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The Work of Giorgio AgambenLaw, Literature, Life$
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Justin Clemens and Nicholas Heron

Print publication date: 2008

Print ISBN-13: 9780748634620

Published to Edinburgh Scholarship Online: March 2012

DOI: 10.3366/edinburgh/9780748634620.001.0001

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Integral Actuality: On Giorgio Agamben's Idea of Prose

Integral Actuality: On Giorgio Agamben's Idea of Prose

(p.28) Chapter 2 Integral Actuality: On Giorgio Agamben's Idea of Prose
The Work of Giorgio Agamben

Alexander García Düttmann

Edinburgh University Press

This chapter investigates the relation between ‘poetry’ and ‘prose’ in Giorgio Agamben's book Idea of Prose. It also examines what is called the ‘happy medium’ of pure communicability which obsesses Agamben, and its drive towards an integral actuality that attempts to restore what has never taken place, beyond the indispensable hesitations of the melancholic temperament that refuses to give up on the constitutively lost object. Prose and poetry expose themselves to one another and never succeed in constituting a unity or a stable identity. Walter Benjamin uses the expression ‘idea of prose’ to indicate a relationship between language, world, and history that can no longer be thought according to the logic of presupposition. The intuition is found that leads to the thought of the idea of prose expressed with an extreme intensity and a disturbing simplicity in a fragment from Theodor Adorno entitled ‘On Metaphysics’.

Keywords:   Giorgio Agamben, Idea of Prose, poetry, prose, Walter Benjamin, language, world, history

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