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Philosophy Today


published on May 1, 2020

Daniel Hoffman-Schwartz

‘Étranger,’ ou plutôt ‘fremd’: Philosophical-Poetic Nationalism in Derrida’s Geschlecht III and Beyond

This article takes up the specifically poetic dimension of what Jacques Derrida calls Martin Heidegger’s “philosophical nationalism” in the recently published Geschlecht III, arguing that this text doubles as a self-interrogation of Derrida’s own practice of reading poetry. Thus reading Geschlecht III alongside the nearly contemporaneous “Shibboleth: For Paul Celan,” I claim that Derrida’s critical deconstruction of Heidegger’s philosophical-poetic nationalism both allows us to read the traces of a more affirmatively deconstructive thinking of literary community in “Shibboleth” and draws attention to the limits and traps of such a project. Further, I demonstrate that Derrida’s and Heidegger’s respective approaches to the question of literary community cannot be separated from their respective approaches to the question of translation and their respective ways of mobilizing the motif of the “untranslatable.”

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