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Reviews139 difficult diachrony which ensues from this honesty, that Weber finds operative to some degree in Speech and Phenomena, and highly intensified in The Post Card. In the latter we find the very poetic vertigo of translation and transference, destruction of bunker mentality, Derrida deploying missives whose paths and arrivals cannot be guaranteed in a nexus of relations extending from postmodern Paris to Plato. The institutional fate of all such missives is attracting the scrutiny of Derrida, Weber, and many other theorists. It should be emphasized that Weber's new book is not merely another searchand -destroy effort to track down totalizing critics and hidden signals of suppression . Yes, there is here the tacit and nuanced redundancy of the Heideggerian /early-Derridean surveillance project, so that many of Weber's critical specimens are located—inevitably—in some sort of metaphysical itinerary. But Weber's use ofFreudian theory, always sharp and interesting, keeps the windows ofhis own institution wide open. The notions of"debt" and "enabling exclusion" can bring the analysis ofour taken-for-granted inclinationsofthoughtto striking results, as when Weber retraces the liberal tradition in America. His nine essays are sandwiched by two suggestive pieces which discuss the epistemological dilemma of critical theory in terms of Kant's attempt, in the Critique ofJudgment, to institute particularity without recourse to pregiven concepts, without muting alterity. Here Weber works a line of inquiry neglected by other theorists who have been enmeshed in the Hegelian machinery. As readers of thisjournal are well aware, many theorists are starting to probe Kant's work as an early context for die (very institutional) problem ofthe "faculties." In this collection ofessays, and in his recendy revived Glyph, Weber is sparking a debate for them with some genuinely exciting investigations. Pennsylvania State UniversityC. S. Schreiner Boethius andDialogue. LiteraryMethodin "The Consolation of Philosophy," by Seth Lerer; ? & 264 pp. Princeton: Princeton University Press, 1985, $28.00. While scholarship relating to Boethius' Consofotio Philosophiae has not languished in recent years, there has not, to my knowledge, been a book-length study devoted to the interpretation ofthe work. Seth Lerer's book is, therefore, all the more significant. The author's central purpose is "to demonstrate the thematic and methodological coherence of the Consolation ofPhUosophy" (p. 3), setting the work in the literature of Late Antiquity, in particular in the Latin dialogue tradition, and in the corpus of Boethius' writing. Modern critical 140Philosophy and Literature concepts and vocabulary have been used with moderation in the exploration of the Boethius persona, the reader's role, and the processes of reading, rewriting , and rereading. The firstchapterbegins by situating Boethius at the end ofa period, struggling with the writing of each new work, fitting his text to an audience, overcoming silence and postulating "a sequential relationship of world and word" (p. 30). This starting pointis supportedby a survey ofthe literary, historical, and cultural context to which the Consolatio belongs and precisely the student-teacher dialogue as seen in the writing of Cicero, St. Augustine, Fulgentius, and Boethius himself. Chapters H-V are a close reading of the ConsoMio, from the opening meter where the prisoner expresses himself as reader and writer, mourning the pastand needing tobe reeducatedby Philosophy both in the use oflanguage and in moral thinking. Philosophy brings from outside literary examples which she makes relevant to the prisoner's experience and a new style ofphilosophical discourse with which she infects her listener from the beginning of book IV. She imposes herself as the authority whose lectures, in the final prose of the work, the reader inside the text and the reader outside the text heed in silence. Lerer traces both "patterns of metaphor and imagery" (p. 7) and the transition from lethargy and speechlessness first to excessive rhetoric and then to awareness of the limitations of rhetoric, which gives way eventually to methodical philosophical demonstration (p. 96). The silence of prayer prevails finally (p. 236). An appendix, "Seneca's Plays in The Consolation ofPhilosophy," gives further evidence to support Lerer's thesis concerning Boethius' debt to Seneca. An index of names and subjects and another of Latin terms complete the book. Even if occasionally Lerer's insistence on the "reader" and "reading" seems obtrusive...


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