Hospitality in Autobiography: Levinas <i>chez</i> De Quincey

E. S. Burt

in Regard for the Other

Published by Fordham University Press

Published in print October 2009 | ISBN: 9780823230907
Published online March 2011 | e-ISBN: 9780823235575 | DOI:
Hospitality in Autobiography: Levinas chez De Quincey

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This chapter addresses the following questions: What would a Levinasian autobiography look like? Is such a thing imaginable? The question is directed in the first instance at autobiography, as a question concerning its ability to go beyond the representation of the subject to write the encounter with the absolute other for which Levinas's ethical philosophy calls. But it is also, in the second instance, a question for Levinas, concerning the potential of autobiography to represent an alterity perhaps not fully accounted for by his philosophy. It is argued that while Levinas helps us to read the crisis in the subject in autobiographical language insofar as it implies the human other, he does not tell us about the extreme responsibility we find in De Quincey. With absolute hospitality, De Quincey gives his I over to alterity without limitation or reserve, in a scene of swearing away or addiction.

Keywords: Levina; autobiography; De Quincey; alterity; addiction

Chapter.  14382 words. 

Subjects: Philosophy of Language

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