Phenomenology, Literature, Dissemination

In: Research in Phenomenology
Author: D.J.S. Cross1
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  • 1 Pontificia Universidad Católica de Chile, Chile
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This article analyzes the complex relation of phenomenology and literature in the work of Husserl and Derrida. In the first part, I show that the limited ideality of the literary object necessarily situates it in a derivative region of phenomenology. In the second part, however, I problematize the regional status of literature by elaborating a brief but important footnote in which Husserl broadens the concept of literature to embrace all cultural products whatsoever. Yet, because even this broadened concept of literature ultimately remains secondary for the phenomenologist, it only redoubles and ratifies the submission of literature to the more ideal objectivities of mathematical disciplines like geometry. The third part, finally, mobilizes Derrida’s notion of “dissemination,” prepared in and unintelligible apart from his early engagement with Husserlian phenomenology, in order to broach a notion of literature that the phenomenologist can neither circumscribe nor describe.

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