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Reviews415 Heidegger and the Poets: Poiesis, Sophia, Techne, by Véronique M. Fóti; xxi & 145 pp. Atiantic Highlands, New Jersey: Humanities Press, 1992, $35.00. Véronique M. Fóti's Heidegger and the Poets: Poiesis, Sophia, Techne is unquestionably among the strongest of recent studies on Heidegger. A short book, each page merits considerable attention and meditation. Seven chapters bring Heidegger into relation with the following poets: Mörike, Trakl, Rilke, Hölderlin , and Celan. Central is the question of what Fóti calls the "destinai interlocution " between philosophy and poetry, Denken and Dichten. Heidegger, ofcourse, devoted considerable attention to this destinai relation in his seminars on Hölderlin, and in the winter semester of 1944—45, wrote suggestive pages on the subject in relation to Hölderlin and Nietzsche. At one point Dionysius is invoked as the unrestricted "Ja zum Sein des Seienden," the yes to the Being of beings. Although Fóti does not gloss this text, her study enables us to understand that in such a yes a strict conceptual determination is renounced and that, in fact, this opening up or yes towards the Being ofbeings concerns various modalizations depending upon which poet Heidegger considers. In other words, Fóti's study teaches us that such an interlocution means something quite different in the context of the Nietzsche/Hölderlin conjunction than it might in other conjunctions. According to Fóti, in Mörike's poetry the interlocution involves phainesthai, the coming to appearance of phenomenal presencing. In his lyric, "Auf eine Lampe," such disclosure concerns Heideggerian logos which, in Fóti's reading, is not synonymous with language, since this logos is not identical with human doing. The interlocution, then, is an undetermined relationship bringing language (the all too human) and logos (the otherwise than human) into proximity. In the Trakl chapter, estrangement between language and logos is marked by the appearance of the Stranger who "gathers into estrangement." In the Rilke chapter, Fóti becomes critical of Heidegger's handling of the destinai interlocution. Certainly, Heidegger rejected the instrumentality of language by developing the logos concept. In Rilke this concerns "the thought of the empty opening" or "open place" which is in the midst of beings. But according to Fóti, Heidegger was mistaken in thinking that for Rilke this Open region was being identified with a sphere or ball that was, in fact, representative ofclosure. Her readingofRilke's "Mausoleum" of 1924 counters thatevaluation: Heidegger's preoccupation with the technicity of language adversely affected his interpretations of Rilke. The two chapters devoted to Hölderlin shift emphasis to the destinai and turn from poetry to thought. "Instead ofthe untenable Hölderlinian dislocation of the infinite into the finite, which alone can show it forth, but which is thus eroded, Heidegger resorts to die countermove: he seeks to restore the finite to its essential ground. Although this ground is thought of as the empty space 416Philosophy and Literature of the Differing, in which nothing can take root and entrench itself in abiding presence, Heidegger's move of grounding remains the founding act characteristic ofthe thinker, not of the poet" (p. 58). What the poetry destines becomes destinai for the thinker as thinking. In terms of Hölderlin, Fóti criticizes Heidegger for thinking of the relationship between poet and thinker as complementary which "in the end, legitimates totalization" (p. 59). In retrospect Fóti is asking us to see the extent to which Heidegger's understanding of a destinai interlocution is inconsistentwith itselfand how certain weaknesses in the reading of Rilke and Hölderlin become problematic for an evaluation of Heidegger's poetics. The last two chapters on the missed dialogue with Paul Celan bring this out even more sharply. A closely argued study with extremely penetrating and illuminating analyses, Heidegger and the Poets is the first book to broach some of the more delicately argued theoretical strengths and weaknesses which characterize Heideggerian poetics. Although the chapters tend to be fragmentary and at times reticent, Fóti has written a very thoughtful and far-reaching study that I believe readers will find ofimmense value, since it is a work that elicits rereading and sustained reflection...

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Additional Information

ISSN
1086-329X
Print ISSN
0190-0013
Pages
pp. 415-416
Launched on MUSE
2011-10-05
Open Access
No
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