By Kevin Newmark
What's it approximately irony—as an item of significant philosophical mirrored image and a literary means of substantial elasticity—that makes it an social gathering for never-ending severe debate? This ebook responds to this question via targeting a number of key moments in German Romanticism and its afterlife in twentieth-century French suggestion and writing. It comprises chapters on Friedrich Schlegel, Søren Kierkegaard, Friedrich Nietzsche, Thomas Mann, Jean Paulhan, Maurice Blanchot, Jacques Derrida, and Paul de guy. A coda strains the best way unresolved tensions inherited from Romanticism resurface in a novelist like J. M. Coetzee.
But this ebook is neither a old nor a thematic examine of irony. To the measure that irony initiates a deflection of that means, it additionally involves a divergence from historic and thematic types of figuring out. The booklet hence goals to admire irony's digressive strength through permitting it to emerge from questions that usually have little or not anything to do with the ostensible subject of irony. For if irony is the prospect that no matter what is being stated doesn't coincide absolutely with no matter what is being intended, then there is not any make sure that the main valid method of the matter could continue on to these areas the place "irony" is termed, defined, or presumed to dwell.
Rather than supplying a background of irony, then, this publication examines specific events of ironic disruption. It hence deals an alternate version for conceiving of old occurrences and their capability for buying that means.
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Additional info for Irony on Occasion: From Schlegel and Kierkegaard to Derrida and de Man
By tracing out the brief but signiﬁcant alignment in 1933–34 of Heidegger’s thought with the National Socialist state, Lacoue-Labarthe is able to suggest the common strands of aestheticism and nationalism that made such an accommodation possible in the ﬁrst place. In the ﬁnal analysis, he is able to point out, the speciﬁc conﬁguration of art, politics, and philosophy that allowed Heidegger to make common cause with National Socialism, however brieﬂy and in however differentiated and qualiﬁed a manner, must be understood in the historical context of a much older pattern, one “that would be impossible not to identify with the romantic model of Jena” (Fiction, 13–14; La Fiction, 29).
Schlegel himself had already said something quite similar about this ironic resistance to theory in literature; it’s just that we usually resist reading that as well: “It is equally deadly for the mind to have a system as not to have one. So we’ll just have to learn to combine the two” (Athenaeum Fragment 53, PF 24; KA 2:173). Taken in conjunction, the two terms of the textual relation—literature/theory, systematic/nonsystematic, poetry/philosophy, like the absolu littéraire they disclose, moreover—always designate a necessarily philosophical task whose ultimate possibility is radically suspended by the very nature of its literary object.
Indb 33 2/15/12 9:13:57 AM 34 Romantic Irony and universality, that is, to the comprehensive order of Bildung itself. In the early essay On the Study of Greek Poetry, and immediately after bemoaning the merely scattered images of poetic power offered by present-day art, Schlegel had indeed already identiﬁed this as the crucial problem for romanticism: “If it were only possible to clarify modern poetry’s principle of Bildung, then perhaps it would not be so difﬁcult to work from there toward the actual fulﬁllment of its task.