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About Geoffrey Hartman.


I am attracted to minor genres, to literary forms with a small footprint and large resonance.

--A Scholar's Tale: Intellectual Journey of a Displaced Child of Europe (Fordham U. Press, 2007), 67

THERE HAVE BEEN, AND THERE WILL CONTINUE TO BE, studies of Geoffrey Hartmans extraordinary career of scholarship, now over sixty years long. This collection is unusual in several respects, perhaps above all in the form of the contributions. As coeditors, Frances Ferguson and I asked the authors included in the pages of this issue to select one passage from Hartman's work that they have found particularly generative and to offer a brief reading of it--whether to comment on its significance for their own or others' scholarship, to think about its place among Hartman's critical passions and interests, or to discuss its influence in the critical landscapes of the past or the present. The result, we hoped, would be a kind of florilegium-with-commentaries. Each piece is thus very short; each starts with an excerpt from Hartman's prose (or in one case poetry) and then unfolds from there, so that his voice threads in and out of ours, drawing together critics with very different interests and relationships to Hartman's own work, as well as quite various understandings of it. As befits Hartman--who was the student of Erich Auerbach, Rene Wellek, and Henri Peyre, who made his home and career in the United States, but who first became famous as a reader of England's William Wordsworth--this collection is also an international collaboration: scholars from Germany, Belgium, England, and Israel here join others writing from all across America.

The very short form seemed apt for paying tribute to a critic who, in his own words, has always been "attracted to minor genres, to literary forms with a small footprint and a large resonance." While that comment in its original context referred to Hartman's literary preferences and tastes, it describes more than that. It points, for one, to his distinctive embrace of the essay form. With two notable exceptions--the field-altering Wordsworth's Poetry, which made him famous in 1964, and The Fateful Question of Culture (1997)--Hartman's major books have been collections of essays with overlapping concerns, including Beyond Formalism (1970), The Fate of Reading (1975), Criticism in the Wilderness (1980), Saving the Text: Literature/Philosophy/Derrida (1981), Easy Pieces (1985), The Unremarkable Wordsworth (1987), Minor Prophecies: The Literary Essay in the Culture Wars (1991), The Longest Shadow: In the Aftermath of the Holocaust (1996), A Critic's Journey: Literary Reflections, 1958-1998 (1999), Scars of the Spirit: The Struggle against Inauthenticity (2002), and The Third Pillar: Essays in Judiac Studies (2011). Many essays are uncollected, and a few remain as yet unpublished.

One result has been that Hartman's own footprints, whatever their literal dimensions, have had tremendous resonance in a remarkable number and array of fields and topics. Wordsworth looms large among them, of course, but his unforgettable essays on Keats and his influential discussions of Christopher Smart, William Collins, Blake, Goethe, Rilke, and others established him as one of the most important interpreters of British and European Romanticism more generally. From there his work has extended far beyond Romanticism. Early on, he wrote essays on Milton that continue to be taught annually over fifty years later; others soon followed on authors from Marvell and Shakespeare, through Dickinson and Hopkins, to Rilke, Valery, Malraux, and others. He has crossed media into film, too, with pieces on filmmakers from Hitchcock to Spielberg. For decades, he has demonstrated the continuing relevance of Freudian thought, and he has discussed the role of literary criticism and theory in the Anglo-American and European contexts, offering important interpretations, along the way, of critics from I. A. Richards, F. R. Leavis, and Northrop Frye through Jacques Derrida and Paul de Man. From his interests in midrash and literature during the 1980s to the more recent essays and poems treated by Vivian Liska and David B. Ruderman in their contributions to this volume, he has been committed to explicating (and enacting) the imaginative currents and ongoing vitality of Judiac Studies, as the "third pillar" alongside the classical and Christian traditions. For the last twenty-five years, both in his own scholarship and as cofounder and project director of the Fortunoff Video Archive for Holocaust Testimony at Yale, Geoffrey Hartman's name has been associated closely with the study of the Holocaust, and, as Aleida Assmann and Sidra DeKoven Ezrahi discuss below, he has thought forcefully about the "culture of remembrance" in its aftermath.

Hartman is, then, more intellectual fox than hedgehog, to adapt Isaiah Berlin's own well-known adaptation of Archilochus's saying that "the fox knows many things but the hedgehog one big thing." But this multiplicity and diversity go deeper than questions of subject matter or intellectual breadth. He is, in the best way, uncategorizable. No one method, school, or other classification really fits him, and vice versa: not Deconstruction, nor formalism, nor psychoanalysis, nor phenomenology, nor "Yale" (among other things, it is often forgotten that Wordsworth's Poetry was published while Hartman was at the University of Iowa, where he was first tenured). As the different readings collected in this volume may make clear, there is no such thing as a "Hartmanian," though there may be various kinds and different pathways of "Hartmania." "I did not wish to follow or have a following," he insisted in A Scholar's Tale (47-48), and his students have often been independent, variously minded, and eclectically inclined. His several influences have darted across critical lines, spread across continents, gone underground, and resurfaced in unlikely places.

The "small footprint and large resonance" capture something, too, about Hartman's tone and characteristic stance, which he has called "subprophetic" (SchT, 60). Worrying about "philology becoming a theology once more" (61), he has for the most part eschewed polemic, and he has never attacked those who have differed or opposed him--nor has he ever dismissed them. "I find my judgment," he observed without regret in A Scholar's Tale, "too variable to see a single necessary path to salvation" (104). "My thought," he added, "totters like an infant from the sheltering hands of one parent-idea to the other" (155)--a disarming comment that, of course, generates in its reader the muttered, perhaps half-reproachful, wish that we might all totter half as well. If he has had a critical campaign at all, as Frances Ferguson writes in her contribution below, it "has always been one against narrowing." Brian McGrath suggests, similarly, that Hartman's "teaching compulsion" has paradoxically been "to teach us how to be less sure, less dogmatic, less taught, itself an infinite task." His essays are thus also essais in the French sense of the word (tests or testings), enabling repeated forays into their material: "I yearn for a theory to justify my return to the same poems with another and yet another interpretation" (SchT, 41).

Hartman has rarely needed a theory to do so, as his myriad readings of such touchstone poems as Wordsworth's "Strange Fits of Passion" attest. Moreover, his deliberate tentativeness and principled flexibility have meant that he has always been able to reexamine larger principles as well as interpretations of specific poems. Much of his career, for example, has involved a growing wariness of unmediated visions of any kind, theological or secular. The Unmediated Vision (1954) was, of course, the title of his first book, written when Hartman was still in his early twenties. Exuberantly written (and later parsimoniously granted a "more than adolescent intensity" in A Scholar's Tale), it admired the modern poet's commitment to "understanding experience in its immediacy" (UV, 164). By the time of Wordsworth's Poetry, however, imagination conceived as "consciousness of self raised to an apocalytic pitch"--an italicized phrase that both Ian Balfour and Marc Redfield remark in their comments below--needed a countervailing, gentling force from poetry, like the return of Alpheus after the voice of Saint Peter in Milton's Lycidas. Later still, as Hartman became more explicitly concerned with problems of historical consciousness, memory, and trauma, he found a nightmarish version of the unmediated vision in the modern media's aspirations to a false transparency. Its hypermediated immediacy--its large footprint and short resonance--disable, the precarious "ecology or interanimation of mind and world" that interested but concerned him as early as his 1973 discussion of I. A. Richards (FR, 29-40). Aware of this irony, in The Longest Shadow, The Fateful Question of Culture, Scars of the Spirit, and other late works, he worried about the coldness, disconnect, or apathy that can set in when too many absent things are rendered present by hyperbolic or televisual means: "A massive realism which has no regard for representational restraint, in which the depth of illusion is not balanced by the depth of reflection, produces the opposite of what is intended: an unreality effect," he argued in The Longest Shadow (157). "Understanding experience" and "immediacy" were now at odds. Baring the real may de-realize the present, depriving it of what Hartman, following Erich Auerbach, called its "Wirklichkeit"--that is, its "'actuality,' or 'worldly actualization'" (SchT, 171). In this later context, he came to appreciate "the self-questioning of art, the disturbance by art of its own magic" over its apocalyptic power (SchT, 163).

Literature finds its value, The Fateful Question of Culture argued, in "the ability to 'rephrase,' to think experience and words in tandem, to experience words as well as to word experience" (63). The thirty-one contributors to this issue would add that this has been, and ever will remain, Geoffrey Hartman's gift as well.

Kevis Goodman

University of California, Berkeley

The passing of the survivor does not mean the passing of witness. --"Shoah and Intellectual Witness," Partisan Review 65.1 (1998): 37-48, 39


The Holocaust has warped our relation to time. As an unwitnessed, ignored, and denied event it remained covered up and in a state of latency for decades, to be recovered only gradually. Its emergence into prominence came in the 1980s and 90s when the recovery was propelled by a series of commemoration events, a new intellectual discourse, political debates, films, and new monuments and museums. That was also the time when the importance of the survivor's testimony came to be generally acknowledged and assigned an important cultural value. Two or three decades after the great voices of prominent witnesses such as Primo Levi, Eli Wiesel, Robert Anthelme, and Jean Amery had been heard and canonized, almost all survivors developed the desire to speak out and have his and her testimony recorded. In this historical situation, Geoffrey Hartman's texts had a crucial maieutic power in bringing about and shaping what is today called a "culture of remembrance."

