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134Philosophy and Literature with originals. Modern politics is another matter, as Brann cites the ill-fated exhortation written on a wall in Paris in 1968: "Let the imagination seize power" (p. 712). Utopias are, paradoxically, powerful only when they are not willed, as may be seen by contrasting the longevity ofPlato's ideal city with the evanescence of the dreams of Daniel Cohn-Bendit. Ifthe imagination serves as a sort ofpivot between the senses and the intellect, spiritedness (the Greek thumos)—that part of the soul that gets angry, that loves honor—serves as a pivot in the soul "between the gross desire for things and the love oftruth about them" (p. 767). Imagination and spiritedness are related, as even social workers see when they speak of the "need for a positive selfimage " as indispensable to "self-esteem." Brann discusses this relation succinctly, and might have done more with it. It may have been quite significant in the transition from "ancient" to "modern." It is surely significant in the academy today, where so many of the confusions in literary criticism evidently arise from a sophistic-Romantic inclination to conflate intellectual eros with a polemicized imagination. This book represents a lifetime's observation, reading, thoughts, and imaginings . Thankfully, there can never be a definitive work on the subject. There now is ajust and wise one. Rumson, New JerseyWill Morrisey Travel as Metaphor: From Montaigne to Rousseau, by Georges Van Den Abbeele; xxx & 176 pp. Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press, 1992, $34.95 cloth, $14.95 paper. Abbeele's study offers more than the title promises; it goes beyond a mere illustration of the commonplace of travel as a metaphor for critical thought in order to investigate the extent to which the metaphor of travel might actually limit thought. In a series of readings examining the figure of travel in the writings of Montaigne, Descartes, Montesquieu, and Rousseau, Abbeele argues that "each writer's discourse allows for the elaboration of a metadiscourse opening onto the deconstruction of the writer's claims to a certain property (of his home, of his body, of his text, of his name)" (p. xxiv). Abbeele repeatedly exploits the Derridian paradox of the "proper": the voyage can only be conceived by being immobilized or enclosed within teleological limits; the inside of the home or body can only be possessed through dispossession, a movement Reviews135 toward the outside (Montaigne); error can only be imagined when contained within the structure oftruth (Descartes); foreignness can onlybe comprehended by inscribing one's proper name on it (Montesquieu); and the father figure can be internalized only in the absence of, or by traveling away from, the father (Rousseau). Given the deconstructive bent of this study, it is not surprising that Abbeele initially calls his choice of texts "arbitrary" since, for him, the interest in the metaphor of travel lies in the figure—the implications for philosophy and for writing—and not in its historical uses. He does, however, accept a "certain historicism" insofar as the period from Montaigne to Rousseau was unprecedented in its exploration ofthe world and establishment of an economic system which necessitated new definitions of property concerning not only proper names, but the relation between those names and patriarchal lands, and between authors and their books. The subtitle of the book, with its hint of movement— from Montaigne to Rousseau—might reveal more than Abbeele claims. By the end of the study, one is aware of a subtle evolution from the thought of the late Renaissance to that ofthe pre-Romantics. Rousseau's variation on the travel motif and his legacy to the nineteenth century lie in democratizing the experience of an immediate relation to the world which had hitherto been restricted to a philosophical elite. The historical dimension of this study, a true subtext, may be more valuable for current scholarship than certain deconstructive exercises performed by Abbeele which are, by this time, relatively familiar. Take, for instance, the liminary chapter on Montaigne. On the one hand, Abbeele shows how the essayist's treatment of the circulation of signs (kidney stones, horses) and the dynamics of return can be seen as a movement between opposite poles—inside/outside, reading/writing...

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Additional Information

ISSN
1086-329X
Print ISSN
0190-0013
Pages
pp. 134-136
Launched on MUSE
2011-10-05
Open Access
No
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