Theory Is Like a Surging Sea
In a 1917 letter to Gershom Scholem, Walter Benjamin writes, “Theory is like a surging sea.” This small book takes more than its title from that line—it takes that line as a point of departure in Erich Auerbach’s sense, an Ansatzpunkt, as a compositional principle so that what follows can be read in its entirety as a gloss on the remainder of Benjamin’s sentence: “Theory is like a surging sea, but the only thing that matters to the wave […] is to surrender itself to its motion in such a way that it crests and breaks.” That motion, in the pages to follow, takes up in its sweep two threads: it folds an episodic meditation on the negative and the problematic into a series of singular interrogations exemplary of the positive being of the problematic, the objective being of problems and questions, in a movement of implication and explication between poetry and philosophy in the tradition of what’s come to be known as theory. Theory is like a surging sea because it’s as part of a revolutionary tradition that it crests and breaks.
Buy print edition and support the publisher at Punctum Books.
This book is included in DOAB.
Why read this book? Have your say.
You must be logged in to comment.
Rights InformationAre you the author or publisher of this work? If so, you can claim it as yours by registering as an Unglue.it rights holder.
- 70 - pdf (CC BY-NC-SA) at Unglue.it.
- 190 - pdf (CC BY-NC-SA) at Internet Archive.
- Criticism and interpretation
- Literary Criticism
- Literary Criticism / Semiotics & Theory