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Blanchot, Derrida, Gadamer and the An-archy of Style

AQUILINA, MARIO (2012) Blanchot, Derrida, Gadamer and the An-archy of Style. Doctoral thesis, Durham University.

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This dissertation examines the possibilities of thinking and reading style nonteleocratically through the work of Hans-Georg Gadamer, Maurice Blanchot, and Jacques Derrida. The title evokes the non-foundational aspect of style—style as that which is not conceptualisable and which defies categorisation by previously established rules. Chapter 1 shows how traditional theories and definitions of style are essentially teleocratic in being always directed towards some external function. Style is considered as a signifier of social, biographical or political signifieds, or else it is discussed as a representation of linguistic, generic, formal, or cognitive structures. Style as an event, on the other hand, cannot be fully understood theoretically but must be encountered always singularly and in performance. Style as an event does not simply represent something that exists before it but creates the possibilities of its readability. Style is then also anachronic, suspending teleocratic conceptions of the temporality of style in terms of original and more essential sources. It is oriented towards the future, the aleatory, that which is always still to come. Chapters 2, 3, and 4 explore the subject through successive, focused discussions of the thinking and performance of style in Gadamer’s, Blanchot’s, and Derrida’s work. Each chapter finishes with a discussion of the respective thinker’s encounter with Paul Celan’s poetry, which, it is argued, demands non-teleocratic readings. For comparative purposes, in Chapter 5, these readings are contrasted to teleocratic theories of style by Fredric Jameson and by various contemporary stylisticians. What results from this comparison is not a new method to be applied in an improved theory of style but an ethical consideration of the singularity of every reading of style marked by moments of interruption and intensification that arise in the performance of style.

Item Type:Thesis (Doctoral)
Award:Doctor of Philosophy
Keywords:style, Derrida, Blanchot, Gadamer, Celan, singularity, stylistics
Faculty and Department:Faculty of Arts and Humanities > English Studies, Department of
Thesis Date:2012
Copyright:Copyright of this thesis is held by the author
Deposited On:06 Feb 2013 09:32

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