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Reviews185 argument and its language have become quite vague: "Our hypothesis can be stated in this way as well: At each moment, nothing exists or acts outside these palaces of the imagination. . . . These palaces are not buUt in space, then. They are the only space avaUable" (p. 121). This reader was much more interested in Veyne's analysis of ancient historiography than in his phüosophical speculations . Finally, it is not clear that Veyne's musings on the mutability of truth are particularly Uluminated by his discussion of Pausanias's doubt. Certainly Pausanias had notions of truth which merit a detailed examination. Ancient authors are done a disservice when a precise examination of their thought is replaced by a critic's own assertions about the nature of truth. Whitman CollegeDana L. Burgess Altarity, by Mark C. Taylor; xxxiv & 371 pp. Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1987, $42.50 cloth, $15.95 paper. The period 1975—1985 was the United Nation's "International Decade for Women." Perhaps a postmodern United post-Nations should declare an "International Decade of The Other," with Mark Taylor's Altarity as its guiding text. Ofcourse, there is a connection between the thematics ofwoman and the (anti-) notion of the Other, and further connections can be made with thematics of periodization, place, and the power—or lack thereof—oflanguage to "declare." Altarity is about these connections and missed connections: it is not exactìy a series of "studies," and therefore not exacdy a "book." Instead, Altarity is a dissemination. If, in some sense, Altarity "studies" the concept of otherness, what it disseminates is totality and attendant notions: homogeneity, identity, translation without remainder, letters that purportedly reach their assigned destinations. Taylor 's readings pursue the uncapturable, the Other that escapes Hegel's system and is pursued by Heidegger, Merleau-Ponty, Lacan, BataUle, Kristeva, Lévinas, Blanchot, and Derrida, who each receive a chapter. In his final chapter, marked as a destination that is all the same a transit point, Taylor demonstrates why his work really is a "deconstructive a/theology," as he situates the limitedness of language and action within a Kierkegaardian problematics of faith. As with Taylor's previous book, Erring: a postmodern altiieohgy, it is possible to learn much from Altarity about the writers it treats. Thus, although Altarity can be difficult going in places, the book can be readüy recommended to readers who are interested in gaining insight into what the postmodern debate is all about. 186Philosophy and Literature The chapter on Merleau-Ponty is a pleasant surprise. Of the French phenomenologists , he was the one who consistendy thematized problems of language . And, in terms ofthe problematic only recendy taken up by some analytic phUosophers (e.g., Thomas Nagel), Merleau-Ponty consistendy materialized the body, thereby deconstructing (before the letter) the "view from nowhere" typical of phUosophy in most traditions. Taylor resituates this concern with carnality in terms of "wounds" and "faults" within language, consciousness, and typical notions of transcendence. The faUure of phüosophical transcendence to transcend its faults, however, is also for Taylor an opening and a caU: die irreducible situatedness of life, the "always already," allows for what possihUities in life there maybe. The conditions of possibüity of language, subjectivity, and Ufe and death, are bound to conditions ofimpossibUity, indeed, to the Impossible itself(which, however, is never fuUy comprehended by the possible, rational, or real). The pursuit of diis paradox is what makes Altarity a "religious study," with aU die possible complementarities and tensions in this double term readüy in evidence diroughout the work. A few brief remarks: the formulation of the problematics of "woman" in this work is troubling. Though Taylor's treatment ofthis question extends and rivals diat of Derrida's Spurs, the same complaint that applies to the latter should also be raised concerning Altarity: phüosophical "woman" is not woman, nor especiaUy is it women. This complaint (which admittedly could be raised concerning much écriture feminine) is not to cancel the phüosophical point, but instead to urge that disseminations such as Taylor's pursue further their pohtical resonances , into the social text. The political overtones of the book are, however, very powerful and should...


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