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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. University of IowaHerman Rapaport What Thoreau Said: Waiden and the Unsayable, by William C.Johnson,Jr.; xvii& 172 pp. Moscow: University ofIdaho Press, 1991, $21.95. A friend and former colleague of mine used to engage me in a friendly argument over Emerson and Thoreau. I regarded them as two of the most important American philosophers as well as writers. My friend insisted that they would never be taught in any course of his, since they were not systematic thinkers and thereby forfeited any claim to being philosophers. Starting from such distant premises, we have yet to resolve our dispute. I welcomed this book's hermeneutic treatment of Waiden as both literature and philosophy, then, as fuel for my fire, but misgivings arose as I read the preface, which requests the reader's "seriousness and patience (no small request )" and warns at the outset that "familiar ground" may at times seem lost (pp. xi-xii). The preface is accurate, and in fact more of a promise than a warning, but this rewarding study's long foreground does tax even a favorably inclined Reviews417 reader. The first half presents a long running start and a good leap; the book setdes into another briefjog before soaring. The early pages seem more concerned with Coleridge and Owen Barfield than with Thoreau, and Johnson amply grounds his book in previous criticism ofThoreau. He is much enamored of Barfield, and he sometimes goes far afield to make a link with, say, Kierkegaard when a homelier-but-more-apt connection to Emerson is evident (e.g., pp. 89-90, where clearly Thoreau has in mind the passage in Emerson's "American Scholar" on the oneness ofthe two maxims, know thyselfand study nature). These are mere quibbles, though. At almost exacdy the halfway point, Johnson starts to leap, with a rapid-fire series of compelling insights on Thoreau's "passive receptivity" and the contrast between Thoreau's healing doubleness of vision and Rousseau's negative romanticism (pp. 81-84); on the shortcomings of such theorists as Terry Eagleton (pp. 82, 85) and deconstruction (p. 108); on Thoreau's use of metaphor, paradox, and pun to bring us into "the grand presence" (p. 87); on Thoreau's "axial multiplicity" (p. 89); and on Wahlen's presentation of positive loss as closer to Dickinson than Melville. Johnson is, of course, benefiting from the preparatory work the reader has had to struggle through, but also demonstrating that the struggle was necessary. His strategy is self-conscious and imitative, as he hints in a comment on Walden's last third: "These later chapters take advantage of the layers and momentum of meaning gathered from the earlier chapters" (p. 142). At this point, Johnson has earned the right to soar, and is bold enough to speak of Thoreau's book's bringing memory and imagination to bear on the reader's present life, "the enchanted forest in which we all dwell. Such is the...

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Additional Information

ISSN
1086-329X
Print ISSN
0190-0013
Pages
pp. 416-418
Launched on MUSE
2011-10-05
Open Access
No
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