The possibility of literary theory has been repeatedly put at risk by the apparently simple question 'What is a literary text?' Throughout the twentieth century the epistemological status of literature, the problem of language's claim to true representation, has challenged our received notions of ontology and being. Thus the question 'What is literature?' has frequently sponsored highly philosophical interrogations of our inherited ways of comprehending the external world. In Singularities, Thomas Pepper addresses the relationship between textuality, value, and critical difficulty. In a rich sequence of nuanced close readings of especially demanding philosophical and literary texts, Singularities addresses key moments in Adorno, Blanchot, de Man, Derrida, Foucault, Althusser, Levinas and Celan. By offering a critique of the very process of thematic reading, this book addresses the whole question of truth and being, language and value, in a series of readings of sustained critical power.
Preface: truth or method; Introduction: Ode to X, or the essay as monstrosity; 1. Guilt by (un) free association: Adorno on Romance et al., with some notes on the Schlock experience; 2. Anamorphoses of grammar: Derrida on Heidegger; 3. Absolute constructions, an essay at Paul de Man; 4. Because the nights: Blanchots's Celui qui ne m'accompagnait pas; 5. Afterword: er, or borrowing from Peter to pay Paul: further notes on Celan's translation of Shakespeare's Sonnet 105.