John Martis

in Philippe Lacoue-Labarthe

Published by Fordham University Press

Published in print December 2005 | ISBN: 9780823225347
Published online March 2011 | e-ISBN: 9780823235490 | DOI:

Series: Perspectives in Continental Philosophy


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In The Literary Absolute: The Theory of Literature in German Romanticism, Philippe Lacoue-Labarthe examines the romantic understanding that gives literature responsibility for producing the idea or subject absolutely. According to this reading, the philosophical subject—that which is, as the idea or being—at once both produces literature (as theorizer) and is produced by it (as theorized). Literature produces philosophy, but not as a distinguishable other, that is, not as having an “ideal” fabric transcendent over its own. The subject that literature elaborates thereby escapes the Kantian split between an “originating” yet untheorizable subject of moral action on the one hand and, on the other, the equally untheorizable, insubstantial, yet theorizing subject of pure reason, determinable only as the “transcendental unity” attending apperception. There is here, then, a particular depiction of the subjectal loss incurred within the Kantian aesthetic as that aesthetic flowers into the romantic notion of literature.

Keywords: subject; philosophy; theorizer; Kantian split; moral action; pure reason; apperception; Philippe Lacoue-Labarthe

Chapter.  10181 words. 

Subjects: Philosophy

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