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A Different Order of Difficulty: Literature after Wittgenstein

A Different Order of Difficulty: Literature after Wittgenstein Downloaded from http://read.dukeupress.edu/comparative-literature/article-pdf/73/3/382/935703/382winant.pdf by DEEPDYVE INC user on 30 March 2022 BOOK REVIEW ADifferent Order of Difficulty: Literature after Wittgenstein. By Karen Zumhagen-Yekplé. Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 2020. 336 pp. Inthe quotation from Ulysses that gives Karen Zumhagen-Yekplé’s new book its title, James Joyce makes a distinction between math problems and moral ones. The first are potentially solvable, though the effort might require “printed integers of units, tens, hundreds, thou- sands, tens of thousands, hundreds of thousands, millions, tens of millions, hundreds of mil- lions, billions” (Joyce 572). Zumhagen-Yekplé’s book is not about problems of computation, however tricky, but on those ethical issues that characterize, as Leopold Bloom thinks, “a different order of difficulty” (Joyce 572). In her book, she argues that some of modernism’s greatest philosophical and aesthetic texts are committed to this harder problem, which, like the other sort, is theoretically solvable, but only through the strenuous work of personal transformation. Modernism’s much-discussed difficulty is not a matter of erudition or elit- ism; in her revelatory readings of some canonical modernist literary texts, their difficulty is that of longing for wisdom and coming to clarity, even if it is clarity about what remains impossible. Zumhagen-Yekplé’s touchstone http://www.deepdyve.com/assets/images/DeepDyve-Logo-lg.png Comparative Literature Duke University Press

A Different Order of Difficulty: Literature after Wittgenstein

Comparative Literature , Volume 73 (3) – Sep 1, 2021

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Copyright
Copyright © 2021 by University of Oregon
ISSN
0010-4124
eISSN
1945-8517
DOI
10.1215/00104124-8994003
Publisher site
See Article on Publisher Site

Abstract

Downloaded from http://read.dukeupress.edu/comparative-literature/article-pdf/73/3/382/935703/382winant.pdf by DEEPDYVE INC user on 30 March 2022 BOOK REVIEW ADifferent Order of Difficulty: Literature after Wittgenstein. By Karen Zumhagen-Yekplé. Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 2020. 336 pp. Inthe quotation from Ulysses that gives Karen Zumhagen-Yekplé’s new book its title, James Joyce makes a distinction between math problems and moral ones. The first are potentially solvable, though the effort might require “printed integers of units, tens, hundreds, thou- sands, tens of thousands, hundreds of thousands, millions, tens of millions, hundreds of mil- lions, billions” (Joyce 572). Zumhagen-Yekplé’s book is not about problems of computation, however tricky, but on those ethical issues that characterize, as Leopold Bloom thinks, “a different order of difficulty” (Joyce 572). In her book, she argues that some of modernism’s greatest philosophical and aesthetic texts are committed to this harder problem, which, like the other sort, is theoretically solvable, but only through the strenuous work of personal transformation. Modernism’s much-discussed difficulty is not a matter of erudition or elit- ism; in her revelatory readings of some canonical modernist literary texts, their difficulty is that of longing for wisdom and coming to clarity, even if it is clarity about what remains impossible. Zumhagen-Yekplé’s touchstone

Journal

Comparative LiteratureDuke University Press

Published: Sep 1, 2021

References