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312Philosophy and Literature take up McKeon's attention in the final analytic section. It is here where we encounter what McKeon refers to as the translative structure of O'Connor's universe that we come near the heart of what she means by the "reflexive interdependency" of the novel and the theory ofthe novel. Like the interplay of the two worlds of grace and nature in, for example , "Parker's Back," the interplay between fiction and analysis of fiction is possible because each agent in each case is manifest in a universe of discourse. Each universe of discourse is, of course, governed by the interests and activities of rhetoric. Butjust as O'Connor's fiction is not a theological tract, neither is McKeon's a rhetorical tract. It is a concentrated, patient, and often passionate defense of our ability to encompass the matching ambiguities ofdie Etrtistic and the human enterprise witiiin a context of meaning rather than its opposite. California State University, Los AngelesSharon Bassett Blindness and Insight, Essays in the Rhetoric of Contemporary Criticism, second edition, by Paul de Man; Introduction by Wlad Godzich; xxx & 308 pp. Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press, 1983, $29.50. Paul de Mem is Lukács's ironic essayist of Soul and Form, who deals with ultimate questions in die guise of book reviews. The ultimate question of Blindness and Insight is the irreparable separation of consciousness from Being, or even more insistently, of expression from the intuition of plenitude. This obsession with ontological difference in de Man is usually given a Heideggerian background but can be found everywhere in European philosophy from Kant's phenomenon/noumenon distinction and Hegel's denial in the Phenomenology that the "this" of sense is capturable by language to Nietzsche's demonstration in "Über Wahrheit und Lüge" that empirical evidence is perspectival. There is no presumption in de Man, as there is in Heidegger, to think Being from its own perspective , to be like the rose of the German mystics, which blooms "ohn warum,' without asking the human why. To think Being in its own terms is not to be a rose, but to be dead. This is why the notion ofpoetry as an organic form and the recuperation oflost organic continuity by way of time in the realist novel are offensive to de Man. He pounces on Georges Poulet, who imagines that as a reader he is wrapped up completely in a new subjectivity, becoming die temple where the audioes originary experience, transsubstantiated, lives again (p. 96); on Abrams and Wasserman, who proclaim the "seamless metaphoric continuity" between thought and nature activated by Romantic symbol ideology (p. 195); on I. A. Richards, who blithely collapses linguistic structure into the experience to which it refers, then both into the reader's experience (p. 232); on Marxism's "impatient pastoral" reversing Heidegger 's retrospective nostalgia for plenitude by positing a postrevolutionary identity between writer and worker (p. 240); on Barthes, who is naive enough to imagine the writer's alienation as merely socially induced; on the illusory cosmic reconciliations of salvational positions (p. 242), for whom Richards's formalism is made to articulate with mydi Reviews313 (Wheelwright, Bodkin) or religion (Eliot); and on Heidegger, intent upon founding Being in language, who claims Hölderlin's poetry is the parousia, the very speech of Plenitude, whose power fuses Being, the Poet, and Human Dasein into one (p. 254). A critic, almost always, is he who studies literary texts to discover hierophanies that the texts themselves never claimed. A literary text is a text that can be used to show that it denies having the plenitude it is said to have (p. 136). To play out his role in Derrida's tale of western scriptophobia, Rousseau must be shown to succumb to die philosophy of originary presence. But Rousseau's pages on music, suppressed by Derrida, show diat art is not the expression of presence but the very aria of the void (p!H28). Heidegger must ignore or misread similar qualifications in Hölderlin, who does not say his word ¿î the holy but "das Heilige sei mein Wort," indicating at the most prophetic intention (p. 258). Generally de Man's analysis...

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Additional Information

ISSN
1086-329X
Print ISSN
0190-0013
Pages
pp. 312-313
Launched on MUSE
2011-10-05
Open Access
No
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