Chapter

Normativity, Materiality and Inequality: The Politics of the Letter in Paul de Man

Walter Benn Michaels

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: http://dx.doi.org/10.3366/edinburgh/9780748665617.003.0007
Normativity, Materiality and Inequality: The Politics of the Letter in Paul de Man

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This chapter argues that allegories of unreadability, like allegories of reading, are entirely readable, and that the politics of the letter — in so far as there is a politics of the letter — has proven to be a profoundly conservative one. If, then, it would be a profound misreading of de Man's arguments to say that he sought to establish that politics, it would also be a profound misreading of those arguments to deny that they played some role (a role not inconsistent with their own entailments) in making those politics possible.

Keywords: Paul de Man; allegories; reading; politics; letter

Chapter.  5377 words. 

Subjects: Literary Theory and Cultural Studies

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