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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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Idea of Poetry, Idea of Prose

Idea of Poetry, Idea of Prose

Chapter:
(p.97) Chapter 6 Idea of Poetry, Idea of Prose
Source:
The Work of Giorgio Agamben
Author(s):

Heron Nicholas

Publisher:
Edinburgh University Press
DOI:10.3366/edinburgh/9780748634620.003.0007

This chapter reconstructs the series of references, left largely unexamined by Giorgio Agamben himself, that gather around the central notion of ‘the idea of prose’. It reviews the origin of this movement in three major texts of Walter Benjamin: ‘The concept of criticism in German Romanticism’, ‘The Storyteller’, and the preparatory notes to his final text ‘On the Concept of History’. According to Benjamin, the basic epistemological presuppositions of the early Romantic concept of criticism are entirely concentrated in the concept of reflection. ‘The idea of poetry is prose’: this formula, according to Benjamin, is the ‘final determination’ of the early Romantic idea of art. The idea of poetry as that of prose must be confronted — according to that salient expression which, more than two decades later, suffuses Benjamin's very last fragments — with the idea of prose, understood, precisely, as that of poetry.

Keywords:   Giorgio Agamben, Walter Benjamin, prose, poetry, reflection, The Storyteller

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