. The similarity of the pieces, finally, grows out of a generation of scholarly feminists coming to terms with the effects of paternal authority—familial, intellectual, and academic—in their own lives and work. Whitman CollegeRoberta Davidson The Spirit and Its Letter: Traces ofRhetoric in Hegel's Philosophy o/Bildung, byJohn H. Smith; xii & 283 pp. Ithaca: Cornell University Press, 1988, $35.75. A process offormative education stands between us and Hegel's philosophical writings. The great merit ofthis book is that it illuminates the rhetorical training which permeates them. Hegel's education lay in the rhetorical practices of an earlier age. He worked to master classical languages through the rhetorical and stylistic exercises he practiced. Smith's thesis is that Hegel's early writings and the PL·nomenology itself are colored by this formative educative process. The central concept is that of Bildung, the process by which individuality is formed out of the common materials of culture. Hegel's task is to deal with the philosophical positions arrayed before him without becoming simply one alongside the others. His solution is to accomplish for philosophy the traditional goal of classical rhetoric, to forge a style of one's own out of an identification and transcendence of traditional forms. Smith's analysis puts the PL·nomenology in a new light: Hegel's accomplishment is as much rhetorical as philosophical. Now we can see clearly the strategy and tactics behind Hegel's use of metaphor, trope, and rhetorical device to catch the unwary consciousness and propel it beyond itself. Each stage in the development is a rhetorical exercitatio; taking up, varying, and translating the traditional or customary forms and expressions of spirit. The collapse of each paradigm of truth and reality in the Phenomenology is, at the same time, the forging of an individual. The schoolboy outgrows the mechanical work of acquiring the grammar of dead languages, as he later outgrows those imitative exercises which once took up so much time. Similarly, 170Philosophy and Literature both Hegel and Spirit come into self-conscious being through a process of overcoming otherness in past forms. Through this process Hegel's philosopher is to come into possession of a purely conceptual prose medium in which the richness of the Absolute Idea is exhaustively displayed. The organic metaphors used to describe the dialectic actually cover up its rhetorical origin. Hegel uses rhetorical devices while playing down their use. Not only do individual metaphors and tropes inhabit the Phenomenology, but its very structure is tropical. The cognitive configurations of Spirit are also onesided allegiances to favored tropes: metaphor, metonymy, synecdochy, and irony. Dialectic is the movement generated by die breakdown of each trope in turn as it discovers itself unable to bear the burden of Absolute Knowledge. If we follow the traces left by classical rhetoric, many sections of the PL·nomenology acquire a new life, and the movement of Hegel's dialectic takes on the rhythm of changing tropes. Spirit takes up a successively metaphorical, metonymical and synecdochical relation to reality. Metaphor stands for the stage of naive identification; metonymy for contiguous relations and alterity; and synecdochy for what reminds us of the whole. Finally, irony turns the tables on any position which accounts itself stable before the permutations and combinations of Spirit have been fully worked out. This book pioneers a rhetorical analysis ofHegel's early texts. Though limited by its subject matter, many of the issues raised have relevance to philosophy ofmind and education far beyond a merely academic study of Hegel's writings. I recommend it for the light it sheds both on Hegel's early works, and on the function of rhetoric in...

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Additional Information

ISSN
1086-329X
Print ISSN
0190-0013
Pages
pp. 169-170
Launched on MUSE
2011-10-05
Open Access
No
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