On Parole: Legacies of Saussure, Blanchot, and Paulhan

Kevin Newmark

in Irony on Occasion

Published by Fordham University Press

Published in print May 2012 | ISBN: 9780823240128
Published online September 2012 | e-ISBN: 9780823240166 | DOI:
On Parole: Legacies of Saussure, Blanchot, and Paulhan

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The inheritance of the German romantic “tradition” of irony by certain 20th-century French texts can become legible in the way such texts repeat the following question: what is the relation between thought and language? This chapter examines how such a question is addressed by Saussure's Course in General Linguistics as well as by texts by Maurice Blanchot and Jean Paulhan. Consideration of etymology as a privileged site for the interaction and potential interference between thought and language also discloses the ineluctably historical dimension of such questions. The etymological pretension to release for thought a “true” meaning obscured over time by language becomes at once a new intervention in the future history of meaning. Paulhan's Alain, Or Proof by Etymology and Blanchot's The Writing of the Disaster throw into sharp relief the difference between a historicity that results from ironic disruption and Heidegger's thinking of language and history as aletheia.

Keywords: Saussure; Blanchot; Paulhan; Heidegger; Thought; Language; Etymology; Truth; History; Disruption; Aletheia

Chapter.  9052 words. 

Subjects: Literary Theory and Cultural Studies

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