In this Book

summary
In a 1917 letter to Gershom Scholem, Walter Benjamin writes, “Theory is like a surging sea.” This small book takes more than its title from that line—it takes that line as a point of departure in Erich Auerbach’s sense, an Ansatzpunkt, as a compositional principle so that what follows can be read in its entirety as a gloss on the remainder of Benjamin’s sentence: “Theory is like a surging sea, but the only thing that matters to the wave […] is to surrender itself to its motion in such a way that it crests and breaks.” That motion, in the pages to follow, takes up in its sweep two threads: it folds an episodic meditation on the negative and the problematic into a series of singular interrogations exemplary of the positive being of the problematic, the objective being of problems and questions, in a movement of implication and explication between poetry and philosophy in the tradition of what’s come to be known as theory. Theory is like a surging sea because it’s as part of a revolutionary tradition that it crests and breaks.

Table of Contents

  1. Cover
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  1. Half-Title Page, Title Page, Copyright, Dedication
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  1. Contents
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  1. Acknowledgments
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  1. I. Dichtung und Wahrheit
  2. pp. 1-4
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  1. II. 'Without this Nothing Thinks': The Enigma of the Active Intellect
  2. pp. 5-14
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  1. III. Nearer to You than the Sea
  2. pp. 15-22
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  1. IV. Vertigo, Beatitudo: Spinoza and Philosophy
  2. pp. 23-32
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  1. V. The Idea of Prose
  2. pp. 33-40
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  1. Appendix I. Before all else there is beauty
  2. pp. 41-54
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  1. Appendix II. On Exactitude in Non-Library Science
  2. pp. 55-58
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  1. Coda: The Riddle of History Solved
  2. pp. 59-66
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  1. References
  2. pp. 67-80
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  1. Epigraph, Publication Data
  2. pp. 81-86
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Additional Information

ISBN
9780692493908
MARC Record
OCLC
1181774492
Pages
104
Launched on MUSE
2020-08-02
Language
English
Open Access
Yes
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