Critical Inquiry 15 (4):777-783 (1989)

Jonathan Culler
Cornell University
While debates about the relations to fascism exhibited in de Man’s newspaper articles will no doubt continue , the important question is what value his critical and theoretical writings have for us, the productivity of his critical and theoretical work for our thinking. The wartime writings give a new dimension to much of de Man’s work in America, helping one to understand more plainly what is implied by his critique of the aesthetic ideology, as in late essays on Kleist and on Kant and Schiller. Walter Benjamin called fascism the introduction of aesthetics into politics. De Man’s critique of the aesthetic ideology now resonates also as a critique of the fascist tendencies he had known. Jonathan Culler, Class of 1916 Professor of English and comparative literature at Cornell University, is the author of Framing the Sign: Criticism and Its Institutions
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DOI 10.1086/448518
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