This book is an extended inquiry into the dimension of exteriority constructed by philosophical systems and literary works. Literature has, since its inception, depended on a rogue's gallery of outsiders-the more outlandish the better, with human attributes optional-as the impetus to its events and the motive for its developments. Philosophers have also vacillated between safeguarding the purity and consistency of their systematic projects and embracing contamination by alien and intransigent elements.
The unsettling encounter between interiority and exteriority is a philosophical and literary sideshow not nearly as frivolous as it might seem. Building upon Nietzsche's fatal confrontation "The Wanderer and His Shadow" and Jacques Derrida's initiation of the current era in critical theory with the formulation "The outside is the inside," the author pursues the vicussitudes of the dimensional frontier in a wide range of artifacts and authors. Among these are James Joyce, Walter Benjamin, James Baldwin, and William Faulkner. A welcome is further extended to the peculiar sublime introduced in the Zohar and in the texts of Georg Buchner, Franz Kafka,
Bruno Schulz, and Paul Celan.
Henry Sussman is Professor of Germanic Languages and Literatures at Yale University. The most recent of his many books are Idylls of the Wanderer: Outside in Literature and Theory and The Task of the Critic: Poetics, Philosophy, Religion (both Fordham).