The impact of the Holocaust has been described as "a past that refuses to pass," or as "a shadow that is getting longer and blacker" (38). These descriptions captured an internal energy and overdetermination of the historical trauma that defied closure and seemed to be self-perpetuating. Today, the argument against closure is replaced by a new concern. After having finally assigned to the Holocaust a place in Western cultural memory, the new question is: what will be the future of this memory? There are pessimistic voices, speaking of "the end of the Holocaust" (Alvin Rosenfeld, The End of the Holocaust [Indiana U. Press, 2011]), describing a world of mass culture and trivialization in which the powerful voices of the canonized victims and survivors are becoming dimmer and dimmer. From a past that will not go away, Holocaust memory has turned into a past that should not go away, but maintain a firm hold in the memory of future generations.

When Hartman wrote about new topics like history and memory or witnessing and testimony two decades ago, he could still rely on the paradigmatic three-generation model consisting of
   the first generation of survivors, including child survivors and
   eyewitnesses; the second generation of their children coping with
   the trauma of their parents by adopting it as a defining element of
   their identity (Marianne Hirsch's 'post-memory-generation'); and
   the third generation of grandchildren who were then linking up with
   their grandparents recovering their family heritage.

This generational triad has already been dislocated by the passing of time to the second through fourth generations and will soon arrive at the configuration of the third through fifth generations. Moving diachronically on the temporal axis, the living testimony of the survivors drops out of the synchronous triad of "communicative memory" which connected the generation of experience with the second and third generations. This movement in time leads to a fading of social memory, an inevitable process but one that creates a huge dilemma in the case of the Holocaust. With the generation of witnesses no longer around, there will be no point of origin in which to anchor "the golden chain of oral tradition" (37). This point of origin, of course, is not related to life and a new beginning, but to death, traumatic loss, a destructive full stop and its aftermath. How can the memory of this seminal event of the genocidal murder of European Jews be transmitted to future generations without a direct reference to the generation of survivors? Cut off from the lived events, the succeeding generations are becoming more and more alike in their common distance from the historical event.


What, under these circumstances, can it mean to transmit 'a living memory' of the traumatic event into the future? At this point I take up Hartman's phrase as my motto and talisman: "The passing of the survivor does not mean the passing of witness" (39). One may argue that the future of Holocaust memory is firmly secured in Western societies by archives, monuments, political frames, and cultural institutions. While these are important framing and enabling conditions, they are in no way a safeguard for what Hartman calls "the testimonial imperative" and "a living memory of the Holocaust" (40, 47). This is the context in which the notion of the "secondary witness" becomes a central concept that I will try to theorize with the help of Hartmans writings.

If the passing of the survivor does not mean the passing of witness, then we have to disconnect the figure of the witness from that of the survivor. As the survivor disappears as a living resource and point of reference, the act of witnessing is reconceptualized to be extended to new generations. To do so we must split the figure of the witness and replace it by the "primary" and the "secondary" witness. The primary witness remains inseparably connected to the survivor, while the secondary witness can take shape in flesh and blood over and over again in generations to come.

The term "secondary witness" without a generational limit was first introduced by Terrence des Pres and Lawrence Langer (38). Disconnected from primary experience, the term was often connected to "secondary trauma" and opened up broad possibilities for metaphorical applications, vast generalizations, and inflationary use. While the primary witness is severely damaged by what he or she witnesses, the secondary witness is an onlooker who is exposed only to media representations that stimulate his and her imagination. This contact to the trauma does not take place in a real life context but in the shape of a symbolic and artistic form that does not endanger the physical integrity of the spectator.

Various qualms have arisen around the notion of the secondary witness. The concept has been criticized as slippery because it is built on an irrational idea of "contagion." It is considered an illegitimate figure marked by overidentification and thus by fictitiousness, fraud, and appropriation (Gary Weissman, Phantasies of Witnessing: Postwar Efforts to Experience the Holocaust [Cornell U. Press, 2004]). Writing the concept off in a sweeping gesture, however, seems a bit rash. I will take a closer look at it and start by distinguishing three different interpretations of the term "secondary witness."

In a. first reading, the primary witnesses of the Holocaust are those who were murdered and disappeared. Their testimony, however, was lost and is shrouded in absolute silence. Writers like Levi or Agamben have stressed time and again that the only true witnesses were those who were unable to act as witnesses. From this point of view, the survivor is a secondary witness. These "secondary witnesses" speak for the primary witnesses in a gesture of both self-authorization and self-annihilation. Lanzman called the survivors "les porte-parole des morts." For Agamben, the real message of the primary witness is the impossibility of a testimony. Important as this insight is, it necessarily flattens and dwarfs the testimony of the survivor which, according to Hartman and others, has its own important therapeutic merit as well as social and cultural function. Equipped with the finest instruments of a literary scholar, he taught us to listen carefully to the words of the survivors and was active in rescuing these words in the Fortunoff Video Archive at Yale, which he also termed his "Philomela-Project."

In a second reading the term "secondary witness" applies to those who help to recover the testimony of the survivor in a therapy session or a video interview. The interviewer is the witness for the witness, both entering a contact zone of lived experience in personal interaction. Dori Laub has described in detail the maieutic and enabling function of the interviewer assisting in the recording of an oral testimony in the position of a secondary witness.

He emphasized the mutual interaction in the coproduction of the testimony by both primary and secondary witness: "In order to bring to light the truth of the traumatic experience, the eyewitness needs a listener whose role can be understood as that of secondary witnessing, of witnessing through the imagination, or as witnessing in memory" (Dori Laub, "Bearing Witness," in Shohana Felman and Dori Laub, Testimony: The Crisis of Witnessing in Literature, Psychoanalysis, and History [New York: Routledge, 1991], 57). The image that Laub chose to describe the nature of this coproduction was that of the witness providing the script and the interviewer providing the screen or page on which this writing can find a place.

In a third reading the secondary witness is disconnected from this point of origin in which the testimony emerges. Instead of an unmediated personal encounter she participates in a mediated event. In the absence of living testimonies, she is confronted only with symbolic representations. This position of the secondary witness is open to any person. According to Hartman, a secondary witness deals with the Holocaust not as an event in history that is receding into a more and more distant past, but as an event in memory that retains its charge in the present and into the future. It is the secondary witness that injects new mnemonic energy into the stream of transmission.

After the passing of the survivors, the future of the Holocaust is solely grounded in symbolic representations such as books and performances, films and exhibitions. What is needed to encounter these texts and images is to perceive them not as a passing history but as an abiding memory. This requires an ethical stance that turns the mere spectator into a secondary witness, basing her response on intellectual interest, active imagination, and an emotional engagement. This empathic listener and spectator assumes the role of a "witness for the witness" who "actively receives words that reflect the darkness of the event" (48). Participation in such a memory creates an "affective community" (Maurice Halbwachs) that is independent from the filiations created by blood or nation or religion (48). La Capra speaks of the "labor of listening and attending that exposes the self to empathetic understanding and hence to at least muted trauma" (40). Empathy should not be confused with emotional states such as sympathy, compassion, or identification. The important difference is that empathy requires both an intellectual and imaginative act, it creates the human possibility to think and feel in the position of another without blurring the distance between self and other. Empathy can be blunted, worn out, and blocked, but it can also be trained and cultivated by visual and verbal art to expand the realm of experience of the self to include the suffering and experience of others who are not like us.


"Nobody witnesses the witness" (Paul Celan, "Aschenglorie," in Paul Celan, Atemwende [Frankfurt am Main: Suhrkamp, 1967]). This verse from a poem by Paul Celan describes the situation of the 1950s and 60s when the survivors were left alone with their testimonies. Ulrich Baer uses the term "critical secondary witnessing" ("Introduction," in Ulrich Baer, ed., Niemand zeugt fur den Zeugen: Erinnerungskultur und historische Verantwortung nach der Shoah [Frankfurt am Main: Suhrkamp, 2000], 7-34, 16). The future transmission of Holocaust memory is again precarious; it depends on secondary witnesses creating responses and resonance for images and voices within the social framework of an affective community. The secondary witnesses are an important link, a hinge and a relay in the catena aurea of oral transmission. Through their reception they are able to transform the symbolic archive of representations into a living testimony. There are, to be sure, many pitfalls around the concept of the secondary witness. But we should not prematurely dismiss it altogether. A better alternative is to rethink and reconstruct the concept with the help of Geoffrey Hartmans writings.

Aleida Assmann

University of Konstanz

A definition can now be offered. The supervening consciousness, which Wordsworth names Imagination in Prelude VI, and which also halts the mental traveller in the Highlands, is consciousness of self raised to an apocalyptic pitch. The effects of Imagination are always the same: a moment of arrest, the ordinary vital continuum being interrupted; a separation of the poet-traveler from familiar nature; a thought of death or judgment or of the reversal of what is taken to be the order of nature; a feeling of solitude or loss or separation.... the important consequence is the poem itself, whose developing structure is an expressive reaction to this consciousness. The poem transforms static into continuous by a gradual crescendo which is the obverse of the fixating initial shock. The Highland girl, a single, lonely figure, startles Wordsworth into an exceptionally strong self-consciousness, yet no stark feelings enter a poem which mellows them from the beginning. The poem here is on the side of nature and against the "imagination" which fathered it: it hides the intense and even apocalyptic self-consciousness from which it took its rise: it is generally a veiling of its source. -Wordsworth's Poetry, 1787-1814 (Yale U. Press, 1964), 17-18

THE CHOICE OF A GREAT, REPRESENTATIVE PASSAGE from the copia of Geoffrey Hartman's work is harder than the one Milton or Spenser faced in selecting a topic for their epics. Harder, because of the vast number of possibilities, and not least because of Hartman's status as what we might call a semi-generalist. What one thing could stand in for the whole?

