A culmination of de Man's thoughts on philosophy, politics and history. The book presents an inquiry into the relation of rhetoric, epistemology and aesthetics, that offers radical notions of materiality. De Man reads Kant and Hegel with a combination of philosophical vigour and interpretive pressure. The texts collected here were written or delivered as lectures during the last years of Man's life, between 1977 and 1983. Many of them have never been available previously in any form; these include essays from Kant's materialism, his relation to Schiller, and the concept of irony.
Introduction: allegories of reference; the epistemolgy of metaphor; Pascal's allegory of persuasion; phenomenality and materiality in Kant; sign and symbol in Hegel's "Aesthetics"; Hegel on the sublime; Kant's materialism; Kant and Schiller; the concept of irony; reply to Raymond Geuss.