Studying for the Ph.D. at the University of Arizona in the 1980’s I came upon the works of Martin Heidegger. I recognized the thinking of Heidegger. It gave focus to my own unruly truths.
I found that Heidegger’s thinking gave focus to the unruly truths of modernist American authors also, who since “things [had fallen] apart” (Yeats) at the end of the 19th century had had to scramble to make sense of those shattered “things”—the scattered pieces that remained of the Western rational tradition. American modernists had been seeing for themselves the uninterpreted “things” that Heidegger had been seeing. In my dissertation I turned my clarified insights onto works of a few of the authors:
- Henry James: “The Turn of the Screw”
- William Carlos Williams: In the American Grain
- William Faulkner: As I Lay Dying
- Ernest Hemingway: Death in the Afternoon
- John Barth: Lost in the Funhouse
This website contains the dissertation (Language As Disclosure) as well as other “Heideggerian” pieces written during the 80’s that treat (critique) certain leading literary figures or prevailing notions (postmodern) in the academy at that time.
The book (dissertation) Language As Disclosure begins with an essay that sets the thinking of Heidegger alongside/against the thinking of his former student and leading critic at that time, Jacques Derrida. This essay is followed by the five “Heideggerian readings” of the literary works by American modernist authors, above. The essays are not philosophical or theoretical, do not discuss Heidegger; instead they point out how LANGUAGE is working in the works. After each reading, an appendix points out some of Heidegger’s notions about language relevant to that reading.
The essays include:
Heideggerian readings of literary works to see how TIME “occurs” (what time is/does) in them. After each reading, an appendix points out some of Heidegger’s notions about TIME relevant to that reading.
Essays on prominent postmodernist figures and their theory.
Long essay comparing Heidegger’s account of the history of philosophy (in “The Question Concerning Technology,” e.g.) with Brian Greene’s account of the history of modern physics (in The Fabric of the Cosmos) and rumination on what difference the differences make.
Short literary or philosophic pieces written for the impudence or joy of it all (and for the academic credit).