Promise of Memory, The
History and Politics in Marx, Benjamin, and Derrida
Publication Year: 2005
Published by: State University of New York Press
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Among the many prosopopeitic voices, the voices of stones and of the dead, the poetry of Paul Celan has bequeathed two words to us. There is the word that might reach us through the scars of time, by way of groping fingers and through haunting darkness. ...
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It has often been remarked that the events of the twentieth century in particular, and, we might add, of Western modernity in general, force its inheritors to reconsider the structure and content of a ‘tradition’ that they might still feel compelled to recognize as ‘theirs,’ even if its ‘ownership,’ and the...
ONE: Benjamin's Reading of Marx
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THE EVENTS MARKED by the year 1989 can largely be seen as severing a certain political messianism from its institutionalization. Thereby, they provide the opportunity to reopen the inheritance of Marx’s text with the intention of salvaging and reformulating its promise for a future, a promise that had been overshadowed and appropriated by totalitarian systems. ...
TWO: Derrida's Reading of Marx
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AFTER THE BREAKDOWN of ‘actually existing socialism’ in 1989, the discourse on Marx seemed abruptly changed in the East and the West. Marx’s texts and the thinking of Marxism assumed a ghostly quality to which Jacques Derrida was one of the first to respond by attempting to keep this heritage...
THREE: The Critique of Violence
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IN THE FIRST CHAPTER, I argued that Benjamin, in turning against Marx’s projection of an end to history, also rejects the conception of a law-governed history. The latter afforded Marx a link between a memory of past victimization and the promise of history. ...
FOUR: The Claim of the Dead on the Living
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IN THE CONCLUDING CHAPTER, I will seek to connect various lines of investigation, with a focus on the history of culture and the source of responsibility to the oppressed in the past as well as in the present and the future. At the end of the first chapter, we sought a more detailed account of the relations Benjamin suggests between a past oppressed by the dominant (usually...
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Page Count: 263
Publication Year: 2005
Series Title: SUNY series in Contemporary Continental Philosophy
Series Editor Byline: Dennis J. Schmidt