the hegel variations

has anyone had a chance to read this yet?

contemplating a purchase and would love to hear some thoughts before i do…

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One thought on “the hegel variations

  1. marcegoodman says:

    It’s a short book but I’m still reading it mostly because I’m working on Valences too. (I’ve been on a Jameson bender for months now and am in full agreement with Benjamin Kunkel’s recent suggestion in the LRB regarding “placing Jameson among the important American writers of the age tout court.”)

    I’m disadvantaged in not having read the Phenomenology, but even so, Jameson’s interest in a “non-teleological Hegel” and the gap between the Phenomenology and “Hegelianism” are interesting in themselves and especially so when laid out in those magisterial sentences of his:

    No, the most serious drawback to the Hegelian system seems to me rather the way in which it conceives of speculative thinking as “the consummation of itself” (namely, of Reason). We have quoted this passage in giving an account of Hegel’s critique of epistemology; but perhaps it can now be quoted against himself: Reason, he says there, “must demand that difference, that being, in its manifold variety, becomes its very own, that it behold itself as the _actual_ world and find itself present as a shape and Thing.” We thereby search the whole world, and outer space, and end up only touching ourselves, only seeing our own face persist through multitudinous differences and forms of otherness. Never truly to encounter the not-I, to come face-to-face with radical otherness (or even worse, to find ourselves in an historical dynamic in which it is precisely difference and otherness which is relentlessly being stamped out): such is the dilemma of the Hegelian dialectic, which contemporary philosophies of difference and otherness seem only able to confront with mystical evocations and imperatives. But it is a reproach which may well primarily challenge the Hegelian system as such rather than the _Phenomenology_, whose heterogeneities we have tried to display here.

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