Allegories of Reading: Figurative Language in Rousseau, by Paul de Man

By Paul de Man

'Through tricky and chic shut readings of poems through Rilke, Proust's Remembrance, Nietzsche's philosophical writings and the most important works of Rousseau, de guy concludes that each one writing matters itself with its personal task as language, and language, he says is often unreliable, slippery, impossible....Literary narrative, since it needs to depend upon language, tells the tale of its personal lack of ability to inform a story....De guy demonstrates, superbly and convincingly, that language turns again on itself, that rhetoric is untrustworthy.' Julia Epstein, Washington submit ebook global

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Additional info for Allegories of Reading: Figurative Language in Rousseau, Nietzsche, Rilke and Proust

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Until the subject, the "I" of the poem, confers upon it the clarity of entities that are available to the senses by giving it the attribute of voice . The usual structure has been reversed: the outside of things has become internalized and it is the subject that enables them access to a certain form of exteriority. The "I" of the poem contributes nothing of its own experience, sensa­ tions, sufferings, or consciousness . " The assimilation of the subject to space (as the string of a violin) does not really occur as the result of an analogical exchange, but by a radical appropriation which in fact implies the loss , the disappearance of the subject as subject.

Morchen, p. 21; see also p. 15. 8. Morchen, p. 21. 9. The remark applies, with qualifications too complex to enumerate here, to the writings on Rilke of Heidegger, Guardini, Bollnow, Mason, and jacob Steiner. 10. Such as, for instance, H. W. Belmore, Rilke's Craftmanship: An Anag,sis of His Poetic Style (Oxford, 1 954); Ulrich Fiilleborn, Das Strukturproblem tier spiiten Lyrik Rilkes (Heidelberg, 1960); Frank H. Wood, Rainer Maria Rilke: The Ring of Forms (Minneapolis, 1958); Brigitte L. Bradley, Rainer Maria Rilkes neue Gedichte: Ihr zyklisches GeJiige (Bern, 1 968).

The central will of the poem has been transformed from constraint into a benevolent sun, with only the repetition of the word "dark" (dunkles Netz, dunkel tun) as a reminder of the original violence. Besides, the mention of "hand" in the next-to -Iast line strengthens the impression that we are dealing with an action involving skills that the initially reluctant student now fully masters . The proof of this mastery can only be hidden in the text. The T R OP E S ( R ILKE ) 31 relationship between the two subjects or grammatical "persons" is so tight that it leaves no room for any other system of relationships.

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