Friday, July 19, 2019
A Note Regarding Paul de Mans The Intention Structure of the Romantic Image :: Essays Papers
A Note Regarding Paul de Man's The Intention Structure of the Romantic Image In "The Intentional Structure of the Romantic Image," one encounters a piece of the twentieth-century discussion of the philosophical considerations of language. One can say that Paul de Man really takes the view of Romanticism akin to that of Martin Heidegger's view of poetry in general. Heidegger states that poetry must be a kind of "speaking being" or the creation of something "new" through language.(Note 1) Language itself stands upon itself in poetry according to Heidegger. De Man picks up the broad discussion of what language is with his discussion of the Romantic image. The main thesis of this essay lies in the difference between the everyday consciousness that one has of the concrete world and the consciousness which one achieves through the Romantic image. De Man says that these two functions of the consciousness differ and that the objects one finds in concrete nature are essentially different from those found in Romantic imagery. Paul de Man begins with a discussion of how the simile works in Romantic literature. In order to illustrate his point, he provides a simile from Holderlin. The English translation of this simile may be rendered in two ways according to helpful footnote on page 67. One may either translate, "Words will originate that are like flowers," or, "Words will have to originate in the same way that flowers originate." (Note 2) The latter rendering, that with which da Man concerns himself, provides a relationship between the origination of flowers and the origination of words. This simile relates something which is natural or found in nature, the origination of flowers, to something which does not have the same "objective" existence, the formation of words. This simile of words "originating like flowers" gives one an image which will not correspond to the "natural object," the flowers, as they exist in one's everyday experience of the world. One can take note of flowers blooming in a field, but one cannot sensibly see words blooming in a poem. In order to make his point clear, da Man discusses the difference between what he calls the natural object and the image. According to da Man, the natural object rests "safe in its immediate being." (Note 3) The concreteness of the natural object provides stability in its very being. The natural object does not need to be qualified in the same way that a word does.