By Geoffrey H. Hartman, Jacques Derrida, Harold Bloom, Paul de Man, J. Hillis Miller
5 crucial and tough essays by way of top post-modern theorists at the paintings and nature of interpretation: Jacques Derrida, Harold Bloom, Geoffrey Hartman, Paul de guy, and J. Hillis Miller.
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It must move As little as possible. This is what the portrait says. But there is in that gaze a combination Of tenderness. amusement and regret. so powerful In its restraint that one cannot look for long. HAROLD BLOOM 25 The secret is tOO plain. The pity of it smarts, Makes hot tears spurt; that the soul is not a soul, Has no secret, is smaIl, and it fits Its hollow perfectly; its room, our moment of attention. We can remark that the actual painting looks rather like the actual Ashbery, and that this poet's characteristic expression could not be more accurately described than as "a combination/Of tenderness, amusement, and regret .
7 The first and obvious contrast is between a gentle and idyllic peace pursued by violent aggression. Shelley. an assiduous reader of Rousseau at a time when he was being read more closely than he has been since, evokes an am- PAUL DE MAN 47 bivalence of structure and of mood that is indeed specifically Rousseau's rather than anyone else's, including Wordsworth's. " and, in general, by the elements that prompted Schiller to discuss him under the heading of the contemporary idyll. But to this are juxtaposed elements that are closer to Machiavelli than to Pet rarch , concerned with political power as well as with economic and legal realities.
Not only because they represent or reflect on actions but because they themselves. literally. are actions. Their power to act exists independently of their power to know: Aristotle's or Plato's mastery of mind did not give them any control over the deeds of the world, also and especially the deeds that ensued as a consequence of their words and with which they were directly involved. The power that arms their words also makes them lose their power over them. Rousseau gains shape. face or figure only to lose it as he acquires it.