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Legacies of Paul de Man$
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Marc Redfield

Print publication date: 2007

Print ISBN-13: 9780823227600

Published to Fordham Scholarship Online: September 2011

DOI: 10.5422/fordham/9780823227600.001.0001

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History Against Historicism, Formal Matters, and the Event of the Text: De Man With Benjamin

History Against Historicism, Formal Matters, and the Event of the Text: De Man With Benjamin

Chapter:
(p.49) History Against Historicism, Formal Matters, and the Event of the Text: De Man With Benjamin
Source:
Legacies of Paul de Man
Author(s):

Marc Redfield

Publisher:
Fordham University Press
DOI:10.5422/fordham/9780823227600.003.0004

One reason de Man's work fell out of favor in the last two decades surely has to do with the rise of the New Historicism and related historicisms and materialisms: the swing of Foucault's pendulum, as it were. A widespread sense prevailed that de Man's thinking posed, in unduly formalist fashion, the literary text against or outside of history rather than embedded in it, or perhaps that de Man reduced history to a matter of textuality, narrowly construed. Surely one of the most valuable “legacies of Paul de Man” is the genuinely critical conception of history he draws out of the texts of the romantics. Indeed, one could say that de Man's thinking of history—in fact, what he in his last essays calls “material history” or “the materiality of actual history” (and what no doubt constitutes one of the most valuable and enduring legacies he has bequeathed to us)—gets produced by his reflection on, and reading of, the romantics.

Keywords:   historicisms, construed, genuinely, bequeathed, legacies

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