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Adam Fieled @ Temple University: 2006-2011

Adam Fieled @ Temple University: 2006-2011

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Published by Adam Fieled
A representative grouping of seminar papers delivered by Adam Fieled at Temple University in Philadelphia between 2006-2011. These papers have recently been re-drafted (2013).
A representative grouping of seminar papers delivered by Adam Fieled at Temple University in Philadelphia between 2006-2011. These papers have recently been re-drafted (2013).

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Published by: Adam Fieled on Jul 20, 2013
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09/19/2013

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ADAM FIELED @TEMPLEUNIVERSITY 2006-2011
 
Preface
There is a slight advantage to doing serious critical and scholarly tasks if youhappen to be younger than forty. Graduate students have varied, often specific interests
 — 
 
 but their brains are still limber with the mutable fluidity of youth, and youth’s restless
energy. I arrived at Temple University, having been awarded a University Fellowship, inAugust 2006
 — 
I was thirty, a reasonable age to do so. My intellectual interests were, infact, varied
 — 
I was a publishing avant-garde poet (coterminous with my arrival atTemple were my first published poems in Jacket Magazine) with a vested interest inEnglish Romanticism, which I had studied with Dr. Stuart Curran and others at theUniversity of Pennsylvania. The lure of Modernism was not unknown to me, even as post-modernity appeared rather hollow and impoverished in comparison. Because I had
done my MFA at New England College “low residency,” I found myself with two and
half years of course work to plough through at Temple (for which I was rewarded with
my second master’s deg
ree). Writing seminar papers did not come especially easily tome
 — 
like most graduate students, I preferred to assay the topics and genres I felt mostdrawn to. Nevertheless, with some re-drafting from 2013, my better seminar papers go beyond the status of mere exercises. They are a hinge to a cohesive discourse.Several strong thesis arguments emerge from these pieces as a gestalt
 — 
thatRomanticism and the nineteenth century were a significant advance in intellectual andaffective depth over the sensibility and satire of the eighteenth where English-languagetextuality was concerned; that, in the twenty-first century, Romanticism andDeconstructionist theory must find a ways and means of cohabitation; and that terse brevity and clarity in critical and scholarly writing are preferable to discourses onlyextended to fill book-length publishing quotas, in the age of the Internet and the pdf. Thelong-term wrangle of textual interests between English (and German) Romanticism andDeconstruction would seem to be the most pressing and challenging crisis
 — 
the Internet
is the beginning of a “site” for this crisis to become
a chiasmus, but the theoreticalramparts blocking direct interaction between the two factions are formidable, and haveremained obdurately entrenched for the first half-
century of Deconstruction’s imperious
and, to some, forbidding presence. As post-modernity recedes (with its adjuncts, multi-culturalism and New Historicism), Deconstruction is what the twentieth century has bequeathed to us
 — 
inherin
g in it, an implicit rejection of America’s blarneying socio
- political rhetoric. Romanticism and Deconstructionism both reject, from different positions and with separate ethos, the post-modern facility of the representativelyAmerican. Some of Deconstruct
ion’s despair is this
ineluctable American presence.It would be unfortunate for the two factions to begin to barter over a sharednegation
 — 
but any complicity in 2013 would be a good start. Nor is it secure that a newtextual America will not arise
 — 
these pieces, though not representatively American,were both conceived and delivered in the United States. North Philadelphia is not a particularly idyllic locale
 — 
but textual histories are often predicated on inversions. Thisinversion foregrounds a concrete jungle rather than, say the river Cam; at the onset of amonstrous economic recession, by a poet/critic in a subaltern hierarchical position whononetheless worked from a disciplined nexus of ideas, which the re-drafting process hasclarified. I hope this textual subject is able to locate his own complicity in readership.
 
Elucidating Derrida and “D
iffera
nce”: Lecture Given at Temple
University by Adam Fieled, 10-16-2006
“We provisionally give the name “difference” to this sameness which is notidentical.”
 
Derrida’s concept “differance” has its basis in contradiction. What Derrida isessentially “doing,” though he might balk at the notion that formulating “differance”could be “doing” anything, is moving Saussure’s theories of language into an expanded
realm, that might be said to include the ontological, or the metaphysical, or both (or neither.) As we remember, Saussure, in founding Structuralism with his
Course inGeneral Linguistics
, posited that “in languages there are only differences,” i.e. all
 phonemes and other elements of language take their identity from all other phonemes andlanguage elements, and are defined relationally rather than individually. Derrida is telling
us that in naming “differance” through a displacement of “e” to “a”, he is, among other things, broadening the parameters of Saussure’s insight beyond language and linguistic
signs. The play of differences, Derrida tells us, is operational in every human sphere, andin all situations in which entities/substances/essences are perceived or intuited. All things
are perceived and identified through the principle of “difference,” i.e. all things take their 
meaning (in the broadest sense) from other things from which they differ. By taking
Saussure’s theory out of linguistics and casting it in a more expansive light, Derrida posits a “relative universe” in which individual identity, as “owned” by a constitutive and
constituting subject, becomes problematic as it is seen that identity is structured out of 
“difference,” plays of difference.
 
Derrida’s use of the word “provisionally” is important. It signifies a temporary
condition, an impermanent usage. This sets Derrida apart from earlier philosophers, like Nietzsche and Heidegger, who were much more definite and authoritative in their  pronouncements. The conditions by which post-Structural thought was created entailed aradical rethinking of writing, the author, autho
rity, and “privilege,” so that once theindividual, with his/her constitutive ego, was reduced by “differance” to a sort of “liminallimbo,” the act of writing, creating signs, and setting forth a specific “play of differences”
 became fraught with all sorts of complications and limitations that made every claim
“provisional.” If not just language but people exist in a “play of differences”, and if thisstate is marked out by a permanent condition of “difference,” then how can any given“person” (and person
does, in this context, need quotation marks) claim to use linguistic
signs with authority? “Differance” is operative on people, and on language too, so thatwhen a person attempts to use language instrumentally, a “double bind” inevitably and
invariably arises. Even naming this bind is a double bind, or maybe a triple bind; theconstitutive subject, the linguistic sign, and the anti-concept/anti-
word “differance” allchafe against an attempted “stranglehold by definition” in linguistic signage. Thus, the
la
nguage of qualification becomes imperative. Derrida cannot strangle “differance” intosubmission; it is too evanescent, too ungraspable; he must talk “around” it, and
everything he says must be qualified and guarded against facile usage that guaranteesmis
understanding. In fact, any claim to completely grasp “differance” would, to Derrida,seem fraudulent, because there is nothing to grasp, or a mere phantom. “Differance”

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