_White Mythology: Metaphor in the Text of Philosophy_

Double-Take. Reading De Man and Derrida Writing on Tropes

In "Anthropomorphism and Trope in the Lyric," de Man argues that Nietzsche's sentence identifying truth as tropes takes on critical power through an anomaly in Nietzsche's list of rhetorical terms: "anthropomorphisms." Derrida's exploration in "White Mythology" of Aristotle's conceptualization of truth and metaphor reaches a similar conclusion: he finds among the premises identifying truth with language—Aristotle's inaugural figurations of metaphor and truth—a catachresis, one becomes not a trope but a proper name. In both essays, a surprising inflection of their rhetorical mode signals the discovery of such a disruption. Both Derrida and de Man associate these disruptions of an organized system of figures with Nietzsche—his texts' singular framing of the philosophical thought's tying together of trope and truth. The disruption reflects a possibility inhering in the configuration of trope and truth, tropes' passage into ideology.
May 2005

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