>>I find the philosophical gobbledy-gook of poetry's false friends,
>>Heidegger & Derrida, extremely tiresome.
>Now don't get me wrong - I love this list's variety and knock-about democracy
>- I am just registering a little surprise.
>It shouldn't be too much of a surprise though - not after a little thought.
>The relative 'popularity' of deconstruction in academic America - the way in
>which ideas have been dished out in the jumble-sale of sloppy degree courses
>- has not only stopped people from actually looking at what Derrida, for
>example, actually says, as opposed to what somebody's soundbite says, it has
>also lead to the situation where it can now be conveniently reacted against,
>taking us neatly back to square one before that naughty Wittgenstein put his
You're assuming quite a bit here, Tim. Such as that I haven't read either
Heidegger or Derrida, or serious analyses of their writings. It's
convenient for you to imagine that attacks on their authority must
emanate from unread American know-nothings. On the other hand, I
hear Ben Friedlander's qualms about a new Derrida-debate LOUD & CLEAR,
and don't want to shred the brit-po airwaves with such a debate either.
Responding to Chris & Alison: no doubt language is something more than
a hammer or a nutcracker. No doubt language is a powerful SOMETHING that
shapes thought & behavior, and is intimately united with consciousness.
What bothers me is the mystification of language, its poetical characterization
- in a mystical sense in Heidegger, in a deconstructive sense in Derrida,
in a rhetorical sense in language poetry - a characterization which in
every case makes language a sort of unaccountable pivot of reality. I
wrote earlier how appealing such a "pivot narrative" is for religion,
philosophy, and poetry: but to counter this I would emphasize again and
again that language is a product of human making & ingenuity, not a
Being in itself or a presence or a non-presence: not the ultimate "text"
belying a meaningless "nature", but a function of human consciousness
& subject ultimately to human design.
For those who argue that these comments are "off-topic" (Prynne)
or "unfair" (to Prynne) I would remind you that my original comment
consisted in the statement that I heard echoes of the mystification of
language in Prynne's somewhat personificatory remarks about the role
of language in history. That's all. I am not saying this is the
main thrust of Prynne's essay (I urge everyone to spend a quid & read