Continental Philosophy Review

, Volume 47, Issue 3–4, pp 353–371 | Cite as

The secret according to Heidegger and “The Purloined Letter” by Poe

  • Rudolf BernetEmail author


Heidegger’s lecture course on “Parmenides” (1942/1943) lays strong emphasis on the dimension of lethe in truth (aletheia). Such a withdrawal belonging to unconcealment should not be confused with a dissembling or hiding (pseudos). A concealment pertaining to the presence of a thing can be illustrated by means of a phenomenological description of oblivion, anamnesis, the rare, the gift and the secret. Especially Heidegger’s account of an “open secret” lends itself to a philosophical interpretation of Poe’s “The Purloined Letter”. Dupin recurrently meditates on the right way of keeping a secret and mocks the police for confusing lethe with pseudos. Incidentally, stealing is shown to be no less a form of unconcealment than the gift. Poe’s description of how and where The Purloined Letter is openly present in the minister’s study sheds light on how a thing can remain secret by giving way to other things.


Aletheia Lethe Pseudos Secret Gift Oblivion 


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht 2014

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.University of LeuvenLouvainBelgium

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