Lacoue-Labarthe's Poetry as Experience addresses the question of a lyric language that would not be the expression of subjectivity. In his analysis of the historical position of Paul Celan's poetry, Lacoue-Labarthe defines the subject as the principle that founds, organizes, and secures both cognition and action—a principle that turned, most violently during the twentiethLacoue-Labarthe's Poetry as Experience addresses the question of a lyric language that would not be the expression of subjectivity. In his analysis of the historical position of Paul Celan's poetry, Lacoue-Labarthe defines the subject as the principle that founds, organizes, and secures both cognition and action—a principle that turned, most violently during the twentieth century, into a figure not only of domination but of the extermination of everything other than itself. This thoroughly universal, abstract, and finally suicidal subject eradicates all experience, save the singularity of this experience of voiding. But what is left, as Paul Celan insisted, is a remainder to the lyric voice alone: Singbarer Rest.Lacoue-Labarthe's detailed analyses of two decisive poems by Celan, "Tübingen, Jänner" and "Todtnauberg"—the one a response to Hölderlin, the other to Heidegger—and his sustained reading of "The Meridian" present Celan's verse of singularity as the movement at and beyond the border of generalizable experience, i.e., as an experience, a traversing of a dangerous field, in which language no longer dominates anything, but rather commemorates the voiding of concepts and the collapse of the constitutive powers of the subject. For Lacoue-Labarthe, poetry after the Shoah, the poetry of bared singularity, is no longer a poetry that would correspond to the concept of the subject—or, for that matter, to the concept of poetry—but is rather the language of the decept. Only by being disappointed of the heroic language of idealistic poetry, and of the mytho-ontological tendencies of philosophy, can Celan's poetry keep open the possibility of another history, another future.
Poetry as Experience Reviews
I think that this is brilliant. It can be abstruse, but read intuitively and you realise it's a desperate attempt to articulate what we've been feeling about poetry all along. That, in my view, is the essence of good criticism -- the desperation to say, somehow or other, how art affects us. Or non-art, since in this book Lacoue-Labarthe talks about how art is the unheimliche, and how Celan seemingly dialectically opposes 'the human' to that -- how this dialectic is not even a dialectic because p [...]
Lacoue-Labarthe, like his associate Nancy, can be impossible reading without having some cursory understanding of the larger field of references. Even so, the rigor of his analysis and the subject matter make for an illuminating encounter. I started re-reading this book, one I picked up several years ago and put down after a dozen pages, but this time I feel a stronger identification with the contents of his discourse having read some of Celan and Holderlin's poetry, and the recently published w [...]
Provocative, questioning rumination on Celan, Holderlin and the possibility of saying, of connecting, and the meaning of poetry.
The importance of Celan for French Heideggerians cannot be overstated.