Much of Hartman's life's work was solidly anchored in the Romantic period (British and European), but from early in his career he worked in multiple domains, and that only deepened and heightened as things progressed: it's not just the early essays on Milton (still canonical for students in the field!) or ones on later-nineteenth- or twentieth-century texts but also the formidable command of literary theory and the history of criticism, especially the theory and practice of interpretation (psychoanalytic and otherwise), Holocaust Studies, and Judaic Studies (midrash and more). Very few people are so well respected in so many fields or subdisciplines.

But choose one I must, and I selected the above blockbuster, somewhat programmatic passage, crucial for me (and I imagine for others): Hartman reading Wordsworth about a solitary, not-so-grim reaper and considering the more general paradigm of which it's a moment. One of the remarkable features in the original is the italicized phrase: consciousness of self raised to an apocalyptic pitch. Italics are not so common throughout Hartman's oeuvre but they are rather frequent in Wordsworths Poetry. We are often taught that in good style emphasis is to be indicated or imputed by syntax or phrasing: one shouldn't have to go out of one's way to stress graphically this or that word. But Hartman, in his early magisterial work, is very concerned to get things right and to make sure the reader has paused, if only fleetingly, to note the emphasis and to catch his precise drift. We know that Hartman confesses--and recalls decades later--how his wife Renee thought it advisable to "chasten" his style, but one senses that must have been more for the style of the great and good essays of that period, where the prose is dense with quotations and allusions and whose points are often made by the strategic invocation of poetic phrases, often a little obscure. No such advice seems to have been required for Wordsworth's Poetry, which was chastened in advance, as it were.

The italicized phrase in question is also explicitly a definition so that our attention is doubly commanded, with a kind of rhetorical drum roll to prick up our ears for its content: consciousness of self raised to an apocalyptic pitch. It might seem hard to believe now that there was a time when the matter of consciousness was not thought so central to the group of Romantic writers previously considered to be far more concerned with nature in its upper- or lowercase modes. In foregrounding the functions and forms of consciousness in Wordsworth's Poetry, Hartman was part of a Zeitgeisty movement together with fellow mental-travellers such as de Man and Bloom, as in the collective volume Romanticism and Consciousness. But he was also responding to overlooked aspects of Wordsworth, even ones explicit in the poet's critical-theoretical works. What Hartman sometimes calls "nature consciousness" begins in Wordsworth with a balance of object and subject, but this formation almost of itself becomes self-consciousness, rather as in Locke's Essay concerning Human Understanding where "reflection" turns of its own accord and dynamics into "self-reflection." One way to track the twists and turns of The Prelude would be to register whether a given passage operated primarily as nature-consciousness or self-consciousness, but part of the point of the poem is to display how one tends to lead to the other. The imagination is consciousness of self primarily as positing subject, not as narcissistic mirroring machine: the imagination creates things of its own accord with no necessary referent, autonomous and posited, much as the discourse of geometry is. This is true even if the imagination is responding to nature. But the self is obviously also often there as object, self figuring self, even when the mode or genre hardly lends itself to the autobiographical, as in epic.

Hartman is concerned here to do justice to the "pitch" of Wordsworth's apocalypticism and it becomes clear it's not a matter of Biblical pyrotechnics: no fire and brimstone, no stars falling from the sky. The apocalyptic is usually invoked suggestively, with economy and force, as in a phrase such as "my mind turned round / As with the might of waters," which is not even Biblical but feels quite like it. Kant might have had good reason to complain of the "apocalyptic tone" adopted "recently" by too many of his philosophical contemporaries, but the apocalyptic is far more at home in poetry. After all, any and every claim that the literal Apocalypse has arrived has, to date, been wrong, but poetry's fictionality spares it the charge of being incorrect. There is already in Hartman's paragraph a muting of apocalypse partly because it is faithful to a dialectical movement in Wordsworth: if the Apocalypse can be brought down to earth and to daily matters of self-consciousness, that is not only to raise the stakes of that consciousness but to render the apocalypse less apocalyptic.

There's a similar lowercasing of the key faculty of mind at work and at stake. Hartman at first preserves Wordsworth's own capitalization of Imagination in the famous apostrophic passage from Prelude VI, where that faculty rears its head out of nowhere ("unfathered") to arrest the poet and the poem, which will nonetheless have to gather itself and go on. In reading "The Solitary Reaper" with and against the grain, as it were, of the poem, Hartman detects, via his phenomenological account of Wordsworth's phenomenological account, the trace at the origin of the poem a strong impulse whose source is then "veiled."

This might in general be the force of Wordsworthian narrative in the face of the powerful lyric impulses, of which The Prelude is one immense performance. Though it is exceedingly hard to find a single designation to capture the mode of Hartmans criticism (it's formal, it's literary-historical, etc., etc.), here "phenomenology" is not too bad, and in rereading the book I find the presence of Poulet to be palpable, not least for the desire to do a kind of cognitive mapping. Perhaps one risks creating too homogenous a picture: are the effects of Imagination really "always the same" as proposed above? (Though Hartman is often attentive to the timing of Wordsworth's writing and revisions, there are many passages in his book where Wordsworth's corpus is treated, midrash-like, as something of a simultaneous whole.) Hartman goes on in our passage to enumerate those effects and perhaps sometimes the differences in his catalogue are as important as the similarities. But here and throughout, Hartman's risky semi-generalizations are revelatory, with the texture of his commentary usefully poised halfway between the analytics of New Criticism and the schematics of Frye. In his writing and perhaps even more in classes, Hartman was great at conveying what was happening in a text ("What time is it in the poem?" he used to ask) and thus helped get at the precise texture of the text as well as how it related to its pertinent others. It's one reason why Hartman is, still, happening.

Ian Balfour

York University

A wishful return of the organism to the unorganic, and canceling the tension introduced by consciousness, implies that consciousness is a problematic evolutionary advance, insofar as it increases our sensitivity to, or fails to adequately defend against, trauma--trauma defined as a psychic injury caused by too great an internal or external excitation. Quantitatively so great, in fact, that the ulterior cause cannot be integrated; it is dissociated from the apparent cause or falls altogether outside (beyond?) natural experience. Yet the claim regarding poetry's "high privilege of lasting life / From all internal injury exempt (1850 Prelude 5.67-68)--which, in context, consoles the poet for the thought that books are subject to external forces of destruction--this claim implies a counter-force abetted by Natures "dark / Inscrutable workmanship" that "reconciles" discordant elements. We can also call this counter-force an anti-self-consciousness principle, a balm or homeopathic antidote similar to what is symbolized by Spensers "myrrhe sweete bleeding in the bitter wound" (Faerie Queene, I.i.9).

--"Wordsworth and Metapsychology," lecture, November 8, 2014

A REMARKABLE THING HAPPENED NOVEMBER 8, 2014, at the symposium organized by Joshua Wilner to commemorate the fiftieth anniversary of the publication of Wordsworth's Poetry. Until the last minute, we did not know that Geoffrey Hartman would be able to make it; but he not only came, he came ready to talk. The proceedings were interrupted while Professor Hartman read a revised version of a recently published essay that combines Wordsworth's thoughts on early child development and Freud's metapsychology. Like everything else he has written, it is both startlingly new and impressively consistent with what he has written before.

My passage is from this essay. I think the most interesting and problematic connection to previous work of his concerns anti-self-consciousness. Hartman's first piece on this topic dates from 1962, so a look at a few sentences from 2014 is also an opportunity to look back on more than fifty exciting years. The "defense against trauma" has been a Hartmanian theme throughout those fifty great years, and this recent piece is not the first to suggest that canceling the tension introduced by consciousness may be understood as a kind of death wish. Compare this with what Hartman published in 1977 as "A Touching Compulsion," reissued in 1987 in The Unremarkable Wordsworth. Speaking of the poet's memory of astonishment that the world endured the death of his mother when Wordsworth was but eight, Hartman ventriloquizes: "The troubled astonishment of the child may have expressed a defeated expectation, even perhaps a frustrated death-wish. Nature should not have survived!" (Un W, 22).

What astonishes and inspires me is not the versatility of the concept of a death wish as such but the variety of ways in which Hartman sees Wordsworth rechanneling that death wish into something rich and strange. Already in "Romanticism and Anti-self-consciousness" (originally published in 1962, reprinted in BF), the death wish is a wish redirected: the passage of life to death becomes the passage of childhood to adulthood, and both the trauma and the precarious excitement of contemplating the crossing from death to second life get refigured as the path from innocence to experience, from exile to redemption, from writer's block to artistic creation.

What these various "refigurations" suggest, most fundamentally, is that Wordsworth, even when he was declaring in the Prospectus to The Excursion the transmutation from Milton's heaven and hell to the heights and depths of the mind of man, was half illuminating and half obscuring just what the turn to the unconscious depths of consciousness truly means. For if Romantic poetry is not just poetry about self-consciousness but poetry about the desperate and noble search for anti-self-consciousness, then all the ways in which motives and wishes are misrepresented may lead us to wonder anew at the all the ways art and life avoid death. Hartman's seminal theory of anti-self-consciousness thus becomes the enabling fiction that gives us not just Hartmans own Wordsworth's Poetry but the great edifices built on these refigurations, including such poignant refigurations as David Bromwich's Disowned by Memory, with its crucial understanding that "Nature never did betray the heart that loved her" means "I, William Wordsworth, betrayed Annette Vallon." Among the great heirs of Hartmans anti-self-consciousness I number Christopher R. Miller in The Invention of Evening. How is it, Miller makes us ask anew, that the Immortality Ode can represent sunset as clouds that "Do take a sober colouring from an eye / That hath kept watch o'er mans mortality"? If Wordsworth did not share Miltons faith that "keeping watch is both a human and a divine activity," if Wordsworth's keeping watch derives its metaphoric force from "the act of staying at a deathbed and contemplating mortality," then the "anti-self-consciousness" of the poet is the poignant representation that there is no God, no Nature, keeping watch; that eye keeping watch is the poet's eye that "can bear witness to man's mortality but cannot intervene against it" (Christopher R. Miller, The Invention of Evening: Perception and Time in Romantic Poetry [Cambridge U. Press, 2006], 120 [my italics]). We need only add that if consciousness that the tenor, "the poet's eye," is the consciousness that needs to be evaded, then that glorious sunset, and indeed that whole glorious poem, is lovely yet because of the anti-self-consciousness its imagery provides.

