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The Gift of Language

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The Gift of Language

Memory and Promise in Adorno, Benjamin.Heidegger and Rosenzweig


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The Gift of Language by Alexander Garcia Duttmann
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This text focuses on the relevance of the proper name in the conceptions of language and history that inform the thought of Adorno, Benjamin, Heidegger and Rosenzweig. Their interest in the proper name is because it does not simply operate as a conventional linguistic sign. A specific experience of the Jewish religious tradition (Adorno, Benjamin, Rosenzweig) and a vision of poetry resulting from the reading of Hoelderlin (Heidegger) lead to the idea of an absolute singularity, it is a singularity that resists all conceptual identificaiton and the proper name expresses this singularity in language. In this analysis, history is conceived as a movement that both betrays and tends towards the absolute singularity that manifests itself in the unsayable, i.e. in the name of God, or in poetical language. questions of gesture, translation and melancholia and the moment of apparition in the work of art are comprehensible within Dr Duttmann's discussion, which should be of interest to students of language, philosophy and theology.

Author Biography

Alexander Garcia Duttmann is Professor of Philosophy and Visual Culture at Goldsmiths University of London, UK, and author of The Gift of Language and Memory of Thought, published in the Athlone Contemporary European Thinkers series.
Release date NZ
September 1st, 2000
Translated by Arline Lyons
Country of Publication
United Kingdom
New edition
black & white illustrations
Continuum International Publishing Group Ltd.
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