Paul de Man, from the outset of his career, concerned himself with the act of reading and with discovering what a rigorous mode of reading can produce. The contributors to this volume—conceived not long before de Man's death in 1983—address his theory and practice of reading: the nature of those readings and what they signify for reading in general, not just for literary texts. De Man explored the act of reading because in it he could bring together—in order to cancel—the subjects known as reader and writer, the referent known as reality, and the medium known as language. In the act of reading de Man, the authors of this book ask where his work leaves us, what changes he made in the world of criticism and writing in general, and what we do differently because of him.
The contributors: Geoffrey Hartman, Jacques Derrida, Deborah Esch, Neil Hertz, Carol Jacobs, Kevin Newmark, Peggy Kamuf, J. Hillis Miller, Werner Hamacher, Hans Robert Jauss, Geoffrey Bennington, Bill Readings, Timothy Bahti, and Rodolphe Gasché.
Lindsay Waters is General Editor at Harvard University Press. Wlad Godzich is professor of comparative literature at the Université de Montréal and co-editor of the Theory and History of Literature series.