Voegelinian Readings of Modern Literature
Publication Year: 2011
Published by: University of Missouri Press
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Title Page, Series Information, Copyright, Dedication
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If we look to the historically first and fully developed philosophical corpus, the work of Plato, we note that instead of writing didactic treatises on various philosophical topoi, he composed dialogues as dramatic reenactments of conversations in various social situations—a remembered...
Part I: Pneumopathology and Individual Consciousness
“The Iceberg Rises and Sinks Again” : Elizabeth Bishop’s Pneumopathologic Imagination
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In “The Imaginary Iceberg,” from her first book, North & South (1946), Elizabeth Bishop argues, “We’d rather have the iceberg than the ship, although it meant the end of travel.” English American poet Anne Robinson calls “The Imaginary Iceberg” and the poem that precedes it, “The Map,”...
Human Beings in the Metaxy: Dilemmas and Extremes in Henrik Ibsen
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The works of Norwegian playwright Henrik Ibsen (1828–1906) incorporated several important motifs that lend themselves to analysis in light of themes central to Eric Voegelin’s political thought.1 We believe this analysis is well conceived for two reasons:...
“Ce n’est pas ma faute” : The Strange Fortunes of Piety and Consciousness in Choderlos de Laclos’s Les liaisons dangereuses
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Choderlos Laclos’s Les liaisons dangereuses (1782) is an epistolary novel of wicked reason and deformed consciousness, the latter a philosophical problem that appears throughout the work of Eric Voegelin. In volume 5 of Order and History, Voegelin addressed the problem of philosophy deprived of “the erotic tension of the Divine beyond” as a specific property...
Part II: The Loss of Public Order
Styles of Truth in Dazai Osamu’s Setting Sun
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According to Eric Voegelin, as expressed in a letter to Robert Heilman in August 1959, the “essence of politics” is a philia politike, a “friendship which institutes a cooperative community among men,” a friendship that is possible insofar as people “participate in the common nous, in the spirit...
Recovering Stefan George’s Poetry of the Spirit from the Reductio ad Hitler
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While literature and philosophy have sometimes been used for propaganda purposes and authors in many countries have come under pressure to write propaganda under the guise of “literature,” especially during a war,1 it is also true that occasionally the entire course of a nation’s literature...
A Gnostic Moment in Anglo-American Culture: Parousiasm of the Voice in Thomas Carlyle’s Sartor Resartus
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In his classic novel Sartor Resartus, Thomas Carlyle (1795–1881) entertains a social ontology in which symbols play a crucial role in the creation of societal order. Throughout the novel, Carlyle employs two narrative voices, and the dialectical interplay between these voices enables the author...
D. H. Lawrence: The Prophet’s Cul de Sac
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Through the entire course of his writing career, D. H. Lawrence (1885– 1930) was highly critical of the culture and politics of his native England and of the modern West generally. He regularly railed against materialism, mechanism, deathly abstraction, a lack of vitality and spontaneity, and other related troubles. Early in his career he hoped to use his pen...
Part III: Existence in the Tension of the Metaxy
The Tension of the Metaxy in Emily Dickinson’s Poetry
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Of American poets taught regularly in secondary education, the two most ill served, it seems to me, are Robert Frost and Emily Dickinson.1 Students are typically introduced to these poets through their most-anthologized poems, and the majority of these are chosen in part for their accessibility—not too daunting conceptually, and technically fluid—but...
The Truth of the Novel: Marcel Proust’s À la recherche du temps perdu
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I am not, nor do I pretend to be, a Proust scholar. I approach the great novel, as I approach all great novels, simply as a lover of literature and a philosopher, that is, as a lover of wisdom. I lay great stress upon the word “lover,” and I pretend neither to finality nor comprehensiveness in what...
Between Poetry and Philosophy: The Challenge of Hermann Broch
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Hermann Broch (1886–1951) is one of the most important figures in twentieth-century literature, and yet he remains one of its most unknown famous writers, especially outside the German cultural space. Five novels of his, The Sleepwalkers, The Unknown Quantity, The Death of Virgil, The Spell, and The Guiltless, are available in English translation, supplemented by a...
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Page Count: 289
Publication Year: 2011