The Art of Reading: From Homer to Paul Celan

The Art of Reading: From Homer to Paul Celan


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The Art of Reading is the first—long overdue—collection of essays by the French classical philologist and humanist Jean Bollack to be published in English. As the scope of the collection demonstrates, Bollack felt at home thinking in depth about two things that seem starkly different to most other thinkers. We see on the one hand the classics of Greek poetry and philosophy, including the relatively obscure but in his hands illuminating re-readings of Greek philosophy by the doxographers. Then, on the other hand, there is modern, including contemporary, poetry. The author of monumental commentaries on the Oedipus Tyrannos of Sophocles and on the fragments of Empedocles, Bollack cultivated in himself and in a generation of students (academics and others) a way to read both sets of texts closely that is as uncompromising and demanding of the interpreter as it is of the reader of the interpretation. The results, which this wide-ranging but compact collection brings to mind, are designed to get beyond flat and clichéd approaches to familiar works and to awaken the reader anew to the aesthetics, the complexity, and the intelligence that careful reconstruction of the text can bring to light.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780674660199
Publisher: Harvard
Publication date: 02/20/2017
Series: Hellenic Studies Series , #73
Pages: 438
Product dimensions: 6.00(w) x 8.90(h) x 1.00(d)

About the Author

Jean Bollack was Professor of Greek Literature and Thought at the University of Lille. He was a member of the Institute for Advanced Study, Princeton, and of the Wissenschaftskolleg, Berlin.

Table of Contents

Translators' Preface Catherine Porter Susan Tarrow vii

Foreword Gregory Nagy ix

1 Learning to Read 1

2 Reading the Philologists 11

3 Odysseus among the Philologists 15

4 Reflections on the Practice of Philology 47

5 Reading Myths 59

6 Purifications 65

7 An Anthropological Fiction 89

8 Reading Drama 109

9 An Act of Cultural Restoration: The Status Accorded to the Classical Tragedians by the Decree of Lycurgus 113

10 From Philology to Theater: The Construction of Meaning in Sophocles' Antigone 129

11 Accursed from Birth 137

12 Two Phases of Recognition in Sophocles' Electra 155

13 Reading the Cosmogonies 165

14 Empedocles: A Single Project, Two Theologies 167

15 The Parmenidean Cosmology of Parmenides 181

16 Expressing Differences 215

17 The Heraclitean Logos 217

18 Reading a Reference 247

19 The Scientistic Model: Freud and Empedocles 249

20 Benjamin Reading Kafka 257

21 Reading the Codes 317

22 A Sonnet, a Poetics-Mallarmé: "Le vierge, le vivace…" 319

23 Between Hölderlin and Celan 333

24 Grasping Hermeneutics 351

25 A Future in the Past Peter Szondi's Material Hermeneutics 353

26 Reading the Signifier 367

27 The Mountain of Death: The Meaning of Celan's Meeting with Heidegger 369

Index 399

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