|About the Book|
Read as poetry its beautiful (thats where the four stars come from). As philosophy its vague and blemished. As literary theory its highly questionable.Id need a quick refresher to get more detailed. Its been over five years since I read it. I just hesitantly raised it from a three star rating to a four. The operative word there being hesitantly.In a fairly recent interview, John Searle--a contemporary and now elder philosopher--makes a great couple of points about academic writing in general, which happens to sum up the form my above-mentioned hesitation takes:It [writing] has enormous meta-cognitive implications. The power is this: That you cannot only think in ways that you could not possibly think if you did not have the written word, but you can now think about the thinking that you do with the written word. There is danger in this, and the danger is that the enormous expressive and self-referential capacities of the written word, that is, the capacities to keep referring to referring to referring, will reach a point where you lose contact with the real world. And this, believe me, is very common in universities. Theres a technical name for it, I dont know if we can use it on television, its called bullshit. But this is very common in academic life, where people just get a form of self-referentiality of the language, where the language is talking about the language, which is talking about the language, and in the end, its hot air. Thats another name for the same phenomenon.What I can still say with some confidence is that the book is a very short and rather breezy read, which is written as a gorgeous, oft-erotic, mid-20th-century-French-intellectual-style love letter to the The Written Word.