Download PDF by David Kleinberg-Levin: Redeeming Words and the Promise of Happiness: A Critical

By David Kleinberg-Levin

This ebook boldly ventures to move a few conventional educational obstacles, providing an unique, philosophically expert argument in regards to the nature of language via examining and reading the poetry of Wallace Stevens and the novels of Vladimir Nabokov. So it's a paintings either in literary feedback and in philosophy. The method is strongly motivated by way of Walter Benjamin’s philosophy of language and Theodor Adorno’s aesthetic idea, however the philosophical considered different philosophers—notably Plato, Kant, Hegel, Emerson, Heidegger, and Wittgenstein—figures considerably within the examining and interpretation. The essence of the argument is that, regardless of its broken (standardization, commodification, staleness), language is, as such, through advantage of its very lifestyles, the bearer of a utopian or messianic promise of happiness. furthermore, it truly is argued that, by means of reconciling the 2 senses of experience (sensuous feel and intelligible sense), exhibiting the sheer strength of phrases to create fictional worlds and ruin what they've got simply created, and redeeming the revelatory energy of words—above all, the ability to show the established into whatever now not well-known, whatever awesome or perplexing—the writers during this examine maintain our desire for a global of reconciled antagonisms and contradictions, evoking within the method they openly play with the sounds and meanings of words, a few intimations of a world—our global the following, this very global, no longer a few heavenly world—in which the promise of happiness will be fulfilled and redeemed. within the first a part of the booklet, reflecting at the poetry of Stevens, Kleinberg-Levin argues that the poet defies the correspondence conception of fact to allow phrases to be trustworthy to fact as transformative and revelatory—what Heidegger calls “unconcealment”, translating the Greek. He additionally argues that during the excitement we get from the sensuous play of phrases, there's an anticipation of the promise of happiness that demanding situations the theological doctrine of an otherworldly happiness and makes the non secular adventure appear like a paltry alternative. within the moment a part of the ebook, Kleinberg-Levin indicates how Nabokov inherits Mallarmé’s perception of literature, inflicting along with his word-plays the surprising aid of the fictitious global he has simply so compellingly created to its valuable stipulations of materiality: white paper, ink, print at the web page. We therefore see the radical as a piece of fiction, as mere semblance; we see its stipulations of threat, created and destroyed sooner than our very eyes. however the excitement in seeing phrases doing this, and the excitement of their sensuous materiality, are intimations of the promise of happiness that language bears. utilizing a Kantian definition of modernism, in keeping with which a piece is modernist if it finds and questions the inherited assumptions approximately its precious stipulations of risk, those stories express how and why either Stevens and Nabokov are exemplars of literary modernism.

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