Now showing 1 - 10 of 18
  • Publication
    Open Access
    The sonic dis-ordering of aesthetic structure in Wallace Stevens's 'The idea of order at Key West' and John Burnside's The dumb house
    (2022)
    This essay examines the intertextual links between the American modernist poet Wallace Stevens and the Scottish contemporary novelist John Burnside through a reading of the concept of aesthetic order in the poem 'The Idea of Order at Key West' and the novel The Dumb House. I argue that both poem and novel position the significance of order as crucial in according art the ability to creatively confer meaning and coherence upon external reality, while imbuing a critical consciousness towards order which suggests that it may be a violent imposition of a limited perspective upon subjectivities and forms of life which exceed and disrupt the very narrowness of that vision. Through an exploration of the troping of sound, music and singing in both texts, I examine how aurality orchestrates a dialogue between linguistic order and construction, and what deconstructs conceptual distinctions between corporeality and spirituality, human and animal, and self and other. This comparative reading of Burnside and Stevens unpacks modes of hermeneutical understanding that displace the purely anthropocentric and heteronormative so as to enliven a liminal presentation of aesthetic order that constantly reformulates and rearticulates its own boundaries and limitations, sustaining new critical conversations across metaphysical and social distinctions and hierarchies.
      56  162
  • Publication
    Embargo
    The claim of ethics: Language and the other(ness) of the subject in Emmanuel Levinas and Jacques Lacan
    (2023)
    This essay performs a comparative reading of the themes of language, otherness and subjectivity in the work of Emmanuel Levinas and Jacques Lacan. Their focuses on the place and role of an ethical subjectivity who is profoundly affected and displaced by the (non)presence of the absolute Other provide apt philosophical material for comparison and contrast. Through a close analysis of the important philosophical and psychoanalytic themes in Levinas’ early work Totality and Infinity and Lacan’s Seminar VII: The Ethics of Psychoanalysis, I demonstrate how the different articulations of alterity in both influence their separate conceptions of the possibility of ethics in relation to decentered notions of subjectivity. In reading both, I argue that Lacan’s treatment of otherness and the eccentric nature of language provides a reimaging of certain gaps in Levinas. In return, I position Levinas as being able to provide a notion of ethical community that Lacan leaves out.
      36
  • Publication
    Open Access
    The poesis and politics of English-es in Singapore: Intersubjective worlding in the poetry of Joshua Ip and Hamid Roslan
    This research article discusses developments in contemporary Anglophone Singapore poetry where a proliferation of writers' groups and literary initiatives has led to efforts to define a localized Anglophone poetic tradition. Focusing on the debut collections of two young poets, Joshua Ip and Hamid Roslan, we argue that the presence of Singlish in their work functions as a site of hermeneutical openness that challenges a neocolonial articulation of Singaporean cultural formations centered on ideologies of standardized English usage, which have homogenized ethnic identities and supported a narrative of national progress. This article theorizes the heteroglossic potentialities of the intersubjective lifeworld found in Ip's and Hamid's poetics by discussing how they eschew any naturalized relationship between language as a semiotic system and sociohistorical being, in favor of a renewed query into Anglophone writing as an accumulation of asymmetrical and uneasy cultural relations.
    Scopus© Citations 1  63  73
  • Publication
    Open Access
    A rending and a raising: Ecstatic religiosity and textual renewal in J. M. Coetzee’s Jesus Trilogy
    (Duke University Press, 2023)
    This essay considers the abstract aesthetics of J. M. Coetzee's Jesus trilogy—The Childhood of Jesus, The Schooldays of Jesus, and The Death of Jesus—as emphasizing the pertinence of the religious in terms of a rupturing of an ontotheological vision of the world. It analyzes Coetzee's employment of religious allegory in the trilogy as a commentary on the birth of religious consciousness that finds its ultimate meaning in an opening out of hermetic experience toward social community and unthematizable singularity. Using Jean-Luc Nancy's ideas of Christianity as a deconstructive event and the ecstatic sense of the world, this essay traces the thematic cohesion of the trilogy in terms of an understanding of divinity that provides an atheological grounding of phenomenological sense. This reading not only emphasizes Coetzee's turn toward a “leaner” style in his late writing as the mark of a unique novelistic outlook toward the pertinence of transcendence in a postsecular world, but also engages with previous readings of allegory in Coetzee's work to posit a different understanding of allegory to be a conscious textual choice that both separates and ties together “fallen” temporality and the redemptive potentialities of literature, resulting in a sense of reality that stubbornly leads outside of it.
      21  29
  • Publication
    Metadata only
    Wallace Stevens in theory
    (Liverpool University Press, 2023)
    Gould, Thomas
    ;
    The modernist poetry of Wallace Stevens is replete with moments of theorizing. Stevens regarded poetry as an abstract medium through which to think about and theorize not only philosophical concepts like metaphor and reality, but also a unifying thesis about the nature of poetry itself. At the same time, literary theorists and philosophers have often turned to Stevens as a canonical reference point and influence. In the centenary year of Wallace Stevens's first collection Harmonium (1923), this collection asks what it means to theorize with Stevens today. Through a range of critical and theoretical perspectives, this book seeks to describe the myriad kinds of thinking sponsored by Stevens's poetry and explores how contemporary literary theory might be invigorated through readings of Stevens.
