Blindness and Insight: Essays in the Rhetoric of by Paul de Man

By Paul de Man

First released in 1983. Routledge is an imprint of Taylor & Francis, an informa corporation.

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That their influence remained by and large confined to their national field of specialization indicates how difficult it is to break down the barriers that, in our universities, keep the various departments separated from each other. Perhaps American formalism needed this isolation to come fully into its own. Whatever the case mav be, evenwhen the influence of the New Criticism reached its h~ight, it remained confined within its original boundaries and was allowed to do so without being seriously challenged.

30 BLINDNESS AND INSIGHT a sense already given to us and already known, albeit in a fragmentary, inauthentic way that cannot be called unconscious. Heidegger calls this the Forhahe, the forestructure of all understanding. This is a fact [he writes], that has always been remarked, even if only in the area of derivative ways of understanding and interpretation, such as philological interpretation . . Scientific knowledge demands the rigors of demonstration for its justification. In a scientific proof, we may not presuppose what it is our task to demonstrate.

14. Serge Doubrovsky, PoUJ·quoi la nouvelle critique? (Paris, 1966), p. 193. 34 BLINDNESS AND INSIGHT closure as well as dissimulation; the function of art and of literature would be to reveal the reality that is hidden as well as that which is visible. The world of the imagination then becomes a more complete, more totalized reality than that of everyday experience, a three-dimensional reality that would add a factor of depth to the flat surface with which we are usually confronted. " The reference to Merleau-Ponty reveals that Doubrovsky has chosen perception as a model for his description of the literary act.

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