The Poetics of Singularity

The Poetics of Singularity : The Counter-culturalist Turn in Heidegger, Derrida, Blanchot and the Later Gadamer

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This polemical book reveals the basic tenets of what may be called a 'poetics of singularity' in Martin Heidegger, Maurice Blanchot, Jacques Derrida and the strange late essays of Hans Georg Gadamer. At issue is the at first simple, even familiar, idea that literary or poetic 'meaning' cannot be stated in terms other than its own, that a text strives towards the status of being an example, if of anything, only of itself, sole witness of what it alone projects. This issue opens a series of powerful questions concerning basic features of Western thought - about the nature of understanding, on Kierkegaard's 'singular individual' that is yet each human life in its exceptionality, of the uniqueness of historical testimony, the nature of community. The Poetics of Singularity forms an ethically compelling alternative to the currently dominant cultural/social studies paradigm in literary criticism, a neo-Darwinian understanding of art and life which is sometimes only a disguised version of American nationalism. Features * An original work of scholarship combining elucidation, research and polemics.
* Identifies a forceful tradition of twentieth-century poetics - which differs from received ideas of 'deconstruction' - which the author names 'the poetics of singularity'. * Makes available in English some previously untranslated material in the chapters on Heidegger and Gadamer, and covers relatively unknown texts by Blanchot and some very recent work by Derrida.
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Product details

  • Hardback | 208 pages
  • 156 x 234 x 24mm | 490g
  • Edinburgh, United Kingdom
  • English
  • Annotated
  • 0748619291
  • 9780748619290
  • 2,615,497

Table of contents

Contents; Introduction: A School of Singularity?; Chapter One: Freedoms and the Institutional Americanism of Literary Study; Chapter Two: Heidegger's Dream of Singularization; Chapter Three: The Uniquely Obvious: Singularity in Gadamer's Late Essays; Chapter Four: Pitching Strangely: The Poetic in Blanchot; Chapter Five: Derrida, A Pragmatics of Singularity; Epilogue.
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Review quote

Offering everyday examples for a complex thought (the singular is something lost in translation or when a joke is explained) this book succeeds in rescuing a fascinating idea from the depths of the impenetrable.
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About Timothy Clark

Timothy Clark is Professor of English at the University of Durham. His books include Derrida, Heidegger, Blanchot: Sources of Derrida's Notion and Practice of Literature (1992), The Theory of Inspiration: Composition as a Crisis of Subjectivity in Romantic and Post-Romantic Writing (1997) and Martin Heidegger (Routledge Critical Thinkers) (2001). He is an Editor of Oxford Literary Review.
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