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Title: Blanchot, Derrida, Gadamer and the anarchy of style
Author: Aquilina, Mario
ISNI:       0000 0004 2731 4560
Awarding Body: Durham University
Current Institution: Durham University
Date of Award: 2012
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This dissertation examines the possibilities of thinking and reading style nonteleocratically through the work of Hans-Georg Gadamer, Maurice Blanchot, and Jacques Derrida. The title evokes the non-foundational aspect of style—style as that which is not conceptualisable and which defies categorisation by previously established rules. Chapter 1 shows how traditional theories and definitions of style are essentially teleocratic in being always directed towards some external function. Style is considered as a signifier of social, biographical or political signifieds, or else it is discussed as a representation of linguistic, generic, formal, or cognitive structures. Style as an event, on the other hand, cannot be fully understood theoretically but must be encountered always singularly and in performance. Style as an event does not simply represent something that exists before it but creates the possibilities of its readability. Style is then also anachronic, suspending teleocratic conceptions of the temporality of style in terms of original and more essential sources. It is oriented towards the future, the aleatory, that which is always still to come. Chapters 2, 3, and 4 explore the subject through successive, focused discussions of the thinking and performance of style in Gadamer’s, Blanchot’s, and Derrida’s work. Each chapter finishes with a discussion of the respective thinker’s encounter with Paul Celan’s poetry, which, it is argued, demands non-teleocratic readings. For comparative purposes, in Chapter 5, these readings are contrasted to teleocratic theories of style by Fredric Jameson and by various contemporary stylisticians. What results from this comparison is not a new method to be applied in an improved theory of style but an ethical consideration of the singularity of every reading of style marked by moments of interruption and intensification that arise in the performance of style.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available