Hans Ulrich Gumbrecht. Production of Presence is a comprehensive version of the thinking of Hans Ulrich Gumbrecht, one of the most consistently original literary scholars writing today. It offers a personalized account of some of the central theoretical movements in literary studies and in the humanities over the past thirty years, together with an equally personal view of a possible future. Based on this assessment of the past and the future of literary studies and the humanities, the book develops the provocative thesis that, through their exclusive dedication to interpretation, i. Interpretation alone cannot do justice to the dimension of "presence," a dimension in which cultural phenomena and cultural events become tangible and have an impact on our senses and our bodies.
|Published (Last):||4 April 2014|
|PDF File Size:||8.22 Mb|
|ePub File Size:||20.19 Mb|
|Price:||Free* [*Free Regsitration Required]|
He has authored about 20 books more are forthcoming and edited even more than that. He has published hundreds of academic essays and at least as many journalistic articles and reviews. Writing primarily in German and English, his work has also been widely translated into French, Spanish, Portuguese, Hungarian, and several other languages.
This prolific record poses serious problems for the traditional review essay. Mindful of this dilemma, the following review concentrates mostly on his latest book in English, Production of Presence.
The overall goal was to break free from the confinement of interpretation forever caught in the endless circle of presence and absence, signifier and signified, meaning and non-meaning that sustains both deconstruction and traditional hermeneutics. This was indeed a breaking free, but where was one to go? To the letter proper, that black mark on a white surface traditionally charged with obscuring the self-identical presence of the truth it signifies.
Under the auspices of this gaze, a different universe unfolds, one in which hermeneutics is exposed as a historical construct based upon particular institutional and social apparatus, one in which the production of meaning is recognized as an anonymous and contingent process rather than the controlled result of individual action, and one in which the technological media literally inscribe their message onto the human body which is subject to rather than the subject of the letter.
This promise, however, proved difficult to implement. This sign concept avoids the neat distinction between the purely spiritual and the purely material Only then, it seems, can there be hope for redemption.
Critics, by contrast, are unredeemable. This is not to say that Gumbrecht is unconcerned with the transference of knowledge or teaching in general, a topic he discusses at length in Production of Presence. Such academic conformism, Gumbrecht insists, restricts the freedom of thought, meaning that his own reflections on substance constitute a rebellious act against the current status quo in the Humanities.
Whereas Derrida has identified Western metaphysics with a primarily temporal notion of presence, Gumbrecht associates metaphysics with the history of interpretation instead. For this reason, he promotes the production of a primarily spatial notion of presence as the much needed antidote to Western metaphysics.
And in so far as deconstruction ceaselessly reflects upon — and thus participates in — the potential for meaning inherent in language, it epitomizes, for Gumbrecht, the very essence of the metaphysical and hermeneutic enterprise he seeks to leave behind. This critique might not bother deconstructionists all that much, given that Derrida himself has emphasized again and again the impossibility of a complete break with metaphysics.
Hence, he tries to disentangle Heidegger not only from his hermeneutic, but also from his deconstructive legacy — the latter being more or less an inverted version of the former — by re-examining the buried source of both. There is, however, no mention of Merleau-Ponty either — even though Merleau-Ponty, like Gumbrecht, sought to transcend the body-mind dichotomy by focusing on our silent perception of things. Nor does he provide a more comprehensive discussion of his Aristotelian terminology.
Hence, for Gumbrecht, tertium non datur : either we use language and produce meaning, or we fall silent and experience harmony with the world. Gumbrecht proceeds in a similar fashion. This is precisely the logic of the rhizome: to defy linearity and to remain open to the constant modification and reversals that characterize thought. Neither active nor passive, univocal Being is neutral. Or, quite the opposite, does he consider Deleuze still too committed a political thinker for his personal taste?
For whatever reason, Gumbrecht does not avail himself of the multiple opportunities to think through Deleuze, Merleau-Ponty, or others similarly interested in bodily presence. I hasten to add that imploding metaphysics is not the same as deconstructing it. Deconstruction works homeopathically: using hermeneutics to undo hermeneutics, it remains caught in the interpretative enterprise that sustains Western metaphysics.
I fully agree with Gumbrecht on this point. Imploding hermeneutics would no longer trace the signifying chain of language, but overload the entire system by forcing it to absorb more of the outside than it could possibly take in. Rather than starving hermeneutics, as Gumbrecht aims to do, one must overfeed it. If so, then what are the rational? If not, then who or what decides about whom to remember and whom to forget in our effort to think the experience of presence? Thus, in Lob des Sports , Gumbrecht reminds us about how often.
Lob The rigid juxtaposition set up in this quote is problematic. Obviously, these are not mutually exclusive propositions. Ultimately, this leads him to endorse much more radical positions than his philosophical project would lead one to assume. His political conservatism is exemplary in this regard. In a highly polemical article in the German Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung in October of , Gumbrecht denounced the German indeed European and world-wide disagreement with the American push for war in Iraq as a mere symptom of a deeply resentful and irrational Anti-Americanism, without giving any consideration for the specific merits of either the American or the German position.
For to do so would have led him back into the hermeneutic universe of interpretative deliberation he seeks to transcend. As Gumbrecht himself points out, hermeneutics remains, to this very day, inextricably intertwined with the metaphysical foundation of Western society. In my view, this tension between the philosophical critique of Western culture and its political defense is troubling.
For me, presence marks the beginning rather than the end of both thinking and being. He has also published numerous articles on media history, literary theory and continental philosophy. Glen Burns U of Minnesota P, , Hans Ulrich Gumbrecht, In Vivan Sobchack, Carnal Thoughts. Capitalism and Schizophrenia , trans. Gilles Deleuze, The Logic of Sense , ed. Constantin V. Boundas, trans. Project MUSE promotes the creation and dissemination of essential humanities and social science resources through collaboration with libraries, publishers, and scholars worldwide.
Institutional Login. LOG IN. Carsen Strathausen bio. Gumbrecht, Hans Ulrich. Production of Presence. What Meaning Cannot Convey. Stanford: Stanford UP, ISBN: Lob des Sports. Georg Deggerich. Frankfurt: Suhrkamp, Thus, in Lob des Sports , Gumbrecht reminds us about how often the Olympics in Nazi Germany have been evoked in order to argue that sports have long turned into a tool of political manipulation — when, in reality, it was Adolf Hitler who felt defeated by the rise of African-American athletes to international excellence and visibility in his capital.
Lob 21 The rigid juxtaposition set up in this quote is problematic. Notes 1. Previous Article. Next Article. Additional Information. Project MUSE Mission Project MUSE promotes the creation and dissemination of essential humanities and social science resources through collaboration with libraries, publishers, and scholars worldwide. Eliot Prose. Contact Contact Us Help.
Production of Presence: What Meaning Cannot Convey
Book Review. Hans Ulrich Gumbrecht,. With his book Production of Presence , Hans Ulrich Gumbrecht puts presence at the center of future academic practice in the arts and humanities. Gumbrecht, a professor of literature at Stanford University, recounts the rise of interpretation to its current dominant position in humanistic activities. He then explores the much different lived experience of presence.
Production of Presence : What Meaning Cannot Convey
He has authored about 20 books more are forthcoming and edited even more than that. He has published hundreds of academic essays and at least as many journalistic articles and reviews. Writing primarily in German and English, his work has also been widely translated into French, Spanish, Portuguese, Hungarian, and several other languages. This prolific record poses serious problems for the traditional review essay. Mindful of this dilemma, the following review concentrates mostly on his latest book in English, Production of Presence.