Poetry and Enlightenment

Allen Grossman

in True-Love

Published by University of Chicago Press

Published in print April 2009 | ISBN: 9780226309736
Published online February 2013 | e-ISBN: 9780226309750 | DOI:
Poetry and Enlightenment

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This chapter discusses “enlightenment” as something that happens, that in fact has often happened. It argues that the traumatic enlightenment of the postwar world compelled recognition of the loss of the meaning-bearing body, and of the vulnerability of all bodies. Body here refers to the body that grounded Kant's confident orientation or Whitman's confiance au monde. The general function of the poem as stated in Celan's “Meridian,” is not to produce an artifact or delight an emperor, but to give birth in language to the possibility of orientation that requires that there be an East—to sing a new song, not by means of but toward a resurrection.

Keywords: Kant; Celan; enlightenment; poetry; paradigm shift; Whitman; Meridian; orientation

Chapter.  5476 words. 

Subjects: Literary Studies (Poetry and Poets)

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