Hot property

by Françoise Meltzer.
 
Citation
Title:
Hot property
Author:
Françoise Meltzer.
Editor:
City:
Publisher:
University of Chicago Press
Year:
1994
Volume:
No. of Volumes:
Edition:
Pages:
171
Series Volume:
Series Editor:
Series Title:
Translator:
Language:
English
URL:
http://www.loc.gov/catdir/description/uchi051/93006275.html,http://www.loc.gov/catdir/toc/uchi051/93006275.html
DOI:
LCCN:
93006275
OCLC Number:
License
Select License
ISBN:
0226519759
Last Updated:
August 2nd, 2011
Abstract

But is it original? The question, on which so much of writing stakes its claim to greatness, may be more interesting than the answer. In this provocative book, Francoise Meltzer takes a subtle and incisive look at the anxiety of origins at the heart of the literary enterprise. Using four case studies, Meltzer reveals the shaky status of originality as a founding principle of the critical establishment. Freud, inventor of "dream work," turns a blind eye upon the dreams that were the starting point of his predecessor Descartes's famous methode, the one man's obsession with originality mirroring the other's fear of plagiarism. The Holocaust poet Paul Celan, whose sense of identity and place resided in his work, is devastated by a charge of plagiarism. Colette's husband Willy outdoes himself, and his "lazy" wife as well, with his enactment of literary seriousness. Walter Benjamin's early interpreters, notably Hannah Arendt and Theodor Adorno, insidiously undermine the originality of his project . In each of these cases, Meltzer shows how a threat to a writer's status as creator betrays the larger fraud of the originality myth itself. Fascinating for its insights into the ways originality is both at risk and at work in Western literary culture, Hot Propertywill engage all those who have an interest in questions of authorship, textual soveriegnty, and the legitimacy of the critical establishment.


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