Book Cover

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Series Page, Title Page, Copyright

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Contents

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pp. v-vi

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Note on Method

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pp. vii-viii

There is too much self in my writing. Do you know the term Lukács uses to describe aesthetic structure? Eine fensterlose Monade.1 I do not want to be a windowless monad—my training and trainers opposed subjectivity strongly, I have struggled since the beginning to drive my thought out into the landscape of science and fact ...

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Prologue: False Sail

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pp. 3-9

Humans value economy. Why? Whether we are commending a mathematician for her proof or a draughtsman for his use of line or a poet for furnishing us with nuggets of beauty and truth, economy is a trope of intellectual, aesthetic and moral value. How do we come to take comfort in this notion? ...

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1. Alienation

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pp. 10-44

Simonides of Keos was the smartest person in the fifth century B.C., or so I have come to believe. History has it that he was also the stingiest. Fantastical in its anecdotes, undeniable in its implications, the stinginess of Simonides can tell us something about the moral life of a user of money and something about the poetic life of an economy of loss. ...

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2. Visibles Invisibles

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pp. 45-72

Money is something visible and invisible at the same time. A “real abstraction,” in Marx’s terms. You can hold a coin in your hand and yet not touch its value. That which makes this thing “money” is not what you see.1 When the ancient Greeks talk of money, adjectives for “visible” and “invisible” occur inconsistently. ...

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3. Epitaphs

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pp. 73-99

No genre of verse is more profoundly concerned with seeing what is not there, and not seeing what is, than that of the epitaph. An epitaph is something placed upon a grave—a σῶμα that becomes a σήμα, a body that is made into a sign. Already in Homer there is mention of a σήμα or tomb heaped up high over a dead warrior so that some passerby in later time will stop and remark on it.1 ...

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4. Negation

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pp. 100-119

“Nothing” is a good place to begin thinking about the economics of negation. It needs close thought. “But for want of that for which I am richer” is how Shakespeare’s Cordelia puts it, after an argument with her father in which the two of them trade “nothing” back and forth five times like a bad coin.1 ...

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Epilogue: All Candled Things

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pp. 120-134

As a child Paul Celan liked to draw burning candles. To capture with pen and ink the successive phases of flame and extinction preoccupied him intensely.1 “I did not love it, I loved its burning down and you know I haven’t loved anything since,” says his protagonist Klein near the end of Conversation in the Mountains. ...

Bibliography

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pp. 135-144

Index

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pp. 145-147