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Philosophy, Poetry, Parataxis

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At the heart of the relationship between philosophy and poetry, and of the philosophical and the literary tout court, is the relationship between poetry and prose. In the increasingly influential work of Giorgio Agamben, whose impact continues to grow across a wide range of disciplines, the relationship between philosophy and poetry, poetry and prose, receives renewed attention and significance. Situating Agamben's philosophical, poetic prose in relation to the legacy of the prose poem from Charles Baudelaire through Walter Benjamin and Rosmarie Waldrop, “Philosophy, Poetry, Parataxis” explores the implications of what Agamben calls “whatever being” or “whatever singularity” for our understanding of the potentialities inherent in the relationship between contemporary writing practices and what Agamben calls The Coming Community. In contributing to the development of innovative, alternative forms of textuality at once “philosophical” and “poetic,” contemporary writers such as Agamben and Waldrop share an understanding of the informing role of parataxis in inflecting philosophy and poetry, poetry and prose, toward what we might call an aesthetics and politics of apposition.

Document Type: Research Article


Affiliations: Department of Comparative Literature, Cornell University, Ithaca, NY 14850, USA

Publication date: August 1, 2009

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