Lyric Orientations: Hoelderlin, Rilke, and the Poetics of Community - Signale: Modern German Letters, Cultures, and Thought (Hardback)Hannah Vandegrifte Eldridge (author)
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In Lyric Orientations, Hannah Vandegrift Eldridge explores the power of lyric poetry to stir the social and emotional lives of human beings in the face of the ineffable nature of our mortality. She focuses on two German-speaking masters of lyric prose and poetry: Friedrich Hoelderlin (1770-1843) and Rainer Maria Rilke (1875-1926). While Hoelderlin and Rilke are stylistically very different, each believes in the power of poetic language to orient us as social beings in contexts that otherwise can be alienating. They likewise share the conviction that such alienation cannot be overcome once and for all in any universal event. Both argue that to deny the uncertainty created by the absence of any such event (or to deny the alienation itself) is likewise to deny the particularly human condition of uncertainty and mortality.By drawing on the work of Stanley Cavell, who explores how language in all its formal aspects actually enables us to engage meaningfully with the world, Eldridge challenges poststructuralist scholarship, which stresses the limitations-even the failure-of language in the face of reality. Eldridge provides detailed readings of Hoelderlin and Rilke and positions them in a broader narrative of modernity that helps make sense of their difficult and occasionally contradictory self-characterizations. Her account of the orienting and engaging capabilities of language reconciles the extraordinarily ambitious claims that Hoelderlin and Rilke make for poetry-that it can create political communities, that it can change how humans relate to death, and that it can unite the sensual and intellectual components of human subjectivity-and the often difficult, fragmented, or hermetic nature of their individual poems.
Publisher: Cornell University Press
Number of pages: 232
Weight: 482 g
Dimensions: 229 x 152 x 20 mm
"I find myself in complete agreement with the move, in Lyric Orientations, to employ the work of the philosopher Stanley Cavell in approaching Friedrich Hoelderlin and Rainer Maria Rilke. Reading Hoelderlin and Rilke within this philosophical framework allows Hannah Vandegrift Eldridge to suggest a fresh, much needed, and highly convincing alternative to the dominant Hoelderlin and Rilke scholarship of recent decades that has focused on poetic expression as marking the difficulty if not inability of language to engage the world. Whereas philosophers such as Heidegger and Derrida and literary critics such as Paul de Man or Werner Hamacher read the work of Hoelderlin and Rilke as marking a tension between language and its referents, and thus between poetic language and the realm of living, acting, speaking human beings, Eldridge displays how Hoelderlin and Rilke actually offer in their work manners of meaningful engagement with and active participation in the world."-- Amir Eshel, Edward Clark Crossett Professor of Humanistic Studies, Stanford University
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