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Social Poetry

Anthony Pagden, 15 October 1987

Utopia and Anti-Utopia in Modern Times 
by Krishan Kumar.
Blackwell, 506 pp., £24.50, January 1987, 0 631 14873 6
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Lectures on Ideology and Utopia 
by Paul Ricoeur, edited by George Taylor.
Columbia, 353 pp., £21.90, December 1986, 0 231 06048 3
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Visions of Harmony: A Study in 19th-Century Millenarianism 
by Anne Taylor.
Oxford, 285 pp., £25, February 1987, 0 19 211793 9
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... not drafts of new communities but exercises in a particular kind of political theory. They are, as Paul Ricoeur says, ‘social poetry’, a poetry which, in the end, ‘may dissolve politics’. And like all poetry they reject precise literary definition. For the historian of political thought this poses quite serious definitional problems, problems ...

Ideal Speech

Geoffrey Hawthorn, 19 November 1981

Hegel contra Sociology 
by Gillian Rose.
Athlone, 261 pp., £18, May 1981, 0 485 11214 0
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The Political Philosophy of the Frankfurt School 
by George Friedman.
Cornell, 312 pp., £9.50, February 1981, 9780801412790
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by Garbis Kortian, translated by John Raffan.
Cambridge, 134 pp., £12.50, August 1980, 0 631 12779 8
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The Idea of a Critical Theory 
by Raymond Geuss.
Cambridge, 99 pp., £10, December 1981, 0 521 24072 7
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The Politics of Social Theory 
by Russell Keat.
Blackwell, 245 pp., £12.50, August 1981, 0 631 12779 8
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Critical Hermeneutics 
by John Thompson.
Cambridge, 257 pp., £17.50, September 1981, 9780521239325
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Hermeneutics and the Human Sciences 
by Paul Ricoeur, translated by John Thompson.
Cambridge, 314 pp., £20, September 1981, 0 521 23497 2
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... Thompson then comes forward, yearning for foundations and thus unhappy with such restriction, to Paul Ricoeur, of whom he also offers an excellent edition. Ricoeur finds Heidegger ‘the inescapable attempt and temptation’ and takes language rather ‘as a medium, a mediation, an exchange between Telos and ...

Spying on Writers

Christian Lorentzen, 11 October 2018

... parent of a Berkeley undergraduate whom Arendt had encouraged to move to France to study with Paul Ricoeur. Daddy couldn’t confirm that Arendt was a communist but believed she was ‘advocating a totalitarian philosophy in her political courses’ and offered a description of his target: ‘She is a small, rotund, stoop-shouldered woman with a ...

Theories of Myth

Hugh Lloyd-Jones, 19 March 1981

Structure and History in Greek Mythology and Ritual 
by Walter Burkert.
California, 226 pp., £9, April 1980, 0 520 03771 5
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Myth and Society in Ancient Greece 
by Jean-Pierre Vernant, translated by Janet Lloyd.
Harvester, 242 pp., £24, February 1980, 9780391009158
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... easily be altered. Very often, a structure simply does not lend itself to plausible decipherment. Paul Ricoeur has already pointed out that Lévi-Strauss’s method, developed for the most part while he was studying the mythology of the Indians of North and South America, works best for those societies whose mythology has been affected by totemism. In ...

War Zone

Sherry Turkle: In Winnicott’s Hands, 23 November 1989

by Adam Phillips.
Fontana, 180 pp., £4.95, November 1988, 9780006860945
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... able both to recognise and to reconstruct what had been absent in the maternal relationship. What Paul Ricoeur called the ‘hermeneutic of suspicion’ in Freud’s work was replaced by an analytic setting in which the patient is enabled, in Winnicott’s words, ‘to reveal himself to himself’. A tragic vision of psychoanalysis as the impossible ...

Ireland at Swim

Denis Donoghue, 21 April 1983

The Crane Bag Book of Irish Studies, 1977-1981 
edited by M.P. Hederman and R. Kearney, with a preface by Seamus Heaney.
Blackwater Press/Colin Smythe, 930 pp., £25, October 1982, 9780905471136
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A Colder Eye: The Modern Irish Writers 
by Hugh Kenner.
Knopf, 352 pp., $16.95, April 1983, 0 394 42225 2
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... Richard Kearney’s essay ‘Myth and Terror’, in which he resorts to Mircea Eliade and Paul Ricoeur to understand and, apparently, to pacify the mythic repetitions – of sacrifice, blood and apocalypse – he finds in modern Ireland. There is also much medition on Celtic mythology, the hero, God and Man, and Yeats’s question: When Pearse ...