As I see it, Hartman's "anti-self-consciousness" paves the way not just for the phenomenological and psychoanalytic readings to come but for the rich variety of historicist readings that uncover a Wordsworth who "says the thing that is not," to put it in Swiftian terms--a Wordsworth who points to x and means y. The urgency to hide the y can take a whole variety of forms, from saying "O mercy ... If Lucy should be dead!" and meaning "Dorothy isn't dead, but where would I be without her?" to saying "There is a spirit in the woods" and meaning "I feel guilty about shaking down a nut tree as though I had committed an actual rape." These reductions are not meant to be demystifications--certainly not by Hartman, nor by me. It is no less wondrous to contemplate "that uncertain heaven / Received into the bosom of the steady lake" if one senses the overwhelming sensuality of the imagery as pointing to a lack in nature that can only be filled by human sexual experience, if then. At the furthest reach of the new historicists' work, even what Jerome McGann calls "evasion" or "displacement" can be seen as a form of what Hartman calls "anti-self-consciousness." Here is McGann:

In the case of Romantic poems, we shall find that the works tend to develop different sorts of artistic means with which to occlude and disguise their own involvement in a certain nexus of historical relations. This act of evasion, as it were, operates most powerfully whenever the poem is most deeply immersed in its cognitive (i.e., its ideological) materials and commitments. (Jerome J. McGann, The Romantic Ideology: A Critical Investigation [U. of Chicago Press, 1983], 82)

If we grant that both personal and historical trauma can be occasions for "evasion," the radical difference between Hartman and McGann could be reduced to a matter of degree; they would disagree only in the question of which kind of evasion is the most powerful. And they could agree that in Wordsworths greatest poems "the mind has triumphed over its times" (McGann, 88). I do not wish to belie the fundamental difference between Hartman's existential trauma and McGann's sense of history. Yet while respecting the radical swerve that the historicists make against Hartman's more personal Wordsworth history, we can appreciate the fact that perhaps none of the erudite and persuasive historical work could have been possible without the foundation Hartman laid for reading against the grain. McGann: "The idea that poetry, or even consciousness, can set one free of the ruins of history and culture is the grand illusion of every Romantic poet" (91). Let me reformulate this in Hartman's terms: the idea that poetry, in its representation of poetic consciousness, can set one free of the ruins of personal and cultural history is the grand ambition and grand achievement of every extraordinary Romantic poem.

Hartman himself has left one place of honor in the post-Hartmanian anti-self-consciousness trail for Paul Fry, whose Wordsworth and the Poetry of What We Are (2008) may be the apotheosis of anti-self-consciousness thinking in the sense that the fear of self-consciousness is a fear of nothingness against which the great myths of nature as Nature are constructed. Geoffrey Hartman seems to acknowledge what a special heir Paul Fry has become in his magnificent review piece, "Paul Fry's Wordsworth, and the Meaning of Poetic Meaning, or Is It [N]on-Meaning? Letter to a Colleague and Friend" (Partial Answers: Journal of Literature and the History of Ideas 8:1 [2010], 1-22). It is here that Hartman makes one of his characteristically gentle differentiations between those readers who follow the intricacies of anti-self-consciousness poesis and those who insist that the deep truth lies out there, beyond the two consciousnesses of present and personal past:

Critical discourse should not only clarify our notion of what it takes to understand poetry; it should enhance that poetry, in the sense of heightening rather than displacing its self-presence. In the best commentary there is an effect of freedom, of helping a poem escape from imposed contextualizations, the very thing literary scholarship usually insists on. (5)

It is certainly not a New Historicist speaking when "contextualizations" is modified by "imposed." But though the spirit of Hartman's survey of post-Hartmanian Wordsworth criticism is generous, there is still that fine and crucial distinction between criticism that insists on contextualization and that whose aim is "helping a poem escape from imposed contextualizations." Am I ignoring the ahistorical idea that the contextualizations of the critics more interested in the French Revolution than in Wordsworth's evasions of it could not have been the forces that Wordsworth himself derived his motive for metaphor in opposing? Suffice it to say that Hartmans preference for "heightening rather than displacing [the poem's] self-presence" is anti-self-consciousness of the highest order.

I should like to close not by challenging one of the superb "contextual" readings of Wordsworth (such as Alan Liu's reading of Napoleon for Imagination in the crossing of the Alps) but by pressing the "anti-self-consciousness" idea as far as it can go. Consider the disturbing conclusion to the drowned man episode, an episode that becomes far more disturbing as Wordsworth revises it. In the 1799 Prelude, the anti-self-consciousness move is the move away from the traumatic scene to a fog of other possibly equally traumatic ones:
   At length the dead man, 'mid that beauteous scene
   Of trees and hills and water, bolt upright
   Rose with his ghastly face. I might advert
   To numerous accidents in flood or field,
   Quarry or moor, or 'mid the winter snows,
   Distresses and disaster, tragic facts
   Of rural history, that impressed my mind
   With images to which in following years
   Far other feelings were attached--with forms
   That yet exist with independent life,
   And iike their archetypes, know no decay.


If Wordsworth were as good as his word, and always trying to look steadily at his object, the passage would end with "bolt upright / Rose with his ghastly face." But it does not. What follows, "I might advert / To numerous accidents ... " says advert but means "avert": I might avert my eyes from such a terrible, traumatic sight by looking elsewhere at any of the "tragic facts / Of rural history." To stop with "ghastly face" is to stop with self-consciousness, consciousness of death, consciousness that his death is my death and naive love of nature is no more. But Wordsworth does not stop there, and in revising the passage, he moves further away from consciousness to anti-self-consciousness:
   At length, the dead man, 'mid that beauteous scene
   Of trees and hills and water, bolt upright
   Rose with his ghastly face, a spectre shape--
   Of terror even. And yet no vulgar fear,
   Young as I was, a child not nine years old,
   Possessed me, for my inner eye had seen
   Such sights before among the shining streams
   Of fairyland, the forests of romance--
   Thence came a spirit hallowing what I saw
   With decoration and ideal grace,
   A dignity, a smoothness, like the words
   Of Grecian art and purest poesy.

   (1805 Prelude, V.470-81)

The new ending can best be explained by what Hartman, in the passage from the most recent study, calls "canceling the tension introduced by consciousness." We may or may not believe that the "meaning" of the drowned man episode is the power of books to protect us, apotropaically, from the traumas of real life. But thanks to the Hartmanian emphasis on anti-self-consciousness, we can find in this great passage and so many like it not mauvaise foi but genuine, passionate, pathos-filled urgency to put something in place of that traumatic event.

Leslie Brisman

Yale University

What is needed for literary study is a hundred percent of formalism and a hundred percent of critical intuition.

--Beyond Formalism: Literary Essays, 1958-70 (New Haven: Yale U. Press, 1970), 56

My remarks should be read under the rubric: Geoffrey Hartmann, philosopher. We were asked to base our remarks on a touchstone passage, and indeed I am happily doing that. 1 wasn't so happy thinking about doing it, because for me Hartman lives first of all as a spirit rather than as a text. That is, after all, how I encountered him, in the first course he taught upon returning to Yale in the fall of 1967.

I suspect that my undergraduate education was fairly typical. Studying literature meant philology, classification, and appreciation. To this day, I continue to hold onto the first two of those. A year of awed listening at the Free University of Berlin to the formidably demanding and unapproachable Peter Szondi introduced me to the--by me--untrodden and not yet lucid ways of hermeneutics. For all his brilliance and intellectual clarity, however, Szondi remained beholden to the search for a method, with a polemical perfectionism in both literary study and politics, evident in all his writings, though especially so in the posthumous pamphlet defending the 1968 student uprisings. Hartmans writings on politics and on culture (going all the way back to the 1970 essay "The Poet's Politics") breathe a spirit that was new to me, most fully articulated in the critique in The Fateful Question of Culture against the terrorism of clarity and the terrorism of Adamic universality. Studying then at Yale, starting in 1966, with Peter Demetz, Thomas Greene, and Cyrus Hamlin showed me a new respect for and a new approach to craft, culture, and critical thinking. But it was Hartman's arrival the next year that broke open the gates. The pace made all the difference. No one could ever call Hartman slow, and indeed in his essays it's likely to be the fleetness that catches your attention. Stylistically, he's a hurdler. But that very rapidity of mind also gave him the time to linger over poems. We read one or a few poems a week, beginning with two hours mulling over Collins's "Ode to Evening." The experience was distilled into a dense, rapid-fire five pages in "Romantic Poetry and the Genius Loci," but for me the essential Hartman remains in the devotion to pausing and reflecting.

