Monday, 6 November 2000

From "Capital Calves: Undertaking an Overview"

By Kevin Nolan.

For Hegel, the lyric poet can only ever be an unhappy consciousness condemned to irony, a self-seeker simultaneously the agent of self-displacement. Each turn made in the effort to overcome this exile only tightens the spiral of vertiginous self-exposure. Thus Lukacs follows Hegel in seeing lyric subjectivity not as a moment in a dialectic, but as a symptom of the irreconcilable redemption of the person from the social body, and certainly not as the possible condition for some altered return to it. Since the nomologism of the exact sciences has separated fact from value, the form of modern subjectivity is implicitly lyrical, the enlightenment of the modern era composing not an escape from the kingdom of the blind but rather the form of an unending exile of value within subjectivity. That ‘moral structure of immediate knowledge’ becomes to Hegelian and Freudian alike a merely illusory instance, and therefore appears to substantiate the claims for an ‘end’ to the modern epoch made by Hegelians as far apart on the political spectrum as Francis Fukuyama, Frederic Jameson or T J Clark. How does any coherent defence of poetical autonomy survive that critique?

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