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A Dis-Identity Card: Geoffrey Hartman on the Paul de Man Affair, Twenty-Five Years Later

From: Jewish Quarterly Review
Volume 103, Number 2, Spring 2013
pp. 149-155 | 10.1353/jqr.2013.0010



This essay will concentrate on one aspect of Hartman’s famous essay “History and Judgment: The Case of Paul de Man,” focusing on his notion of intellectual responsibility and judgment. I would like to distinguish between Derrida’s melancholic intervention in this affair and Hartman’s mournful one, a distinction that brings about two different notions of responsibility. Hartman introduces a complex idea of judgment which resembles that of Hannah Arendt, though she is not referred to explicitly in that context. To end, a distinction will be made between Hartman’s literary-theoretical task and his moral task, thereby differentiating him from the post-war figure of the philosopher-as-a-reader-of-literature.