Heidegger and the Poets
What Heidegger calls the "destinal interlocution" ("Gespräch") between poetry and thinking resulted in series of readings, especially of Friedrich Hölderlin, that were determined to rescue language from its technicity or instrumentalization and restore to language what is most properly its own--to disclose the “open” or the manner in which being unconceals itself in the world. If poetry, as V. Foti writes, "institutes history" ("stiftet"), then thinking grounds history by articulating an epoch's understanding of itself. But this "Gespräch", in attempting to unconceal and ground anew the unrealized Greek beginnings of Western thinking, gives rise to an non-sublatable dialectic or indifference whereby the danger or treachery of technicity itself is proper to being's self-disclosure.
And at some point, Heidegger's own thinking--particularly about poetry--succumbs to the danger or treachery that he identifies as the destiny of unconcealment.
This course will thus be structured around two issues:
1) the manner in which language initiates and grounds the epochal history of Being and
2) how such an interlocution between poetry and thinking is given to a betrayal whose treachery inaugurated the interlocution.
Readings are in German and/or English. Discussions in English. The course will begin with a discussion of Heidegger’s “Das Zeitalter des Weltbildes” (“The Age of the World Image”) which students should have read by the first day of class (copies will be in my mailbox). We will then move on to consider Heidegger’s reading of such poets as Trakl, Rilke, Celan, and of course Hölderlin. Each Heidegger essay will be read alongside an essay by one of his critics, such as Maurice Blanchot, Paul de Man, Giorgio Agamben, and Avital Ronell.