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To Make the Hands ImpureArt, Ethical Adventure, the Difficult and the Holy$
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Adam Zachary Newton

Print publication date: 2014

Print ISBN-13: 9780823263516

Published to Fordham Scholarship Online: May 2015

DOI: 10.5422/fordham/9780823263516.001.0001

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Pledge, Turn, Prestige

Pledge, Turn, Prestige

Worldliness and Sanctity in Edward Said and Emmanuel Levinas

(p.45) Chapter 1 Pledge, Turn, Prestige
To Make the Hands Impure

Adam Zachary Newton

Fordham University Press

Chapter 1 begins the argument in earnest by considering two orders of proximity: the status of the literary artwork in relation to sacred text or Holy Scripture, and the task of criticism as espoused by two formidable late twentieth-century humanists, Emmanuel Levinas and Edward Said. The chapter’s title initiates a discussion of art’s relation to magic; Georges Poulet’s analysis of “the book” in his essay “The Phenomenology of Reading” and an early essay on aesthetics by Levinas, “Art and its Shadow” set the stage for a juxtaposition of Levinas and Said, in which Said’s essays on religious and secular criticism in “The World, the Text, and the Critic,” and later writings like “Timeliness and Lateness” and Humanism and Democratic Criticism, are interread with several of Levinas’s Talmudic readings against the background of classical Jewish sources.

Keywords:   Pledge, Turn, Prestige, Emmanuel Levinas, Edward Said, Magic, Art, Secular, Religious, Jewish sources, Georges Poulet, Book, Aesthetics, Criticism

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