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The Post-Romantic Predicament

Paul de Man
Edited by Martin McQuillan

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A collection of critical texts from Paul de Man's Harvard University years, published for the first time

These essays, brought together from the Paul de Man papers at the University of California (Irvine), make a significant contribution to the cultural history of deconstruction and the present state of literary theory. From 1955 to 1961, Paul de Man was Junior Fellow at Harvard University where he wrote a doctoral thesis entitled 'The Post-Romantic Predicament: a study in the poetry of Mallarmé and Yeats'. This dissertation is presented alongside his other texts from this period, including essays on Hölderlin, Keats and Stefan George.

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Series Editor's Preface
'No country for old men': Paul de Man and the Post-Romantic Predicament, Martin McQuillan
Paul de Man: Essays
1. Introduction to 'The Post-Romantic Predicament'
2. 'Mallarmé' (1960)
Part I Hérodiade
Part II Igitur
Part III Un coup de dés
3. 'Drama and History in Yeats' (1960)
4. 'Mallarmé, George and Yeats' (c.1959)
5. 'Stefan George and Stéphane Mallarmé' (1952)
6. 'Stefan George and Friedrich Hölderlin' (1954)
Appendix: Dissertation fragment on Stefan George (c.1955)
De Man's Bibliography to Chapters 2 and 3

About the Author

Paul de Man (1919-83) was the Sterling Professor of French and Comparative Literature at Yale University. He is the author of some of the most important works of literary theory and deconstruction including Blindness and Insight, Allegories of Reading, The Rhetoric of Romanticism, and Aesthetic Ideology.

Martin McQuillan was Professor of Literary Theory and Cultural Analysis at the London Graduate School and Dean of the Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences at Kingston University, London. His recent publications include Deconstruction After 9/11(London: Routledge, 2008) and Roland Barthes, or, The Profession of Cultural Studies (Basingstoke: Palgrave Macmillan, 2010).


'De Man's readings of Mallarmé, Yeats, and George in the 1950s demonstrate how a reflection on an authentically poetic vocation cannot help but produce a concomitant reflection on what constitutes a genuinely literary criticism and theory. It is fascinating to see how de Man's pushing of a Hegelian phenomenological "method" to its limits engenders what we now call "de Manian" rhetorical or "deconstructive" reading. The Post-Romantic Predicament is essential reading for anyone concerned with the question of "the literary".
- Andrzej Warminski, University of California, Irvine
This is among the most significant books of recent years, and required reading for those interested in French and German literature and theory.
- N Lukacher, University of Illinois at Chicago, Choice: February 2013

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