Sherry Turkle: Lacan and Co, 6 December 1990

Jacques Lacan and Co: A History of Psychoanalysis in France, 1925-1985 
by Elisabeth Roudinesco, translated by Jeffrey Mehlman.
Free Association, 816 pp., £25, December 1990, 9781853431630
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... intellectual circles. Jacques Derrida, Michel Foucault, Claude Lévi-Strauss, Philippe Sollers, Paul Ricoeur and Louis Althusser are all part of Lacan and Co. Like the analysts, each of them had to take a stand for or against Lacan. Lacan would have it no other way. He charged intellectual history with the passion of transferences played out on a ...

Not Just Anybody

Terry Eagleton: ‘The Limits of Critique’, 5 January 2017

The Limits of Critique 
by Rita Felski.
Chicago, 238 pp., £17, October 2015, 978 0 226 29403 2
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... to end up feeling that she has a point. The critical approach she has in mind is a form of what Paul Ricoeur calls the hermeneutics of suspicion. On this view, the task of critique is to dig out hidden meanings and concealed contradictions in a text, scanning it for those symptomatic points at which it falters, deadlocks, disrupts its own logic or ...

What’s the hook?

Helen Thaventhiran, 27 January 2022

Hooked: Art and Attachment 
by Rita Felski.
Chicago, 199 pp., £18, October 2020, 978 0 226 72963 3
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... like Hooked: Felski offers just one view of a landscape that has been sketched by Michael Polanyi, Paul Ricoeur, Eve Kosofsky Sedgwick, Bruno Latour, Stephen Best, Toril Moi, Hal Foster, Namwali Serpell and others. Her current work is perhaps the liveliest and least plangent forum for questions about how to read and write criticism after theory. But read ...

Once a Catholic…

Marina Warner: Damien Hirst, 5 July 2012

Damien Hirst 
Tate ModernShow More
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... Truth, 2006), remains at a level of literality that leaves no breathing space for the viewer. When Paul Ricoeur was thinking about the working of metaphor in The Symbolism of Evil, he pointed to the necessary enigma of the thoughtful symbol: it ‘does not conceal any hidden teaching that only needs to be unmasked for the images in which it is clothed to ...

Trust me

Steven Shapin: French DNA, 27 April 2000

French DNA: Trouble in Purgatory 
by Paul Rabinow.
Chicago, 201 pp., £17.50, October 1999, 0 226 70150 6
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... to truth and their authority to realise the consequent technologies? The Berkeley anthropologist Paul Rabinow has been describing modernity and its truth-speakers for many years now. His first subjects were a group of religious leaders in post-colonial Morocco, and Symbolic Domination (1975) was an account of the complex interplay between rural tradition and ...

What is a pikestaff?

Colin Burrow: Metaphor, 23 April 2015

by Denis Donoghue.
Harvard, 232 pp., £18.95, April 2014, 978 0 674 43066 2
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... in 1928 who studied English at Cambridge in the 1960s and who learned to argue with and against Paul de Man and Paul Ricoeur and Stanley Cavell during a long period as a professor at NYU. To describe this book as a product of that history is not to belittle it. From a wider historical perspective it’s what will ...

Bounce off a snap

Hal Foster: Yve-Alain Bois’s Reflections, 30 March 2023

An Oblique Autobiography 
by Yve-Alain Bois, edited by Jordan Kantor.
No Place, 375 pp., £15.99, December 2022, 978 1 949484 08 3
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... Romanian sculptor, a room of Léger paintings, a huge ‘allover’ canvas by the Canadian Jean-Paul Riopelle, a great Matisse cutout. Return visits confirm Bois in his desire to be an artist, and soon he knows exactly what sort: ‘a geometric abstract painter’. As a teenager Bois writes blind letters to well-known figures and works odd jobs to fund ...

Sure looks a lot like conservatism

Didier Fassin: Macronisme, 5 July 2018

Revolution Française: Emmanuel Macron and the Quest to Reinvent a Nation 
by Sophie Pedder.
Bloomsbury, 297 pp., £25, June 2018, 978 1 4729 4860 1
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... vigorous debate in the legislature and the media. A former research assistant to the philosopher Paul Ricœur, he might reflect on his mentor’s words in Oneself as Another: ‘Democracy is not a political system without conflicts but a system in which conflicts are open and negotiable in accordance with recognised rules of ...

Multiplying Marys

Marina Warner: On Mary Magdalene, 22 February 2024

Mary Magdalene: A Cultural History 
by Philip C. Almond.
Cambridge, 347 pp., £30, December 2022, 978 1 009 22169 6
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Mary Magdalene: A Visual History 
by Diane Apostolos-Cappadona.
T&T Clark, 154 pp., £17.99, February 2023, 978 0 567 70574 7
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... of all this attention, inventiveness, intellectual struggle and piety? In Figuring the Sacred, Paul Ricoeur provides a generous answer: through Mary Magdalene’s Lives, ‘new possibilities of being in the world are opened up within everyday reality … and in this way everyday reality is metamorphosed by means of what we would call the imaginative ...

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