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This essay examines situations where a single trope is implicated in two traditionally opposed rhetorical structures: mise en abyme , in which an internal text provides a miniature model of the framing text, and allegory, a figure in which the text at hand is only the key to some single and...
This article puts forward a genealogy of one of the principal temporalities associated with German (pre-)Romantic lyric, the time of a privileged moment (“ewiger/prägnanter Augenblick”). The same temporality is shown to dominate the lyric oeuvre of Fyodor Tiutchev, a Russian Romantic, the...
Walter Benjamin confides to his friend Hugo von Hofmannsthal that “I sometimes think about writing a book on French tragedy as a counterpart to my Trauerspiel book,” noting that his “plan for the latter had originally been to elucidate both the German Trauerspiel and the French tragic drama in...
Walter Benjamin's two essays on Charles Baudelaire — “The Paris of the Second Empire in Baudelaire” (1938) and “On Some Motifs in Baudelaire” (1939) — are regularly taken as profound readings of that poet's work. This essay argues that, whatever claims may be made for Benjamin as a philosopher,...
This essay takes up the significance of Wittgenstein's philosophy for our understanding of literature (and vice versa) through a comparative reading of the stakes and aims of Kafka's and Wittgenstein's respective circa 1922 puzzle texts “Von den Gleichnissen” (“On Parables”) and the Tractatus...
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