Cover: The Wild Card of Reading in PAPERBACK

The Wild Card of Reading

On Paul de Man

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$37.00 • £29.95 • €33.50

ISBN 9780674952966

Publication: September 1998


610 pages

6-1/8 x 9-1/4 inches


One of the most knowledgeable and provocative explicators of Paul de Man’s writings, Rodolphe Gasché, a philosopher by training, demonstrates for the first time the systematic coherence of the critic’s work, insisting that de Man continues to merit close attention despite his notoriously difficult and obscure style. Gasché shows that de Man’s “reading” centers on a dimension of the texts that is irreducible to any possible meaning, a dimension characterized by the “absolutely singular.”

Given that de Man and Derrida are both termed deconstructionists, Gasché differentiates between the two by emphasizing Derrida’s primary interest in “writing,” and postulates that the best way to come to terms with de Man’s works is to “read” them athwart the writings of Kant, Fichte, Hegel, Heidegger, and Derrida. He shows his respect for the “immanent logic” of de Man’s thought—which he lays out in great detail—while revealing his uneasiness at the oddness of that thought and its consequences.