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Nothing but the Worst

Michael Wood: Paul de Man, 8 January 2015

The Paul de Man Notebooks 
edited by Martin McQuillan.
Edinburgh, 357 pp., £80, April 2014, 978 0 7486 4104 8
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The Double Life of Paul de Man 
by Evelyn Barish.
Norton, 534 pp., £25, September 2014, 978 0 87140 326 1
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... definition of the sign’. You have to like the unfathomable a lot to write like that. Evelyn Barish catches this note very well in an awkward but telling mixed metaphor. De Man’s ‘approach to literature … took as its bedrock a subversive doubt concerning the truthtelling power of language’. Even subversive doubt will become a bedrock ...

Fratricide, Matricide and the Philosopher

Shadi Bartsch: Seneca, 18 June 2015

Dying Every Day: Seneca at the Court of Nero 
by James Romm.
Knopf, 290 pp., £18.45, March 2014, 978 0 307 59687 1
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Seneca: A Life 
by Emily Wilson.
Allen Lane, 253 pp., £25, March 2015, 978 1 84614 637 4
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... this had any bearing on the deconstruction he propounded. The new revelations rooted out by Evelyn Barish in her biography of de Man last year – bigamy, fraud and an unserved prison sentence – further fuelled the discussion.* Similar questions circle around Heidegger: it had always been known that he was a member of the Nazi Party, but his ...

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