Hartman's philosophical spirit dwells in shadowy realms of thought, remote from the disciplinary perspectives of scholars who have written directly about Wordsworth and philosophy. Hartman's autobiographical memoir A Scholars Tale reports that he came to philosophy somewhat late, apparently reading Hegel's Phenomenology somewhere between Wordsworth's Poetry and Beyond Formalism. His most significant essay around a mainline philosopher is "Remnants of Hegel" in Scars of the Spirit, itself titled with a phrase from Hegel; here Hartman insistently identifies philosophy with spirit--Geist in all its ghostliness--and not with substance. Of course, if you count Derrida and Freud as philosophers, Hartman has written quite a bit about philosophers. But Hartman's label for Derrida is "Monsieur Texte," and philosophy comes last in the subtitle of Saving the Text: Literature/Derrida/Philosophy. Otherwise, as philosophy-centered topics, there remain, so far as I know, two little-noted essays in The Unremarkable Wordsworth: the high-spirited "Elation in Hegel and Wordsworth," where the philosopher comes first, and the (to me) unremarkable "Wordsworth before Heidegger," where he tags along after.

The aphorisms bursting from Hartman's essays are not philosophemes. His "critic's journey," to invoke the title of another collection of his essays, lay from thinking to philosophy rather than from philosophy to thinking, and that has given his criticism its unique expansiveness. I open Wordsworth's Poetry at random to find this passage: the "real value" of The Borderers "is as a drama revealing the perils of the soul in its passage toward individuation, or from a morality based on 'nature' to one based on the autonomous self" (WP, 129). To experience from him the power of the definite and indefinite articles to generalize and abstract rather than to particularize and specify--that was the thrill of the encounter with the teacher as thinker. In this sentence the philosophical counters are "the perils," "the soul," "a morality," and "the autonomous self." But even though Hartman doesn't activate the generic issue at this moment, even "a drama" should set you thinking about how drama generically challenges autonomy and selfhood. Because they embody thought and set you thinking, Hartman's essays rarely seem to end; writing his Criticism in the Wilderness, with the intensity of an Unmediated Vision, absorbed by The Fate of Reading (and later The Fateful Question of Culture) there are no Easy Pieces for him--no easy essays, no easy solutions. That last book, with its obviously ironic title, has a preface that is about difficulty, not ease: "Faith in literary studies is hard to maintain because faith in words is hard to maintain" (EP, xii). We had better take that aphorism to heart. There are no easy answers because there are no easy words; pieces might be easy, or that might be wishful thinking or even sarcastic, but totalities never. And so he rarely gives answers. A rare exception comes from the chapter of Criticism in the Wilderness entitled "Frye, Burke, and Some Conclusions," where Hartman calls art "a radical critique of representation" (112). Representation, that difficult word, promises an immediacy that is anything but unmediated. Though we all surely know Hartman primarily as a critic of poetry, it's important then to turn to his wonderful, too-much-neglected essays on prose fiction; here, for now, "The Heroics of Realism" in Beyond Formalism, that concludes with the dictum, "The author, staying within realism, must keep from too easy an intimacy with creation" (70). The philosopher in Geoffrey Hartman is the critic preserving his distance.

And so I invoke the phrases that have always echoed through my mind, through the decades, the moment in Hartmans writing that always brings his voice back to me. I know that I'm not alone in taking these phrases as pivotal because Hartman himself alludes to them unmistakably in A Scholar's Life (35). "What is needed for literary study is a hundred percent of formalism and a hundred percent of critical intuition." This is the climax of the title essay of Beyond Formalism (56). "Drama," "realism"--such formal terms, not limited to the historical genres that he taught me and so many others to dwell among, are for him an inescapable launching pad. The mystery lies in that other word, "intuition." It is crucial to realize that Hartman meant it not psychologically but in its full philosophical sense. Intuition, looking in, close and hard, but spiritually, not materially--that is for me the essence of the Hartman spirit. I call it philosophical, and so did he, at the end of that very paragraph, perhaps the most programmatic of his career. I'll leave you by quoting those lines, in all their typical intuitive open-endedness, leaving you to puzzle them out: "Categories and forms are man-made before they are authenticated by tradition, and if we think Frye proposed too many terms and Brooks too few, we may have to rethink the whole question of terminology in an arduous, perhaps philosophical way--in fact, to examine the term aspect of terms" (56).

Marshall Brown

University of Washington, Seattle

It is mid-October. In New England the leaves have turned.... Further north many maples have already shed half their gold, a hectic treasure for the children. I see them in the large front yard of an old house, running and shouting ... A woman is raking the leaves, or trying to.... The pile of raked leaves grows, and the children invent a new game. They collapse into the pile, spreading out deliciously, while the woman ... abets their game, and covers them with the still fragrant, light leaves. At first giggles and squeaks, then, as the tumulus rises to a respectable height, total silence. But only for a minute. For, as if on signal, all emerge simultaneously from the leafy tomb, jumping out, laughing, resurrected to the mock surprise of the one who is raking and who patiently begins again.

I am on my way to give a lecture on the Holocaust, when I come across the pastoral scene. What am I doing, I ask myself. How can I talk about such matters, here? I cannot reconcile scenes like this with others 1 know about.

In a fleeting montage, I see or dream 1 see the green, cursed fields at Auschwitz. A cold calm has settled on them. The blood does not cry from the ground. Yet no place, no wood, meadow, sylvan scene will now be the same.

--Holocaust Remembrance: The Shapes of Memory (Cambridge U. Press, 1993), 21-22

I would like to juxtapose two texts that reveal a deep resonance between Geoffrey Hartmans early work and his later work, and perhaps between his work and his life. This resonance says something about the nature of what Hartman has called "literary knowledge," which I find so compelling in his own work.

"Miltons Counterplot" (1958) begins with a pastoral scene that emerges in Paradise Lost at an unexpected moment: it appears in an aside in Book I, after the construction of Pandemonium designed by Mammon, and in the story of a fall. This is the fall of Mulciber, the name by which the Greeks knew Mammon, of whom they fabled:
   How he fell
   From Heav'n ... thrown by angry Jove
   Sheer o'er the Crystal Battlements: from Morn
   To Noon he fell, from Noon to dewy Eve,
   A Summer's day; and with the setting Sun
   Dropt from the Zenith like a falling Star
   On Lemnos th'Aegean Isle. (1.740-46)

Hartman remarks on the peculiarity of the pastoral image, "evoking a fall gradual and cool like the dying of a summer's day, and the sudden, no less aesthetically distant, dropping down of the star" ("Miltons Counterplot," ELH 25.1 [1958]- 1-12, 1. Passages from Paradise Lost are cited from Hartman's text). Why the instance of pastoral here, he asks, and why, we might add, is Hartman's imagination caught by a pastoral scene that emerges in a passage framed by a dependent clause, putting a brief but passing space within the activities of hell? In an elegant reading that points to the echoes of the biblical Creation story, Hartman will discover within this passage the presence of what he calls "the counterplot" of Paradise Lost, Milton's indirectly expressed "feeling for this divine imperturbability, for God's omnipotent knowledge that the creation will outlive death and sin" (3). Emerging in the counterplot is the omniscient and cool perspective of what Coleridge described, speaking of Miltons imagination, as an observer standing ab extra in Miltons text, which provides, in Hartmans words, the poem's ultimate "calm and often cold radiance" as it also portrays the threat to all creation (5).

Hartman's own imagination seems to respond both to this calm and to the indirectness by which the pastoral moments occur in this story, emerging mostly as counterplot and quite often through the indirection of the Miltonic simile. At the end of Book I Milton offers an unfolding series of four similes of the angels in Pandemonium, ending in two that describe their sudden diminution from those "who seemed / In bigness to surpass Earth's giant sons" to "smallest dwarfs / Like that Pigmean Race / Beyond the Indian Mount":
   or Fairy Elves,
   Whose midnight Revels, by a Forest side
   Or Fountain some belated Peasant sees,
   Or dreams he sees, while overhead the Moon
   Sits Arbitress, and nearer to the Earth
   Wheels her pale course, they on their mirth and dance
   Intent, with jocund Music charm his ear;
   At once with joy and fear his heart rebounds. (1.780-88)

Hartman notes again how "from the power and pomp of hell we have slowly slipped into a pastoral," but he also suggests a wavering, an "inner combat" in the mind of the peasant who '"sees, / Or dreams he sees' something barely distinguishable from the pallid dark, obscure as the new moon through clouds" (9). Both an "intensity of calm" and a "mind balanced on a critical pivot" are joined here; and even the moon, the "Arbitress" of this scene and "a last transformation of the image of the observer ab extra" (10), remains "uncertain ... incorruptible yet spotty" (10). It is as if the indirectness of the counterplot, within the simile and through the complexity of its figures, reflects the uncertain balance between the unseen but all-seeing omniscience of God and the mortal struggle for the fate of creation. Though in another simile in Book IV, Hartman will ultimately locate the final figure of which the moon is just an "imperfect sign," the figure of "th'Eternal" who weighs creation and sees the balance that has been and will in the end be restored to it. Hartman, too, in his interpretation of the similes, works to find, or restore, balance between indirection and revelation.

Hartman's analysis of the simile at the end of book IV--in which the angel squadron confronting Satan in Paradise is compared to a bearded grove of ears bending in the wind, which figure modulates to the image of the plowman standing doubting before the "hopeful sheaves" on his threshing floor--focuses first on the status of the uncertainty and doubt inscribed in the simile, but ends with the implicit hopefulness of the appearance of "th'Eternal" weighing (and overweighting) his scales. The indirect hope of Hartman's own writing can perhaps be felt in his transmutation of Milton's earth that is balanced with air to the phrase "balanced earth" in Hartman's reference to this passage. The Miltonic "hopeful sheaves" reappear, interestingly, in Hartman's discussion, in "Adam on the Grass with Balsamum" (ELH 36.1 [1969]), of a Virgilian intertext in another part of Paradise Lost, in which the analysis now emphasizes the nature and importance of interpretation.

