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Ellipsis

Of Poetry and the Experience of Language after Heidegger, Holderlin, and Blanchot

William S. Allen

Publication Year: 2007

What is the nature of poetic language when its experience involves an encounter with finitude; with failure, loss, and absence? For Martin Heidegger this experience is central to any thinking that would seek to articulate the meaning of being, but for Friedrich Hölderlin and Maurice Blanchot it is a mark of the tragic and unanswerable demands of poetic language. In Ellipsis, a rigorous, original study on the language of poetry, the language of philosophy, and the limits of the word, William S. Allen offers the first in-depth examination of the development of Heidegger’s thinking of poetic language—which remains his most radical and yet most misunderstood work—that carefully balances it with the impossible demands of this experience of finitude, an experience of which Hölderlin and Blanchot have provided the most searching examinations. In bringing language up against its limits, Allen shows that poetic language not only exposes thinking to its abyssal grounds, but also indicates how the limits of our existence come themselves, traumatically, impossibly, to speak.

Published by: State University of New York Press

Title Page, Copyright

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Acknowledgments

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pp. ix-

I must express my gratitude firstly to Paul Davies, Chris Fynsk, and to an anonymous reader at the State University of New York Press who carefully read earlier drafts of this work and who gave some much needed support and critical commentary. Above all, the development of this work has been made possible by two very significant figures in my life: Miguel...

Abbreviations

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pp. xi-xiii

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Introduction

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pp. 1-22

What is the experience of a poem? In both its reading and its writing, although in ways that need to be explicated, a poem appears as an instance of language that seems to evade or resist theoretical discourse. There is no general experience of a poem, and yet its language seems to present itself in such a way that even if, and perhaps because, we cannot bring it to any...

PART ONE: THE MARK OF A POEM

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pp. 23-

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1. Repeat: The Experience of Poetic Language

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pp. 25-57

On the last day of his final seminar at Zähringen in September 1973, in the closing minutes after reading and discussing a paper on Parmenides, Heidegger made the following announcement: “I name the thinking here in question tautological thinking. It is the original meaning of phenomenology. Further, this kind of thinking is before any possible distinction...

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2. Hiding: Figures of Cryptophilia in the Work of Art

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pp. 59-89

Heidegger started making notes on the origin of the work of art in 1931; further notes followed in 1934 and the first public lecture was given in November 1935, before the essay as we now know it was delivered as a series of three public lectures in Frankfurt am Main in November and December 1936. But Heidegger was never completely satisfied with this...

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3. Beyond: The Limits of the Word in Heidegger and Blanchot

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pp. 91-120

At the heart of the work of language for Heidegger there is the annunciation of being; language is what makes it possible to articulate the meaning of being, by bringing it to language. Poetry has a privileged position in Heidegger’s thinking precisely because it is the means by which the word of language can itself be articulated; it is as we have seen, the...

PART TWO: THE REPETITION OF LANGUAGE

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pp. 121-

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4. Suspending: The Translation of Tragedy in Hölderlin’s Essays

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pp. 123-152

Heidegger’s encounter with Hölderlin’s poetry has exposed the particular nature of the poetic word as one that both offers a relation to what is, but also undermines that relation in doing so. This, for Hölderlin, would seem to constitute the tragic nature of poetry, in that its writing reveals its word to be endlessly evasive and resistant to that which it is attempting to...

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5. A Void: Writing and the Essence of Language

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pp. 153-188

As this remark indicates, Heidegger’s relation to the word is not straightforward; while it would seem on the surface to be directed away from the kind of close textual exploration that we have seen Hölderlin engaged in, a second reading suggests that for Heidegger the textual concerns of poetic writing must become refined such that their explorations are not just...

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6. Fragmenting: L’iter-rature of Relation

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pp. 189-216

This inquiry began by trying to find the place of poetry within Heidegger’s thinking and what it has uncovered is that the nature of poetic language indicates something very significant about the language of philosophy. For Heidegger the task of the language of philosophy was to articulate the meaning of being, but his encounter with poetic language...

Notes

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pp. 217-234

Index

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pp. 235-239


E-ISBN-13: 9780791479704
Print-ISBN-13: 9780791471517
Print-ISBN-10: 0791471519

Page Count: 254
Publication Year: 2007

Series Title: SUNY series in Contemporary Continental Philosophy
Series Editor Byline: Dennis J. Schmidt

Research Areas

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Subject Headings

  • Hölderlin, Friedrich, 1770-1843.
  • Blanchot, Maurice.
  • Philosophy, Modern -- 20th century.
  • Poetry.
  • Language and languages -- Philosophy.
  • Heidegger, Martin, 1889-1976.
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