Rodolphe Gasché is SUNY Distinguished Professor and Eugenio Donato Professor of Comparative Literature at the University at Buffalo, State University of New York. His many books include Deconstruction, Its Force, Its Violence: together with Have We Done with the Empire of Judgment?, also published by SUNY Press.
Gasché argues that "the scenes of production" within literary works, created by their authors yet independent of those authors' intentions, stage a work's own production in virtual fashion and thus accomplish for those works a certain ideal ontological status that allows for both historical endurance and creative interpretation.
In Gasché's construction of these scenes, in which literary works render visible within their own fabric the invisible conditions of their autonomous existence, certain images prevail: the fold, the star, the veil. By showing that these literary images are not simply the opposites of concepts, he not only puts into question the common opposition between literature and philosophy but shows that literary works perform a way of "argumentation" that, in spite of all its difference from philosophical conceptuality, is on a par with it.
The argument progresses through close readings of literary works by Lautréamont, Nerval, de l'Isle Adam, Huysman, Flaubert, Artaud, Blanchot, Defoe, and Melville.