A Weak Messianic Power
Figures of a Time to Come in Benjamin, Derrida, and Celan
Publication Year: 2013
Published by: Fordham University Press
Title Page, Copyright, Dedication
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1. A Time to Come: Hunchbacked Theology, Post-Freudian Psychoanalysis, and Historical Materialism
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There is often in writing a secret place around which thoughts—around which what is less than, not yet, and perhaps never to be thought—may gather. Walter Benjamin alludes to such a place in an April 1940 letter to his friend and confidante Gretel Adorno. Referring to the thoughts that would secretly coalesce around the writing of his now-famous theses on the...
2. The Day the Sun Stood Still: Benjamin’s Theses, Celan’s Realignments, Trauma, and the Eichmann Trial
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Even the most sensitive and persuasive readings of Benjamin’s much-discussed last, unfinished text, his untitled theses on the philosophy of history, fail to focus sufficiently on a number of its key stylistic traits and its status within the body of his work as yet another in a series of meditations on the genre of “the last will and testament.”1 Perhaps the most definitive...
3. Pendant: Celan, Büchner, and the Terrible Voice of the Meridian
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In his 1960 Meridian address, delivered on the occasion of receiving the Büchner Prize for Literature, the poet Paul Celan pinpoints a central organizing moment in the work of the nineteenth-century writer and dramatist in whose name the award was given. While winners of the Büchner prize are generally expected to reflect in their acceptance speeches on their relations...
4. On the Stroke of Circumcision I: Derrida, Celan, and the Covenant of the Word
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Derrida’s “Shibboleth: For Paul Celan” is the revised text of a lecture he delivered in Seattle on October 14, 1984. Divided into seven sections marked by roman numerals, it begins: “Only one time [Une seule fois]: circumcision takes place only once [n’a lieu qu’une fois].”1 Broaching the topic of circumcision and with it the related questions of its place and taking place in the...
5. On the Stroke of Circumcision II: Celan, Kafka, and the Wound in the Name
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The name “Rabbi Löw” is associated in Jewish tradition with a creative practice based on a certain performance of the divine Name. Invoking this practice, Celan’s poem no doubt draws attention to its own creation. Yet if “TO ONE WHO STOOD BEFORE THE DOOR” is a poem about poetry, about its own singular performance, it is poetry no longer viewed...
6. Poetry’s Demands and Abrahamic Sacrifice: Celan’s Poems for Eric
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In the spring and summer of 1968 Paul Celan addressed a number of poems to his son Eric, the second of his sons and the only one still alive. His fi rst, François, had died shortly after birth in October 1953 and, as noted in Chapter 4, his passing is commemorated in the poem “Grabschrift für François” (“Epitaph for François”), which was published in the 1955 collection...
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Page Count: 224
Illustrations: 2 b/w
Publication Year: 2013