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Material Events

Paul de Man and the Afterlife of Theory

Material Events by Tom Cohen
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Renowned contributors use the late work of this crucial figure to open new speculations on "materiality." A "material event," in one of Paul de Man’s definitions, is a piece of writing that enters history to make something happen. This interpretation hovers over the publication of this volume, a timely reconsideration of de Man’s late work in its complex literary, critical, cultural, philosophical, political, and historical dimensions.A distinguished group of scholars responds to the problematic of "materialism" as posed in Paul de Man’s posthumous final book, Aesthetic Ideology. These contributors, at the forefront of critical theory, productive thinking, and writing in the humanities, explore the question of "material events" to illuminate not just de Man’s work but their own. Prominent among the authors here is Jacques Derrida, whose extended essay “Typewriter Ribbon: Limited Inc (2)” returns to a celebrated episode in Rousseau’s Confessions that was discussed by de Man in Allegories of Reading. The importance of de Man’s late work is related to a broad range of subjects and categories and—in Derrida’s provocative reading of de Man’s concept of "materiality"—the politico-autobiographical texts of de Man himself. This collection is essential reading for all those interested in the present state of literary and cultural theory. Contributors: Judith Butler, T. J. Clark, Jacques Derrida, Barbara Johnson, Ernesto Laclau, Arkady Plotnitsky, Laurence A. Rickels, and Michael Sprinker.
University of Minnesota Press; January 2001
395 pages; ISBN 9780816691760
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Title: Material Events
Author: Tom Cohen; Barbara Cohen; J. Hillis Miller
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