Reading Spectacles in Rousseau's <i>Letter to d̓alembert</i>

E.S. Burt

in The Political Archive of Paul de Man

Published by Edinburgh University Press

Published in print August 2012 | ISBN: 9780748665617
Published online January 2013 | e-ISBN: 9780748676637 | DOI:
Reading Spectacles in Rousseau's Letter to d̓alembert

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Paul de Man's original solution to the question of the relation of Rousseau's political to his autobiographical writings has not received the attention it deserves, in large part because his work on Rousseau's political writings has been less read. The newly transcribed Textual Allegories — which reveals de Man's decision in Allegories of Reading to substitute a chapter on Rousseau's autobiographical texts for drafted chapters on Julie and Nietzsche that were to follow the chapter on The Social Contract in the first version — brings out the importance of the neglected relation in de Man's reading of Rousseau. This chapter looks at what de Man's discussion can explain about Rousseau's politics of the spectacle in the Letter to d'Alembert, where an autobiographical dimension complicates a discourse by the newly reminted Citizen of Geneva in praise of that republic's version of citizenship.

Keywords: Paul de Man; Textual Allegories; politics; Rousseau; autobiographical writings; citizenship

Chapter.  9108 words. 

Subjects: Literary Theory and Cultural Studies

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