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By Sylviane Agacinski

Publication by way of Agacinski, Sylviane

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Extra resources for Aparte: Conceptions and Deaths of Soren Kierkegaard (Kierkegaard and postmodernism)

Sample text

What is different here is that this mechanical subject does not read itself as a mere name but instead mistakes itself for Napoleon. To be reduced to the status of a grammatical subject is bad enough, but to be turned into a grammatical subject that entertains Napoleonic delusions of grandeur is the height of irony. 5. Kierkegaard's understanding of the Narcissistic pleasure involved in ironic consciousness is inherited from Hegel's critique of the romantics' interpretation and use of the Fichtean absolute ego.

Kierkegaard wants us to "see," that is, to understand, that seeing the head of Napoleon come out of the empty space of nothingness in the engraving can be taken as a figure for "hearing" or understanding the meaning of Socratic irony, or indirection. The appearance of subjectivity, clearly marked in the making visible of Napoleon's head, thus comes to be linked metaphorically not only with the initial subjective negativity that is traditionally associated with Socratic irony but also with the possibility of mastering this irony retrospectively through an act of understanding: ''Napoleon himself suddenly appears out of the nothingness.

Blanchot himself makes this abundantly clear by stating unequivocally that the quandary of the "Christian witness of truth" in Kierkegaardto be stuck between the necessity of speaking religious truth and the impossibility of speaking it in any but the aesthetic language of the poetis the logical outcome of the purely linguistic impossibility of direct communication. " To some extent, then, the actual figures of the "poet" Page 10 and the "man of faith" are contingent; they are there only by reason of their asymmetrical relation to one another, which can as a consequence become illustrative of the more far-reaching philosophical problem of truth.

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