      25
  • Publication
    Embargo
    Ereignis and the grounding of interpretation: Toward a Heideggerian reading of translation and translatability as appropriative event
    (2022)
    In his lecture course on Hölderlin's hymn “The Ister,” Heidegger makes a striking claim about translation which implies that the paradigm of translation can never be encapsulated by a passive substitution of one linguistic signifier for another, for what is involved is no less than the stance the translator takes within his original language as unconcealment, and how he ex-sists toward the other language as the site of another revelation. If the human being and Being belong together by the happening of Ereignis in the way beings presence through language, the hermeneutical event of translation as unfolding, not only within history but also toward that which opens up historical understanding, grounds his entire authentic comportment toward this unconcealment. This article will argue that translation provides a useful correlative through which we can understand Ereignis as appropriative event.
      41
  • Publication
    Embargo
    Speaking (from) out of tradition: Hermeneutics, literary style and the task of textual interpretation in J. M. Coetzee’s Elizabeth Costello (2003) and Julian Barnes’s Elizabeth Finch (2022)
    (Taylor & Francis, 2024)
    This essay will argue for the pertinence of a hermeneutical approach to textuality, literary style, and the legacy of the contemporary novel in J. M. Coetzee’s Elizabeth Costello and Julian Barnes’s Elizabeth Finch. I will emphasize how Coetzee and Barnes’s ‘novels of ideas’ both explore the limitations and necessities of understanding character and the burden of textuality as ways through which the contemporary novel continues its self-conscious destabilizations and regenerations of form and aesthetic response towards the world. Contrary to a critical fashion which maps metafictional techniques with postmodern sensibilities, Coetzee and Barnes’s concerns with textual embeddedness and the demands of literary conventions do not lead to a position of ideological relativism that negates the potentialities of interpretation and reading to revivify these generic markers. Instead, I demonstrate that these two novels indicate the relevance of a hermeneutical position, which stresses how positionality within tradition is both constraining and liberatory.
      8  20
  • Publication
    Metadata only
    Wallace Stevens and Martin Heidegger: Poetry as appropriative proximity
    (Palgrave Macmillan Cham, 2022)
    This book is a unique contribution to scholarship of the poetics of Wallace Stevens, offering an analysis of the entire oeuvre of Stevens's poetry using the philosophical framework of Martin Heidegger. Marking the first book-length engagement with a philosophical reading of Stevens, it uses Heidegger's theories as a framework through which Stevens's poetry can be read and shows how philosophy and literature can enter into a productive dialogue. It also makes a case for a Heideggerian reading of poetry, exploring his later philosophy with respect to his writing on art, language, and poetry. Taking Stevens's repeated emphasis on the terms "being", "consciousness", "reality" and "truth" as its starting point, the book provides a new reading of Stevens with a philosopher who aligns poetic insight with a reconceptualization of the metaphysical significance of these concepts. It pursues the link between philosophy, American poetry as reflected through Stevens, and modernist poetics, looking from Stevens's modernist techniques to broader European philosophical movements of the twentieth century.
      128
  • Publication
    Open Access
    Poetry in (the) place of the Polis: The question of politics in Wallace Stevens's Poems of the thirties
    (2022)
    This essay will re-evaluate Stevens’s “apolitical” poetic stance during the decade as political statement based on pragmatic accommodation to the demands of reality on the poetic imagination. For Stevens, the dialectical tension between art and society is crucial in ensuring that the imagination remains alive to the continual formations of political reality which can never be fully ossified by any one ideological doctrine. Stevens ultimately enunciates a fuller vision of openness, for the Stevensian subject can negotiate politics on his own terms without being completely limited by it.
      43  93
  • Publication
    Open Access
    The ethics of animal excess: Violence and Bataillean vigilance in Ian McEwan’s Black Dogs
    (The Ohio State University Press, 2023)
    This essay offers a different reading of the ethical imagination in Ian McEwan's fiction from that of human responsibility towards otherness propounded by Emmanuel Levinas. Long regarded as a natural philosophical interlocutor to McEwan, Levinas's concepts of alterity and the transcendence of the other seem to crystallize intersubjective encounters in McEwan's fiction and promote an ethical attitude of peaceable relations between human beings who do not negate the primordiality of the other's presence. I suggest certain difficulties with an unqualified adoption of a Levinasian ethical approach, centered around contradictions inherent in Levinas's qualifications of otherness which negate its radical impact on a coherent account of subjectivity. These objections will allow me to turn to an ethics of transgression and loss as set out by Georges Bataille. Bataille's ideas about excess sets up a dialectical thinking about limits and their fracture which enables an alternative reading of ethics and narrative structure in Ian McEwan's Black Dogs. I demonstrate how Bataille offers a more compelling reading of otherness and the eccentric nature of the ethical self than Levinas, and how this reading is enacted in McEwan's handling of narrative structure and metafictional technique in the novel, stringing together a powerful reimagining of responsibility and political vision in the aftermath of excessive violence.
      20  29