It was thus striking to me, many years later, reading Hartman's 1993 Holocaust Remembrance: The Shapes of Memory, to come across his own pastoral moment at the end of his "Introduction: Darkness Visible," a pastoral that is now, itself, interrupted by a pause:

It is mid-October. In New England the leaves have turned.... Further north many maples have already shed half their gold, a hectic treasure for the children.... A woman is raking the leaves, or trying to.... The pile of raked leaves grows, and the children ... collapse into the pile, spreading out deliciously, while the woman ... abets their game, and covers them with the still fragrant, light leaves. At first giggles and squeaks, then, as the tumulus rises to a respectable height, total silence. But only for a minute. For, as if on signal, all emerge simultaneously from the leafy tomb....

In a fleeting montage I see or dream I see the green, cursed fields at Auschwitz. A cold calm has settled on them.

What struck me upon first reading this--the pause of silence that, as I emphasized in my interview with Hartman that year, seemed to call up the "interrupted pastoral" of Wordsworth's "Boy of Winander"--is now doubled by another surprise, the recognition that he actually returns, in this scene, to his earliest work on Milton, echoed also in the Introduction's title (Cathy Caruth, "An Interview with Geoffrey Hartman" [1994], reprinted in Caruth, Listening to Trauma: Conversations with Leaders in the Theory and Treatment of Catastrophic Experience [Baltimore: Johns Hopkins U. Press, 2014]). Hartman too, as Milton's shepherd, "sees or dreams he sees," but now the scene that materializes is not a pastoral setting of faery elves but "the green, cursed fields at Auschitwiz," a "corruption," as he goes on to call it, and, we could add, a perversion of the pastoral ethos. The "cold radiance and calm" of Paradise Lost have been rewritten into the "cold calm" that has settled on the "cursed fields" of Auschwitz, a foreboding that "no sylvan scene will now be the same." Yet Hartman's own indirection refuses a simple overweighting of the balance of his earlier work. Does he simply rewrite Milton's shepherd's half-dreaming vision into the stark reality of the Holocaust referent? Do the interrupting thoughts of Auschwitz rewrite the counterplot in terms of creation's ultimate destruction? Or is the frame here not the pastoral, interrupted by Auschwitz, but the walk to the lecture, in which he is gently waylaid by a moment he cannot resist and can write only in terms of resurrected joy? Historical and literary knowledge are entangled here, and the balance--or its overweighting--can be found only in our reading.

Cathy Caruth

Cornell University

What is to be done with the cinema animal: how it can be nurtured, but also trained? --The Longest Shadow: In the Aftermath of the Holocaust (Indiana U. Press, 1996), 91

The impetus for this piece arises partly from an extended conversation with Geoffrey Hartman, over a leisurely lunch, when he was Visiting Professor at Chicago around the year 2000. At one point, with characteristic generosity, he asked me what I was thinking about, and I told him it was a project on cinema and the Schillerian idea of the sentimental. I told him I was trying to produce a kind of archaeology of the techniques of shot / reverse-shot at the heart of the classical narrative system of American cinema by returning to late eighteenth-century understandings of sympathetic reflection. I was surprised to find that he quickly warmed to the topic.

He reminded me that he had been working for some years at this point with the Holocaust Survivors Film Project, which, thanks in part to his intervention, had come to be archived at Yale. He reported that shot / reverseshot techniques had emerged as a complex technical-ethical problem in the years since he had become involved with the Projects efforts. This was especially so, he said, because of the precedent of Claude Lanzmann's epic documentary, Shoah, and his principled stand to remain utterly invisible in his role as interviewer. Lanzmann would abide no reaction shots, no sign of the other face. Indeed, viewers of Shoah may recall that it is kept strictly in the filmic present tense, in that Lanzmann included no historical footage from the period, no photographs, and so on. This had not been the path chosen by the group in New Haven who were responsible for the Holocaust Survivors Film Project, and Hartman was eloquent in his reflections on the different effects achieved in the two approaches. In particular he was curious about a consequence of keeping the viewers attention so squarely on the face of the person bearing witness. It was discovered that viewers found it intolerable, he explained, and eventually Lanzmann deemed it necessary to cut away periodically, not in reverse shot to the face of the interviewer, but to some other image--it almost didn't matter what it was, he said (and I'm sure I am inventing a memory of my own when I recall his filling in his phrase, "no matter what images," with the exemplification "rocks, and stones, and trees").

I should not have been surprised by the turn this conversation took, for it turns out Hartman had been publishing reflections for some years on the relationship between representation, mediation, and the cultural dynamics of sympathy. There are several essays about this connection in The Longest Shadow: In the Aftermath of the Holocaust (1996), including explicit reflections on Lanzmann's Shoah, on the Holocaust Survivors Film Project, and--how could I have forgotten this?--on Spielbergs Schindler's List. In that essay, "The Cinema Animal," a title borrowed from Alexander Kluge's coinage, Kinotier, Hartman had already reflected about cinema, the Holocaust, and the limits of representation in relation to a thought that appears early in the essay: "We have learned that technique is never just technique: it retains a responsibility toward the represented subject" (LS, 82).

Although the essay gives Spielberg his due, at least in what Hartman calls the "entirely successful" effort to be "a film that conveys to the public at large the horror of the extermination" (82), Hartman ultimately finds Spielberg's gaze to be "problematic" and specifically in ways that have to do with the responsibility of technique to the represented subject. The inquiry into what makes him "uneasy" with Spielberg leads Hartman to open up that larger question about what is to be done with the cinema animal. This in turn leads him to offer some comparative analysis of Spielberg's cinematic decisions with both Lanzmann and the Holocaust Survivors Film Project. It is, says Hartman, precisely the "premium placed on visuality" (83) that he later realized caused his uneasiness with Spielberg's film. Reformulated in a Joycean allusion, the problem is "[t]he 'ineluctable modality of the visual'" (85). And in suggesting that Spielberg might have something to learn from Lanzmann and the Holocaust Survivors Film Project, Hartman intimates that that something would have to do with observing the limits of that modality so as to help counteract its "evacuation of inwardness" (85).

In a second essay from The Longest Shadow, "Holocaust, Testimony, Art, and Trauma," Hartman returns to some of these questions, beginning with a similar kind of admonition about questions of filmic technique: "It should not be assumed ... that questions about representing the extreme are only technical in nature (how can we find the means strong enough to depict what happened)" (151). Here he elaborates the meaning of "inwardness" by way of a question about "sensory numbing" (157) or "desensitization" and this new question is quite pointedly posed: "This desensitization I have described leads to a rational fear: Is our capacity for sympathy finite and soon exhausted?" (152). This question from The Longest Shadow clearly preoccupied him, for in his very next collection of essays, The Fateful Question of Culture (1997), the question in turn morphs into the one that Hartman calls "the sympathy paradox." What is arguably the central essay of that volume parses it flatly: "The paradox of the sympathetic imagination is that the more successful an expanding sensibility becomes, the more evidence we find of actual insensibility." And the paradox leads directly to a further question: "Must we then consider human beings callous by nature?" (FQC, 144). Hartman's teasing out of both the paradox and the question in this essay takes him to the heart of the matter for the volume as a whole.

Hartman's account of sympathy was central to his taking up the question of culture, one that had of course emerged with force in humanities work over the course of his career, not least in the field of "cultural studies." It had of course generated by the mid-1990s both the intense engagements with identity politics (what Hartman calls the new discipline of "xenology") and the debates routinely called the "culture wars" (157). Toward the end of this essay, he turns to "the academic idea of culture" and raises a question about it, not to "mock the debate on culture in the universities," but to suggest an awareness of how that idea and those debates were "influenced," as he puts it, by certain failures associated with the sympathy paradox (157). The "sympathy paradox teaches," he says, that, feelings being "finite," they can become "overinvested, dogmatic, even schizoid" (156). The perception that compassion is skewed or stingy in its chosen objects "can then turn into a deliberate and dangerous coldness and seek to justify itself ideologically" (157). It is the turn to Ideologiekritik that disquiets him in ways that lead him explicitly to reintroduce the question of Holocaust studies into the mix at the close of this essay, and also to allude to myriad other issues associated with "xenology," including, perhaps most saliently, "orientalism."

The issues broached in these interlocking mid-1990s essays are enormous, and they have by no means gone away. What partly interests me about them here is the chain of connections that links the question of the Holocaust to media theory, the ethics of techniques of representation in film and cinema, and to the nexus of questions around the sympathy paradox. But what further interests me is that, in his seminal essay on the sympathy paradox, Hartman returns to Wordsworth to gain his bearings. Indeed, the essay actually frames the sympathy paradox itself by way of Wordsworths definition of genius, cited in its opening sentence as a "widening of the sphere of human sensibility for the delight, honor and benefit of human nature." Wordsworths "Old Man Traveling" is just one of several of his works that are offered as "exemplary" approaches to the problem.

It is scarcely surprising that Hartman should return to Wordsworth in this way. "I have never been able to get away from Wordsworth for any length of time," he announces at the start of The Unremarkable Wordsworth (xxv). It strikes me, though, and this is the small point I wish to make in these brief reflections, that the Wordsworth to whom he returns to think through the problems of the cinema animal and the culture wars is very different from the one that he gave us in the great book of 1964. That brilliant book, with its focus on the dialectic of apocalypse and akedah in the constitution of the Wordsworthian imagination, was, like its aptly titled predecessor, The Unmediated Vision (1954), ultimately very little concerned with questions of culture, media, or, more broadly, historical mediation.

