Saturday, September 19, 2009

Topos Eidon

"Rewriting Aristotle's topos eidon, Heidegger calls human being 'the place of meaning', the Da of Sein: Dasein." (The Shorter Routledge Encyclopedia of Philosophy, p. 354)

Compare what Jonathan Mayhew says about Lorca: "What is the duende, in fact, but a peculiarly Spanish version of the genius loci or "spirit of the place"?" (Apocryphal Lorca, p. 180)

Bring them together. Dasein is "the place of meaning"; duende is "the spirit of the place". Presence and spirit. Duende is to poetry what Dasein is to philosophy. What it is all about. In fact, Dasein is the "object" of philosophy just as duende is the "subject" of poetry. The scare quotes are altogether necessary since Dasein fundamentally resists objectification, just as the duende is not, properly speaking, subjective. There is talk of a theme.

Both terms are also, because they are left untranslated, the source of a particular kind of affectation about philosophy and poetry. A romanticism. A way of cultivating the "spirit" of the art without actually "getting into it", a way of playing at it without actually being there. Kitsch, as Jonathan puts it.

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