NB Exemplary Text 2: beauty, the open whole, and Paul Celan

This series of pages — NB Exemplary Texts— are like post-its for later development.

From The Gift of Beauty and the Passion of Being by William Desmond, 117.

This text helps us recover the concept of beauty from the two-headed monster of modern idealism and nihilism. The happening of beauty creates a ‘between space’ traditionally named metaxu (Plato, Weil, Voegelin, Desmond and now thriving schools of Desmond exegetes.)

For my purposes this space is the poem. In this typically rich passage, one may find many insights into how and why poems structure human experience toward a transcendent other. Paul Celan’s revelatory practice has established this dynamic as central to our rethinking of poetry.

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Author: Tom D'Evelyn

Tom D'Evelyn is a private editor and writing tutor in Cranston RI and, thanks to the web, across the US and in the UK. He can be reached at tom.develyn@comcast.net. D'Evelyn has a PhD in Comparative Literature from UC Berkeley. Before retiring he held positions at The Christian Science Monitor, Harvard University Press, Boston University and Brown University. He ran a literary agency for ten years, publishing books by Leonard Nathan and Arthur Quinn, among others. Before moving to Portland OR he was managing editor at Single Island Press, Portsmouth NH. He blogs at http://tdevelyn.com and other sites.

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