One measure of the difference is to consider how little the Preface to Lyrical Ballads appears in those early commentaries on Wordsworth and how much the later Hartman comes to think about Wordsworth in the terms the latter lays out in the Preface and related writings. And here I mean not only Wordsworth the theorist of sympathy and sensibility, but also Wordsworth the rhetorician and precocious media analyst of what it is fair to call the "culture" into which he introduced his famous experiments at the close of the 1790s. This is the Wordsworth who wrote of the unprecedented causes now acting to reduce the mind "to a state of almost savage torpor," and producing "a craving for extraordinary incident which the rapid communication of intelligence hourly gratifies." This is the Wordsworth who singled out the aggressive spectacles of the nation's "theatrical exhibitions" as exacerbating this "degrading thirst after outrageous stimulation," and who wrote elsewhere about tyranny of the bodily eye, "the most despotic of our senses," or of the new shows of London in the 1790s, like the panorama, as striving vainly for a realism both absolute and complete.

Hartman's reflections on the cinema animal and the media culture of our moment echo such language everywhere: "images of violence relayed hourly by the media" (LS, 95), the "strong images" of the society of the spectacle (94), the tendency of current media to "fixate ... imagination more than the formulas of oral tradition" (85), and the tendency of true artists to "rebel ... against the tyranny of the eye" (84) and to acknowledge the proper limits of representation. Indeed, Hartman seems to reprise the very problem of how art, facing the forces of an exaggerated apparatus of representation, manages what he calls authenticity in a way that is itself taken over from Wordsworth's engagement with a specific media culture.

How to explain this subtle but decisive alteration in Hartman's Wordsworth? His preoccupations are almost exclusively literary through the essays collected in Criticism in the Wilderness: The Study of Literature Today (1980). What happened? We find a clue to the shift in the autobiographical title essay of The Longest Shadow, where he narrates his history with the Holocaust: how as a child he managed to survive it, how as a young scholar he had not yet turned back to it: "Throughout the fifties and sixties I remained future-oriented" (LS, 19). It was, he says, "at the end of the 1970s," when older survivors of the camps "allowed the past a more conscious, public existence," that he himself began to make common cause with them--in the Holocaust Survivors Film Project (20). Other factors matter--the medium concept itself underwent rapid development in the decade and a half after 1964. But some of the searching essays of the next two decades, especially those of the mid-1990s, suggest that this late 1970s moment, this new project, and perhaps a revised understanding of the poet whose abiding genius always guided him, may have led him to think anew about the fateful question of culture and about the training of the voracious cinema animal.

James Chandler

University of Chicago

Did I, through my commentary on Glas, aspire to a greater measure of philosophical dignity? Was I too seduced by the siren of philosophy? Yes. But a strange thing happened. Glas, as a "Discours de la Folie," nourished by an inky humour resembling a melancholy milk, took its toll and convinced me of the foolishness of my ambition. For it confirmed that the ideal of totality, embodied in the concept of a perfect symbol, a magisterial book, a Hegelian type of world view, or any purity-perplex mandating a debabelized sign system, or the complete harmony between theory and practice--this ideal, especially when insisting, paradoxically, on the greatest possible genre and gender sublimation, was not only impossible to achieve but also dangerous. Dangerous, because of its wish for a total integration resulting in the exclusion, denial, or stigmatizing of heterogeneous elements, "le reste."

--"Minima Derridalia, or, Homage to Glas (thirty years after its first publication)," (conference paper, Anwerp, Bel., May 2005).

This is what Geoffrey Hartman told us in Antwerp in May 2005, at a conference organized by Vivian Liska called Saving Sirens: Knowledge and Seduction in the Age of In-Difference. In the published version of this piece, "Homage to Glas," the passage is pretty much identical, except for the second rhetorical question, which has disappeared ("Homage to Glas," Critical Inquiry 33 [2007]: 344-61, 359. Hartman sent me the earlier version--then called "Minima Derridalia, or, Homage to Glas (Thirty years after its first publication)"--via email on April 25, 2005). Though the answer is still "Yes."

What does it mean to be seduced by the siren of philosophy? The classical sirens' song not only is enchanting, charming, beguiling, sweet, but it also, and perhaps ultimately really only, produces wisdom--not just a knowledge of things present and past but an understanding of all that will ever befall across the world. For Hartman, philosophy's siren song indeed seems to sound like this oversong of total understanding--the oversong, for instance, of "begriffne Geschichte" sung through Schiller at the close of Hegel's Phanomenologie des Geistes at the "Schadelstatte des absoluten Geistes," much as Homer's sirens sing their song amidst "a great heap of dead men's bones ... with the flesh still rotting off them" (Georg Wilhelm Friedrich Hegel, Phanomenologie des Geistes, Kapitel 93, http://gutenberg.; Homer, The Odyssey, trans. Samuel Butler, Book XII, The skeletal props incongruously underscore the unimaginable sacrificial or apocalyptic logic of this ultimate metamonumental lyric, the first and last to abandon language without trace by fully imagining and thereby denying the touch of time at the far side of what remains--skull, bones, rotting flesh, trash, text.

Derrida's discourse "took its toll" and stopped Hartman's ears with trash, milk, semen, excrement, ashes, vomit, history, world, text. Yet the phantasm of philosophy still lashes itself to the mast, ears pricked up to its own end-song. Unless we think back further and listen not to the lies of Ulysses (not for nothing one of Hegel's favourite figures for the travails of the Spirit) but to the lyre of Orpheus, sounding the knell on the supersong of the sirens by singing it back into undersong--say, literature. Scylla and Charibdis loom ahead. The siren song of philosophy, the lethal lyric of total integration, is scrambled by the rest of literature. The rest that mobilizes and is mobilized by literature. At least that literature which is not already philosophy--which would imply that there is literature and the rest of literature, and that the difference between them involves the measure of philosophy. What, then, as we will never stop asking, is literature? If philosophy seduces by envisioning endsound, literature leaks light on the unsound. But matters are more complicated than that.

In "Homage to Glas" the seductive "siren of philosophy" has disappeared. But a strange thing happened. The siren survives a shift in the scene of seduction: "Literature is motivated by, if not defined as, le reste"--yet this rest knows no rest: "it proves strangely seductive; this heterological garbage composed of relics or rejects sings like a siren" (361). Sampling snatches from the oversong of philosophy, the "alchemy" of late capitalist dialectics tolls "shit into gold," a troubling thought Hartman proposes to leave to his readers' "(or Don DeLillo's) imagination" (361) as a legacy of sinister siren seduction that is now literary as much as it is philosophical. The 2005 version also registers the treasure trove of trash but does not sound its siren song.

So a stereo set of sirens, monitored by Derrida and DeLillo, bookends the two centuries of our modernity, defining that modernity as the careless reconsumption of more of the same on a pointless stretch from conceptual totality to trash culture, the difference between them being delusive. Geoffrey Hartman's inspiring life in thought and text has been the restless recognition and declination of this condition on grounds of other sound. Recognition and declination, not denial, for no sound is ever untouched by siren seduction. Philology is the vocation for those who seek to trace and erase this touch, and few have modulated its call for our postromantic modernity with more genuine fidelity than Hartman.

In his commemoration of Derrida, Hartman recalls how Glas hit him when he was working on Christopher Smart, "a great British extracanonical poet considered quite crazy by his contemporaries" (347), and he registers the congeniality of Smart, Joyce, surrealism, dada, Derrida, et les autres. He does not name that other other he has arguably given more labour of language than any other, but he's there when he tells us "all biography for Derrida is thanatography, shadowed even in joy by mutability and death" (353). The shadow is Wordsworth's, cast over the quarter century or so that separates "Homage to Glas" from Hartman's breathtaking reading of "Literature/Derrida/Philosophy" in Saving the Text, whose final chapter, "Words and Wounds," seeks to recover something in literature, more precisely perhaps in poetry, that risks being lost, or "cheapen[ed]," in the "movement of liberation" (120) of Derridas writing: the "affectional power of words, their interpersonal impact" (120), an as yet "undefined, therapeutic element" related, significantly, to "closure" (150).

Reading the most famous of Wordsworth's Lucy poems, the one that doesn't name her, Hartman suggests adopting its signature verb, "seal"--"A slumber did my spirit seal"--as a possible approximation of such closure:

Perhaps we should adopt Wordsworth's expression "seal." For we can give a modest description of the healing influence of words by associating the latter with the sense of closure. Something is resolved; impulses are assuaged; haunting persons, words, or images are re-memorated until we are calmed and refreshed rather than exhausted. (148)

It takes some nerve to reclaim poetry's power of composure in the face of Derridas discourse of dissemination: it gives no thing outside the text, yet the text still composes its outside--you, me.
   A slumber did my spirit seal;
   I had no human fears;
   She seem'd a thing that could not feel
   The touch of earthly years.

   No motion has she now, no force;
   She neither hears nor sees;
   Roll'd round in earth's diurnal course,
   With rocks, and stones, and trees, (quoted in ST, 147)

Hartman is rigorously suspicious of the anaesthesising effects of the aesthetic courted by Wordsworths lyric--"The line between this calm that seals and renews, and apathy or vacancy of spirit, remains precariously indeterminate--in Wordsworth too" (148). For there is always the inflection that it is the spirit as siren that seals--approves, recommends, ordains, prescribes--the slumber rather than the other way around, rewriting history and her story by erasing all memory of fears felt for Lucy as a touching and touchable human force and reinventing her as the nameless thing she never was but now always must have been, unmoving and unmoved in a timeless cycle impervious to the sorrows and the gaze of Orpheus. As it may be the spirit as countersiren that overwhelms the eye not with Nature but with rocks roll'd round in diurnal debris--the difference between them being delusive yet again. With Derrida, Hartman reminds us that "The work of writing, like that of grieving, knows no closure" ("Homage," 360), and that "the diction of philosophy grows as many flowers, or luscious weeds, as literature" (347). Yet in his comments on Wordsworth's writing a knowledge of closure seems to unflower language into a sterile stillness untouched by text.

