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Material Events

Paul de Man and the Afterlife of Theory

2000

Tom Cohen, Barbara Cohen, J. Hillis Miller, and Andrzej Warminski, editors

Material Events

Renowned contributors use the late work of this crucial figure to open new speculations on "materiality."

Responding to the problematic of "materialism" as posed in Paul de Man’s posthumous last book, Aesthetic Ideology, a diverse and distinguished group of scholars explores the question of "material events" in ways that illuminate not just de Man’s work but their own, work at the forefront of critical theory, productive thinking, and writing in the humanities.

Contributors: Judith Butler, T. J. Clark, Jacques Derrida, Barbara Johnson, Ernesto Laclau, Arkady Plotnitsky, Laurence A. Rickels, and Michael Sprinker.

Literary Theory/Philosophy

Renowned contributors use the late work of this crucial figure to open new speculations on "materiality."

A "material event," in one of Paul de Man’s definitions, is a piece of writing that enters history to make something happen. This interpretation hovers over the publication of this volume, a timely reconsideration of de Man’s late work in its complex literary, critical, cultural, philosophical, political, and historical dimensions.

A distinguished group of scholars responds to the problematic of "materialism" as posed in Paul de Man’s posthumous final book, Aesthetic Ideology. These contributors, at the forefront of critical theory, productive thinking, and writing in the humanities, explore the question of "material events" to illuminate not just de Man’s work but their own. Prominent among the authors here is Jacques Derrida, whose extended essay “Typewriter Ribbon: Limited Inc (2)” returns to a celebrated episode in Rousseau’s Confessions that was discussed by de Man in Allegories of Reading.

The importance of de Man’s late work is related to a broad range of subjects and categories and-in Derrida’s provocative reading of de Man’s concept of "materiality"-the politico-autobiographical texts of de Man himself. This collection is essential reading for all those interested in the present state of literary and cultural theory.

Contributors: Judith Butler, UC Berkeley; T. J. Clark, UC Berkeley; Jacques Derrida, École des Hautes Études en Sciences Sociales and UC Irvine; Barbara Johnson, Harvard U; Ernesto Laclau, U of Essex; Arkady Plotnitsky, Purdue U; Laurence A. Rickels, UC Santa Barbara; and Michael Sprinker.

Translation Inquiries: University of Minnesota Press

Material Events

Tom Cohen is professor and chair of English at the State University of New York, Albany. Barbara Cohen is director of Humanitech and senior editor in the Department of English and Comparative Literature at the University of California, Irvine. J. Hillis Miller is distinguished professor of English and comparative literature, and Andrzej Warminski is professor of English and comparative literature, both at the University of California, Irvine.

Material Events

Contents

A “Materiality without Matter”?
Tom Cohen,J. Hillis Miller, and Barbara Cohen

I. Ideologies of/and the Aesthetic
“As the Poets Do It”: On the Material Sublime Andrzej Warminski
Art and Ideology: Althusser and de Man Michael Sprinker
Algebra and Allegory: Nonclassical Epistemology, Quantum Theory,and the Work of Paul de Man Arkady Plotnitsky

II. Deadly Apollo: “Phenomenality,” Agency,the Sensorium
Phenomenality and Materiality in Cézanne T. J. Clark

Political Thrillers: Hitchcock,de Man, and Secret Agency in the “Aesthetic State” Tom Cohen
Resistance in Theory Laurence A. Rickels

III. Re-Marking “de Man”
Paul de Man as Allergen J. Hillis Miller
Anthropomorphism in Lyric and Law Barbara Johnson

IV. The Mnemopolitical Event
The Politics of Rhetoric Ernesto Laclau
How Can I Deny That These Hands and This Body Are Mine? Judith Butler


V. Materiality without Matter Typewriter Ribbon: Limited Ink (2) (“within such limits”) Jacques Derrida

Contributors

Index