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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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Sollicitation and Rubbing the Text

Sollicitation and Rubbing the Text

Reading Said and Levinas Reading

(p.70) Chapter 2 Sollicitation and Rubbing the Text
To Make the Hands Impure

Adam Zachary Newton

Fordham University Press

Chapter 2 begins with a fuller explanation of the rabbinic underpinnings of tum’at yadayim, and ends, contrapuntally, with Said’s reading of Conrad’s Nostromo from Beginnings: Intention and Method (1975) in dialogue with Levinas’s Talmudic reading “Promised Land of Permitted Land” from 1965. Art and ethical adventure, the difficult and the holy, are traced in suspended dialectic, such that each becomes the other’s uncanny neighbor. The sacred and secular, much like the “rub” between tradition and modernity that gives many of the authors and their writings discussed in this book their kinetic friction, become mobilized as partners in conversations rather than fixed at diametric poles. The coupling of Saidian and Levinasian critical consciousnesses, improbable as it may at first appear, obeys a similar logic.

Keywords:   Contrapuntal, Rabbinic, Emmanuel Levinas, Joseph Conrad, Rubbing, “solicitation”, “tum’at yadayim”

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