Wordsworth quiets language till myth is present only in "unheard" form and irony is the point-zero between curse and blessing. Wordsworth's second stanza, as if a new sealing had taken place, is tonally unreadable, leaving consciousness where it was, strangely intact like Lucy herself. Irony leans toward silence. The language of flowers recedes into a language of nature too deep for tears but also too deep for ears. It does not cry or cry out: there is no "final finding of the ear" (Wallace Stevens). This muteness, however, is close to a mutilation, a "blinding" of the ear and an ultimate defense against the unquiet imagination. (ST, 147-48)

I don't think I should ever fully understand this. May it haunt us as Isaac Rosenberg tears open the wound again so Geoffrey Hartman can teach us to read the justice it will never be done.
   Burnt black by strange decay
   Their sinister faces lie,
   The lid over each eye,
   The grass and coloured clay
   More motion have than they,
   Joined to the great sunk silences.

   --Isaac Rosenberg, "Dead Mans Dump" (1917), 56-61

Ortwin de Graef

University of Leuven

Its motion is, in fact, part of the magic. Time lapses so gently here: we pass from the fullness of the maturing harvest to the stubble plains without experiencing a cutting edge. If time comes to a point in "To Autumn" it is only at the end of the poem, which verges (more poignant than pointed) on a last gathering.'

--"Poem and Ideology: A Study of Keats's 'To Autumn,"' in The Fate of Reading (U. of Chicago Press, 1975), 127

Geoffrey Hartman's work began, at its most revolutionary, in a rethinking of Wordsworth's relations to nature. Between Unmediated Vision and Wordsworth's Poetry, 1787-1814, but perhaps already incipient in his readings in the former, is consciousness as a force that impedes the unmediated vision, and that remains obscure to any poetic mediation. The bond between self and nature is darkened, obstructed, by "consciousness" understood as "death": "Growing further into consciousness means a simultaneous development into death" (WP, 21). And he adds, prefiguring de Man's 1967 Gauss reading of "Boy of Winander," that "the poet ... knows that consciousness is always of death" (WP, 22).

Hartman's encounter with Keats is compelling for the way in which he underscores, simultaneously, Keats's intense relation to nature and his relation to death. The essay from which this quotation is taken, "Poem and Ideology: A Study of Keats's 'To Autumn,"' opens with a statement that "consciousness almost disappears into the poem." The "almost" is interesting, because it signals the kind of wavering that marks Keats, and that marks Hartman's sensitivity to Keats's and to his own understanding of the difficult movement between "nature" and "death"--because "death" is not "nature," but "death" is not "consciousness" either, because it (death) is its (consciousness's) vanishing. Keats's "Now more than ever seems it rich to die" in "Nightingale" steps back from the brink. "This Living Hand" leaps forward, foreshadows the ghostly trace of writing. But "To Autumn" binds the "almost" living and the "almost" dead in a vision of nature at this brink: a wailful choir that is borne aloft or sinks, and that does so by the accidence of wind, attended by the sounds of natures breath. This is as pure an elegy as we get, not severed by the scythe of consciousness. It is, as Hartman starts suggesting in his reading of Rilkes "Erwachsene," "the possibility of a pure physical fruit, growing by secret growth, independent of human will, suddenly ripe" (UV, 83).

But it is a long route from Hartmans Rilke in Unmediated Vision to his Keats in Fate of Reading. In the former, the visionary is a bodily experience ("wenn auch nur einmal: / irdisch gewesen zu sein, scheint nicht wiederrufbar" [Even if once to have been one with the earth seems irrevocable]) that in a sense short-circuits consciousness, transcends it. Hartman focuses on the verb "tragen" and the gesture it invokes of bearing forth, an organic metaphor he associates with Eurydice and later with Orpheus: "For he, the modern Orpheus, knows nothing but experience and the unmediated force of experience" (UV, 95). There is no question that the Orphic movement toward Eurydice is also a movement toward death, but in Hartmans early reading "death" becomes "irdisch gewesen," a physical and visionary oneness with the earth. Even the text is not metaphorical mediation but "body" (UV, 91).

Hartmans reading of Rilke could well encompass Keats's downward movement towards the dark loamy richness of earth, the branches fraught with the weight of fruit, sleep as the gentle embalmer of the soft midnight, the mosslain Dryads lulled to sleep, the ripeness of the drowsy hour, the embalmed darkness and verdurous glooms and winding mossy ways: there is a photo shot here of richness and fruition indistinguishable from extinction.

But that is not entirely Keats, and Hartman will come to Keats upon his own fruition, in The Fate of Reading: the Keats whose anguish is wakeful, whose sorrows glut themselves on nature, and who asks, in "Ode to Indolence," at the point at which his pulse "grows less," why the figures he invokes might not have left his sense "unhaunted quite of all but--nothingness."

Between Unmediated Vision and Fate of Reading, Hartman engages that nothingness--does so by way of an imagining "trembling on the brink of the real" (WP, 11), does so by linking the child's "tumultuous mimicry" to a recognition that death lies at either side of the divide: "absorption by nature" or consciousness as a "development of death" (WP, 21). It is that development that flourishes (as in comes to fruition, as in the fruit of death) in Hartman's readings of Wordsworth and, two books later, in his reading of Keats.

Keats is very close to Rilke on the subject of "ripeness to the core," but ripeness always predicated on mortality: mists, mellowness, moss--none is unhaunted by nothingness. Hartmans movement between Rilke's "irdisch gewesen" and Keats's "last gathering" lies in his readings of Freud in between. Freud tells us that "it is indeed impossible to imagine our own death; and whenever we attempt to do so, we can perceive that we are indeed still present as spectators" (Sigmund Freud, "Thoughts on War and Death II," The Standard Edition of the Complete Psychological Works, trans. and ed. James Strachey [London: Hogarth, 1957-75], 14:289). Keats peers over this abyss, moves into its shadows, gluts his sorrows on nature as mortality. Wordsworth, always more reticent and more in tune with Hartman's subtlety and suppleness, seems to glide between the live boy intimate with nature and the dead boy interred in it, but the jolt of death (and in between the stanzas) is there: "mute."

Keats's "To Autumn," in contrast, is full of sounds, especially the sounds that come at day's end, at life's end: lambs full grown, crickets, gnats, and most important, the twitter of swallows. Their sound, though, their twitter, is not the telling thing--their motion in space is: not twitter, but a gathering that will slowly swoop downward as day sinks. Hartman's text on Keats follows this motion that Wallace Stevens will term "downward to darkness on extended wings" and that captures the Keatsian intimacy between a movement whose circling slowness presages an ending and the resistance (even if acceptance, resistance) to that movement with the extended wings of the poem. Hartman listens to the muteness of that upward wind and reads "To Autumn" first as a dream of "widening speculation," a "westering" that signals "imaginative growth" (FR, 129), and, then, in the final finding of the ear, "a chill wind ... an airiness close to emptiness ... a surmise of death rather than fruitfulness ... a cry uttered by the air itself" (FR, 132).

In his early readings of Orpheus, Hartman's Eurydice is "the winter of concealment" (UV, 83), and one is tempted to hear behind "concealment" its opposite, revelation in Rilke's sense of "irdisch gewesen." But in his Wordsworth, Hartman teaches us that the psychic and textual layers promise revelations that cannot take place, that make us doubt any sense of readerly arrival, because "arrival" entails not merely encountering death but a conscious encompassing of it, of one's own disappearance: "widening speculations." Hartman's Wordsworth and Keats suggest the infinite depths Orpheus traverses without ever arriving, or if arriving never having moved to that center of the ripening fruit: the flowering perhaps, but not the ripening. The hesitation between them is the "sliding center" ("centre qui se deplace") in Blanchot's reading of Orpheus: a search for Eurydice, a search for the "plenitude of life," a search for "the other night" that turns out to be "dissimulation," the search past all those layers, none of which ripen into the full experience of mortality except perhaps in the severed head of Orpheus singing (Maurice Blanchot, The Space of Literature, trans. Ann Smock [U. of Nebraska Press, 1982], 171-76).

But if ripening without reaching the point of fruition were as close to an arrival as one gets, or as close as one gets to grasping the question of mortality, then Hartman gets there in his meditation on Keats's "To Autumn." From fullness to maturation to its withering--without experiencing a "cutting edge" (Friedrich Nietzsche, The Gay Science, trans. Walter Kaufmann [New York: Vintage, 1974], 168), without the absolute divide between the living and the dead that Nietzsche and Blanchot decry--what could be gentler or more insistently human than Hartmans consideration of the way "time" "lapses." This is the edge that no longer "cuts," between ending and fulfillment, between breathing and the space where breathing stops. This lapse is the breath we call literature, or, in Hartmans case, "criticism."

Helen Regueiro Elam

University at Albany, State University of New York
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Title Annotation:p. 139-172
Author:Ferguson, Frances; Goodman, Kevis
Publication:Philological Quarterly
Article Type:Essay
Geographic Code:1USA
Date:Mar 22, 2014
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