‘Whither is fled the visionary gleam?’ asked Wordsworth. ‘Where is it now, the glory and the dream?’ These beseeching questions, once forwarded by the poet in the wake of the demise of his childhood sense of belonging, might now rightfully be asked with regard to organicism.1 What on earth has happened to organicism? What has become of the vitality and importance of this idea? One all too obvious answer might be that, like all the dreams which are mere facile illusions, that of organicism has been decisively banished by the cold, clear light of day. Reverie has yielded to lucidity. Yet what kind of lucidity is it that can do without the haloing light of this ‘visionary gleam’? Is not, as Poe intimated in the poem ‘A Dream Within a Dream’, all we see or seem directed — or deranged, perhaps — in some form or another, by dreams? And is not all wakefulness harassed, or even tempted, by a return of the obscure, oneiric obsessions of the night?
KeywordsModern Theory German Idealism Modern Thought Halo Light Home Ground
Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.
- 2.Jean-François Lyotard, The Postmodern Condition: A Report on Knowledge (translated by Geoff Bennington and Brian Massumi, Manchester: Manchester University Press, 1984), xxiv.Google Scholar
- 4.Maurice Blanchot, ‘The Athenaeum’, 359 (translation modified), in The Infinite Conversation (translated by Susan Hanson, Minnesota: University of Minneapolis Press, 1993).Google Scholar
- 6.Harold Bloom, The Ringers in the Tower: Studies in Romantic Tradition (Chicago: The University of Chicago Press, 1971), 13–35.Google Scholar
- 8.G. E. Moore’s Principia Ethica attacks a ‘radical notion of organic unity’ that ‘requires that any individual part we distinguish as contributing to form the whole cannot be so distinguished’ (‘Organic Unity: Analysis and Deconstruction’, 99, in Reed Way Dasenbrock (ed.), Redrawing the Lines: Analytic Philosophy, Deconstruction, and Literary Theory [Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press, 1989]).Google Scholar
- 11.William K. Wimsatt, ‘Organic Form: Some Questions about a Metaphor’, 62, in G. S. Rousseau (ed.), Organic Form: The Life of an Idea (London: Routledge & Kegan Paul, 1972).Google Scholar
- 14.Paul de Man, Allegories of Reading: Figural Language in Rousseau, Nietzsche, Rilke, and Proust (New Haven, CT: Yale University Press, 1979), 15–16 and 293–4.Google Scholar
- 15.Jacques Derrida, Of Grammatology (translated by Gayatri Chakravorty Spivak, Baltimore: The Johns Hopkins University Press, 1976), 24.Google Scholar
- 16.Werner Hamacher, Premises: Essays on Philosophy and Literature from Kant to Celan (translated by Peter Fenves, Stanford, CA: Stanford University Press, 1996).Google Scholar
- 17.(Philippe Lacoue-Labarthe and Jean-Luc Nancy, The Literary Absolute: The Theory of Literature in German Romanticism [translated by Philip Barnard and Cheryl Lester, Albany: State University of New York Press, 1988]), 29.Google Scholar
- 18.Andrew Bowie, Aesthetics and Subjectivity: From Kant to Nietzsche (Manchester: Manchester University Press, 1990).Google Scholar
- 19.Murray Krieger, A Reopening of Closure: Organicism Against Itself (New York: Columbia University Press, 1989), 2.Google Scholar
- 25.Kathleen M. Wheeler, Romanticism, Pragmatism and Deconstruction (Oxford: Blackwell, 1993), xiv.Google Scholar