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Allegories of Reading: Figural Language in Rousseau, Nietzsche, Rilke, and Proust
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Allegories of Reading: Figural Language in Rousseau, Nietzsche, Rilke, and Proust

3.93 of 5 stars 3.93  ·  rating details  ·  137 ratings  ·  11 reviews
'Through elaborate and elegant close readings of poems by Rilke, Proust's Remembrance, Nietzsche's philosophical writings and the major works of Rousseau, de Man concludes that all writing concerns itself with its own activity as language, and language, he says is always unreliable, slippery, impossible....Literary narrative, because it must rely on language, tells the sto ...more
Paperback, 305 pages
Published September 10th 1982 by Yale University Press (first published 1979)
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Ellen
It is impossible to read with all the blinders off, but deconstructive theory suggests reading skeptically in an attempt not to smooth over the rough and contradictory spots in a text. For those who dislike Paul de Man, deconstructive theory suggests only the melancholic impossibility of any reading as well as the impossibility of ever representing the self in the text.

To the contrary, de Man seeks to problematize and open up a text as fully as possible. If there is a key concept in de Man's me
...more
Jared Colley
May 15, 2007 Jared Colley rated it 4 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: Readers of literary criticism, deconstructionism, Nietzsche, or Rousseau
Paul de Man is a master at literary analysis. Next to Derrida, he is the great intellectual figure of 1960s deconstructionism (part of "the Yale School"). However, unlike Derrida, his writing is accessible and unambiguous. Too many people dismiss deconstructive analysis for all the wrong reasons (wrong reasons being its association with a whole Derridean school of obscurantism - A. Ronell, G. Spivak, J. Butler, S. Weber, etc. etc.) Paul de Man, however, makes committments to clear writing and ac ...more
Zachary
This is a difficult book. Have a notebook, a pen, and a powerful search engine at hand before trying it.

De Man makes impressive deconstructive maneuvers through the most innocuous task of just reading the text to see how it functions. The methodology goes something like this: Read a book. Great, now what does the text claim to mean (or argue for) at face value? Good, good. Now, if you look at ~the language that the author actually uses~ (I.E. metaphors, tropes, and other forms of figurative lang
...more
Eric
Defining “rhetoric” as “the study of tropes and figures” (6), de Man considers the indissoluble figurations present in such authors as Rousseau and Nietzsche. He also considers Proust, examining how the reading practices of Swann’s Way’s protagonist intertwine with Proust’s writing and his reader’s reading and arguing that “[n]arrative is the metaphor of the moment, as reading is the metaphor of writing” (68). Reading becomes a process of encountering metaphors and metonymies rather than truth-c ...more
Marianne Søiland
Tung tung tung, men lærerik om (det jeg nå ser på som selvfølgeligheter rundt) selvbiografier... The Autobiography as De-facement...
Gabriel Oak
Considered one of the signal texts of deconstruction. De Man does elegant readings of Proust, Nietzsche, and Rousseau. It certainly doesn't feel as revolutionary now as it probably did in 1980, but still an impressive work of criticism.
jtabz
Deconstructionist lit crit...
The smartest book I've half understood since my undergrad Western Civ days.
s.
May 02, 2007 s. added it
de Man's take on Nietzsche is worth the read (particularly the rhetoric of persuasion).
Megan
ugh. i never thought this thing would come back to bite me on the ass. here we go, round 2.
Egor Sofronov
Sleepless nights, shivering writing, and all egresses blocked.
Joey
Its interesting ; its also a pain in the ass.
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Paul de Man was a Belgian-born deconstructionist literary critic and theorist.

He began teaching at Bard College. Later, he completed his Ph.D. at Harvard University in the late 1950s. He then taught at Cornell University, Johns Hopkins University, and the University of Zurich, before ending up on the faculty in French and Comparative Literature at Yale University, where he was considered part of t
...more
More about Paul De Man...
Blindness and Insight: Essays in the Rhetoric of Contemporary Criticism The Resistance to Theory The Rhetoric of Romanticism Aesthetic Ideology Romanticism and Contemporary Criticism: The Gauss Seminar and Other Papers

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