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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 discovers a radical contradiction in the critic under study. Heidegger admits that no mediate thing can attain the immediate immediately (p. 260). The New Critics cannot reconcile organic unity with tension and paradox (p. 28). Lukács cannot, by way of irony, banish harmonious unity, dien allow it in the back door by way of duration (p. 54). Abrams and Wasserman cannot assert the priority of nature over man in Romantic poetry while detecting a Romanticism riddled with subjective idealism (p. 197). And so on. De Man's book, perhaps more dian any other recent one, changed what it meant to be a critic, perhaps even what it means to read. Much nonsense could have been averted over the years had the book been more widely available. Now thanks to Wlad Godzich and the Minnesota Press, we have an expanded edition which includes, among other things, die breathtaking "Rhetoric of Temporality" and two newly translated early essays. It seems churlish therefore to complain of anachronisms ("misprison" for "contresens" twice, pp. 259, 265) and emphatic redundancies in die subjective case (pp. 253, 260), when the translator has labored to remove so many barriers for us already. But there seems as little reason to allude to Harold Bloom as to offend English teachers, who may by accident someday take up this great book. Auburn UniversityDan Latimer Theory ofthe Avant-garde, by Peter Bürger; translated by Michael Shaw; Foreword by Jochen Schulte-Sasse; Iv & 135 pp. Min- ' neapolis: University of Minnesota Press, 1984, $25.00. With die publication of Peter Burger's Theory ofthe Avant-garde, the University of Minnesota Press continues its admirable practice of making available key texts in the field of European criticism and literary tiieory. Theory of the Avant-garde is often difficult and sometimes labored; in its abstract and repetitive style, it epitomizes what Hugh Kenner has termed the "nine-to-five" book. But Bürger does manage, in the midst of his slowly grinding argument, to say acute tilings about the avant-garde as a movement, its exemplars (Spoerri, Magritte, Warhol), and its commentators (Lukács, Adorno, and others). More importantly, he recommends a number of methodological adjustments in the writing of cultural history that will intrigue both literary critics and philosophers. 314Philosophy and Literature Bürger seeks to develop a "critical literary science," one that denies the possibility of a "direct" encounter between scholar and text and that affirms instead the "mediated" nature of response: "The objects with which the literary scholar deals are always given him as mediated ones. And it is with the uncovering of diis mediation that literary tiieory should be concerned" (p. Iv). This requires us, first, to examine forms of "institutionalized discourse" about literature and art in order to see how diese influence "actual commerce widi works" (p. 13), and second, to "historicize" our own position as interpreters and critics. AsJochen Schulte-Sasse points out in his foreword, Bürger always "reflects" upon die terms and categories he employs, and it is this steady alertness to his own social and historical moment that truly distinguishes his commentary on postmodernism and the avant-garde. This does not, to...

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Additional Information

ISSN
1086-329X
Print ISSN
0190-0013
Pages
pp. 313-314
Launched on MUSE
2011-10-05
Open Access
No
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