A Defense of Poetry: Reflections on the Occasion of Writing
This text argues that literature can be defined, and that in its definition its unique value can be discovered. The author identifies literature ontologically as a sign of the preconceptual, as the ostensive moment that discloses neither the purpose nor the structure of existence but existence itself, revealed in its nonhuman register. The author situates his argument amid theoretical debates inspired by deconstruction, the New Historicism, and neo-pragmatism, showing that ostension can only be disclosed through the intricacies of history and structure yet is itself neither historical nor structural, distinguishes it from the epiphanic, from social or aesthetic indifference, and from the sublime, and identifies the value of literature understood anthropologically as a human gesture toward the non-humanity of existence.
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History Structure and the Ostensive
Literature as Insignificance
Ostension in Language
What Poems See in Pictures
Nonepiphany in Wordsworth
Criticism Actuality and To Autumn
Possession of the Sublime Repression of Insignificance
Wordsworth Byron and the Epitaph
The Common Sense of
The Ethics of Suspending Knowledge
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