Thursday, July 28, 2011


My pet project of comparing Lorca's duende and Heidegger's Dasein continues to bear fruit.

Lorca's lecture, "Theory and Play of the Duende", can be transposed pangrammatically as "The Practice and Work of Dasein". Now, dipping into Being and Time these past few days, I've been brooding on the notion of "care", which is absolutely central to that work. Heidegger also explains "reality" [Wirklichkeit] as having an essential relation to "working" [wirken], and it seems natural to think of care as something that pertains to one's work. Careful work is existentially important.

Now, if I'm right about this Dasein-duende connection, then Dasein is to duende as existence is to inspiration. If our existence is grounded in the care we take in our work, then in what might we ground inspiration? Well, work is to play as the real is to the ideal, or rather work is to the real as play is to the ideal. If care brings existence to the real through work, what will bring inspiration to the ideal through play?

It seems to me that the answer is daring. Existence is grounded in careful work; inspiration stems from daring play. It has a kind of plausibility, and it also jibes nicely with the following: courage is to the ideal as curiosity is to the real.


From Lorca's lecture: "The bull has its own orbit: the toreador his, and between orbit and orbit lies the point of danger, where the vertex of terrible play exists."

From Heidegger's "Science and Reflection": "Aristotle's fundamental word for presencing, energeia, is properly translated by our word Wirklichkeit [reality] only if we, for our part, think the word wirken [to work] as the Greeks thought it, in the sense of bringing hither—into unconcealment, forth—into presencing." (In QTaOE, p. 160-1)

Heidegger, of course, was also fond of quoting Hölderlin's "where danger is, grows/The saving power also." The issue here is how care and daring constitute the here and now.


Jonathan said...

Very interesting. I'm trying to approach this from another direction. Other Spanish poets, like Valente, are overtly Heideggerian, but are somewhat reluctant to recognize Lorca as a precursor. I wrote about Valente, Heidegger, and Celan in an article for Diacritics that you should be able to access on Kuscholarworks, but I wasn't thinking, yet, about Lorca in connection with this. I kind of understand the duende now, but I don't quite get the Dasein yet. When you get done with this paper I'd like to read it.

Jonathan said...

Also, what about Nietzsche as common influence on both Heidegger and Lorca?

Thomas said...

Yes, N said "live dangerously", I believe.

(I have read you Diacritics article and will definitely draw on it...another post.)