7. Passing Over: The Death of the Author in Hegel

Daniel Berthold

in The Ethics of Authorship

Published by Fordham University Press

Published in print February 2011 | ISBN: 9780823233946
Published online March 2011 | e-ISBN: 9780823240432 | DOI:
7. Passing Over: The Death of the Author in Hegel

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This chapter argues that Hegel's death as an author is at once less obvious and yet in important ways more complete than Kierkegaard's. It supplements Kierkegaard's critique of the Hegelian philosophy as the paradigmatic expression of a philosophy whose author seeks immortality—never to die—with those of a variety of “postmodern” critiques, from critical theory and deconstruction to Lacanian psychoanalytic theory and Foucauldian “archaeology.” A frequent criticism of these (mainly) French commentators is that Hegel's invocation of “absolute knowledge” establishes him in a position of authorial arrogance, of God-like authority, leaving the reader in a position of subservience to the sage's perfect wisdom. It is argued that this sort of criticism is profoundly ironic, since Hegel's construction of the role of the sage possessing absolute knowledge is in fact an elaborate mask covering over a radical project of disappearance of the author by which it becomes the reader who is left to author the text.

Keywords: G. W. F. Hegel; death; authorship; Hegelian philosophy; absolute knowledge

Chapter.  8414 words. 

Subjects: Philosophy of Language

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