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Reviews201 aclysm hanging over most texts written after the Great War is not what LaCapra means by "history," his notion of history remains unclear. In the chapter on Woolf, he talks of "social relations" and "institutions," but he is eUiptical, for the institutions are described as those "that regulate repetitive temporality" (p. 148). In his conclusion, he refers to contexts of"the petty intrigues in Restoration France, the world of the intelligentsia in Czarist Russia, or life in the Midlands in 'ante-Reform' England" (p. 204). The suggestion is tiiat the book he hasjust completed brought its reader into each of those worlds, matching texts with contexts. But LaCapra has done litde to usher the concrete worlds ofFlaubert's France or Woolf's England into his readings. He has not merely avoided the great historical events that surrounded his chosen novelists; he has also avoided all the aspects of personal history which provided the raw material for the worlds they created. Ultimately, History, Politics, and tL· Novel is an extremely interesting confrontation between a critic and eight novels, but it is not about history, politics, and the novel. University of California, BerkeleyCarl Landauer Time and Narrative, Volume III, by Paul Ricoeur; translated by Kathleen Blarney and David Pellauer; 355 pp. Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1988, $29.95. This final volume of Time and Narrative wUl both profit and exasperate its readers. Though Ricoeur evidendy intends a closely articulated argument, the effect of this volume, like that of the first two, is of a rich misceUany. Having in Volume I defined mimesis3 as the reconfiguration of that which the author has configured or created (mimesis2) out of a prefigured structure of human experience (mimesis^, Ricoeur proposes to pursue the manner in which narrative configuration may be a refiguration of temporal experience. This opens up questions, which Ricoeur summarizes under the rubric "aporetics of temporality," that have long been philosophical battlegrounds. The first is the incommensurabUity of human or phenomenological time and cosmological time, canonically ülustrated by the inadequacies of both Aristotle's concept of time as a succession of instants and Augustine's concept of past and future as existing only in relation to a present. Ricoeur's examination ofHusserl's, Kant's, and Heidegger's treatments of time finds inadequacies—indeed aporias—in each. What actuaUy mediates between phenomenological and cosmological time, Ricoeur argues, is "historical time," understood as a "reinscription oflived time on cosmic time" (p. 99). What history constructs is not a system of references 202Philosophy and Literature but ofrefigurations that "stand for" events of the past. Moreover, history must draw on the resources of fiction whüe fiction equaUy must draw on those of historicization; indeed, "die interweaving of history and fiction in the refiguration of time rests, in the final analysis, upon diis reciprocal overlapping" (p. 192). This brings us back to die way in which mimesis3, reconfiguration, occurs dirough die interaction of the world of the text and that of the reader; tiius the author's strategies and the reader's activity are equally essential. After a survey of the impossibUity of Hegel's vision of a Spirit that unifies time as a "singular coUective," Chapter X, "Towards a Hermeneutics of Historical Consciousness ," sketches the desirable dialectic in which "the space of experience" limits the Utopian expectations of the "horizon of expectation" whüe the refiguration of the past expands that space. FinaUy, die "Conclusion" restates the unavoidabüity of aporia in any attempt to phüosophize about time. The confrontation of Aristode and Augustine, the commentaries on Husserl and Heidegger, the regretful dismissal of the Hegelian dream of history as the actualization of Spirit, the analysis of historical reconstruction as refiguration rather than representation, and the careful adjustment of the claims of both author and reader and of Iser's individual reader andJauss's collective horizon wül be found worth the careful attention that Ricoeur's abstract and clotted style demands. The volume is a trove of insights. Yet Ricoeur's learning and subdety of thought somehow overpower his chosen structure of presentation. Not only is this third volume organized in a way that generates repetition and encourages the pursuit of tangential...

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Additional Information

ISSN
1086-329X
Print ISSN
0190-0013
Pages
pp. 201-202
Launched on MUSE
2011-10-05
Open Access
No
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