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Words FailTheology, Poetry, and the Challenge of Representation$
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Colby Dickinson

Print publication date: 2016

Print ISBN-13: 9780823272839

Published to Fordham Scholarship Online: May 2017

DOI: 10.5422/fordham/9780823272839.001.0001

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Aesthetics among the Metaphysical Ruins

Aesthetics among the Metaphysical Ruins

The Poetry of Paul Celan Seen through the Works of Jacques Derrida and Philippe Lacoue-Labarthe

(p.26) 2 Aesthetics among the Metaphysical Ruins
Words Fail

Colby Dickinson

Fordham University Press

The second chapter attends more directly to the legacy of Celan’s poetry as his work is critiqued and appropriated by both Derrida and Philippe Lacoue-Labarthe—two thinkers whose studies of Celan have become essential reading for comprehending the nature of his poetics. The chapter disentangles their uses of Celan in order to locate a hope for new subjectivities in the face of the repeated failures of language and artistic representations alike. The concept of “failure” moves to the center stage of this book and assists us in comprehending why our failures to genuinely represent anything (e.g., ourselves, others, the divine) may be the only possible way that we can convey an authentic presence. At the same time, this insight also begins to reformulate the terms upon which we have traditionally understood religious thought and identity. At this point, the work of the American poet Adrienne Rich is engaged in order to somewhat illuminate the directions in which poetry and faith might possibly be headed as they also intersect and interweave with one another, the very coordinates of the “theo-poetic” that has gained so much currency as of late.

Keywords:   Celan, Derrida, failure, Lacoue-Labarthe, Rich, theo-poetic

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