Three Letters from Germany – Opinions?

So I wrote three short pieces for the Battersea Review and would be interested to hear your opinion. You can read them here. Here is the conclusion of Letter 1, maybe it convinces you to click on the above link

If we accept—and we should not—the argument put forth by Lehman and others, that Paul de Man was attracted to theories that exculpated him of the fine grained details of his own history, then the contrast to Jauss could not be greater, since he wrote criticism profoundly committed to history and the repeated connection and re-assessment of historical texts. While it changes nothing about the dreadful details of his wartime actions, it provides us as readers and citizens born in more fortunate times with the tools to better understand the texts of our past, even the most awful ones. With Gadamer, Jauss echoes Faulkner when he postulates that we can only understand texts of the past when we connect them to the present, when we merge our expectations as readers with those of readers contemporary to the texts. The present and the past are not isolated, they are inseparable. For all the outcries of Jauss defenders last year, as a reader of his work one suspects that Jauss would not have protested quite as vocally. He knew the score. In Germany, the past is never dead. It is not even past.

4 thoughts on “Three Letters from Germany – Opinions?

  1. “The present and the past are not isolated, they are inseparable”.

    “Time present and time past
    Are both perhaps present in time future
    And time future contained in time past.”

    ― T.S. Eliot, Four Quartets

    • TS Eliot is particularly fitting in that the editor wanted the letters to be modeled after Eliot’s Letters from London. That is clearly not what I did, but *ideally* it’s where I wanted to aim.

  2. This is good, and Vattimo on point (the little i’ve read of him I didn’t much like, which is probably beside the point except that your piece reminded me as much)

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