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Melville's Intervisionary Network: Balzac, Hawthorne, and Realism in the American Renaissance by John Haydock (review)

Melville's Intervisionary Network: Balzac, Hawthorne, and Realism in the American Renaissance by... seems to be the ethical spirit of Christianity itself, a spirit which turns out to look very much like the ethos of hermeneutics: listening to the other, entering into sensitive dialogue with the other, loving the other as a neighbor and as a friend. The same goes for philosophy, Vattimo seems to indicate. Philosophy’s ‘Christianization’ is virtually tantamount to philosophy’s ‘hermeneuticalization,’ so to speak. When philosophy abandons its rigidly objectivistic conception of truth, and becomes aware that truth is achieved (but never finalized) by dialogue and negotiation, it realizes its own truth—philosophy is hermeneutical. Opinions will differ, of course, as to whether this philosophical prise de conscience necessarily implies the adoption of a specifically Christian ethics. Some might prefer to invoke Levinas rather than Saint Paul. Some, indeed, might prefer to pattern the hermeneutic virtues on Aristotle’s Nichomachean Ethics, rather than on any brand of Judeo-­ hristianity. In any case, Vattimo provides us with another experiment in political theology, as Critchley puts it, where faith remains key to the philosophical conversation, especially at present. What we need, then, is “an attitude of rediscovered religiosity free from preoccupations with power” (171), and a “postmodern religious experience in which the http://www.deepdyve.com/assets/images/DeepDyve-Logo-lg.png The Comparatist University of North Carolina Press

Melville's Intervisionary Network: Balzac, Hawthorne, and Realism in the American Renaissance by John Haydock (review)

The Comparatist , Volume 41 – Nov 1, 2017

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Publisher
University of North Carolina Press
Copyright
Copyright © Southern Comparative Literature Association.
ISSN
1559-0887
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Abstract

seems to be the ethical spirit of Christianity itself, a spirit which turns out to look very much like the ethos of hermeneutics: listening to the other, entering into sensitive dialogue with the other, loving the other as a neighbor and as a friend. The same goes for philosophy, Vattimo seems to indicate. Philosophy’s ‘Christianization’ is virtually tantamount to philosophy’s ‘hermeneuticalization,’ so to speak. When philosophy abandons its rigidly objectivistic conception of truth, and becomes aware that truth is achieved (but never finalized) by dialogue and negotiation, it realizes its own truth—philosophy is hermeneutical. Opinions will differ, of course, as to whether this philosophical prise de conscience necessarily implies the adoption of a specifically Christian ethics. Some might prefer to invoke Levinas rather than Saint Paul. Some, indeed, might prefer to pattern the hermeneutic virtues on Aristotle’s Nichomachean Ethics, rather than on any brand of Judeo-­ hristianity. In any case, Vattimo provides us with another experiment in political theology, as Critchley puts it, where faith remains key to the philosophical conversation, especially at present. What we need, then, is “an attitude of rediscovered religiosity free from preoccupations with power” (171), and a “postmodern religious experience in which the

Journal

The ComparatistUniversity of North Carolina Press

Published: Nov 1, 2017

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