By George Steiner
Together with his hallmark forceful discernment, George Steiner provides within the Poetry of idea his magnum opus: an exam of greater than millennia of Western tradition, staking out his declare for the basic oneness of significant proposal and nice sort. Sweeping but particular, relocating from crucial aspect to bracing representation, Steiner spans the complete background of philosophy within the West because it entwines with literature, discovering that, as Sartre said, in all philosophy there's “a hidden literary prose.”
“The poetic genius of summary thought,” Steiner believes, “is lit, is made audible. Argument, even analytic, has its drumbeat. it truly is made ode. What voices the last pursuits of Hegel’s Phenomenology larger than Edith Piaf’s non de non, a twofold negation which Hegel may have prized? This essay is an try to pay attention extra closely.”
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Extra resources for The Poetry of Thought From Hellanism to Celan
The existence much less precedes the living:' The tranquility of Freud's voice empowers statements that are not anything lower than "enormous:' effectively less than stood, existence is not anything yet "a detour" ( ein Umweg) with a view to loss of life. Freud's readiness to percentage with us the stairs, self-questioning, sufferer yet ultimately guaranteed, of his meditation provide to his end a unprecedented au thority. He has "entered the harbor of Schopenhauer's philosophy:' He has rejoined the Greek inspiration, most likely archaic, of ineluctable necessity: anangke, the daemonic absolute past attraction. Freud 152 now invokes Aristophanes' myth of the reunion of genders. Sopho cles is mentioned as witness. The poet Ruckert underwrites the audacious incompletion of Freud's speculation: "It isn't any sin to boost limping" (a sophisticated pointer to talismanic Oedipus? ). Then comes the beautiful rhetorical circulation: "The excitement precept appears to be like within the provider of the demise impulse:' Freud's concept has no longer came across lasting recognition, not to mention any medical affirmation. yet nowhere in philosophic an thropology is there a clearer instance of the unbounded temerities of concept, of what can, with no apology, be termed its sal to mortale. If, because the Stoics and Montaigne have it, actual philosophy is an appren ticeship for dying, Freud is still a superb grasp of that artwork. either Hobbes and Rousseau are germane to the reflections on conflict and on loss of life in Freud's Zeitgemafles uber Krieg und Tod ( 1915) whose identify smartly reverses Nietzsche's use of "untimely. " This time the tonality is considered one of somber eloquence. The battle in raging prog ress has proven that Enlightenment hopes of civility, of restraint on violence, of differences among belligerents and noncombatants have been illusory. The presumption of a shared eu inheritance of normative beliefs, Kant's imaginative and prescient, has proved superficial. A primi tive barbarism now engulfs the heartlands of excessive tradition. Why are we surprised? Humanism, proclaims Freud, was once just a veneer, a frag ile crust throughout a primordial chasm. global struggle in simple terms strips naked the basic inhumanity of the species, its inborn impulses to ward rapacity and murder. Homo homini lupus. Freud's sign in mounts towards that of the baroque predicants of mortality. Man's Urgeschichte, his genesis, is "replete with murder:' global heritage is "a series of genocide:' The lifeless come again to unsettle us. hence the passing even of intimates wakes in us a protective Mordlust ( " lust to kill"). The massacres of struggle are a distorted try and permit dying its average, focal position in organic life. The research can be John Donne's: "Si vis vitam, para mortem. " The prose indicates ex treme stress: as among Freud's healing rationality, his religion in medical growth and his deepening pessimism. there's an al such a lot mystical resonance in his attract the Hanseatic motto: "It is 153 necessary to navigate, it's not essential to live:' The voyage towards the abyss is that of the fearless mind. Freud knew the end result. He had learn Inferno XXVI.