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Michel Henry, Marx (Paris : Editions Gallimard, x976), 2 volumes.


With the possible exception of Freud, probably no thinker since Hegel has done as
much as Marx to make us aware of the existence and logic of the concealed
forces that shape our social life. But few thinkers are as difficult to understand, as
the voluminous and often contradictory Marxian secondary literature abundantly
demonstrates. Indeed, anyone who has inspected this literature or thought about the
nature of his position is probably aware that there are a number of special problems
which need to be taken into account in interpreting Marx's views. It may even be
the case, since the obstacles are so important and pervasive, that the problem of
Marx interpretation needs to be faced as a prolegomenal step to the study of the
texts themselves.
From this perspective, the Present work may be a turning point in the Marx
discussion. In any event, it is a major event in Marx scholarship. Full scale studies
of Marx are very rare. It is even more rare to find an objective discussion of Marx,
free both from political bias or the Marxist presuppositions which vitiate so much
of the secondary literature on Marx by rendering it circular. And although there is
no dearth of discussion concerning Marx, the special virtue of Henry's massive new
study is that it both interprets the text and raises the conditions of their interpretation.

I
Although perhaps not well known to the Anglo-Saxon scholarly community, Henry
has a solid philosophical reputation in France stemming from two earlier works,
L'Essence de la manifestation (I963) and Philosophie et phgnomdnologie du co~'ps
(I965). He is further a novelist of some distinction and recent winner of a literary
award. His literary penchant is apparent in his masterly style, unusual even for a
French writer. The following passage, which should be quoted in the original French,
is not untypical :
Si Le Capital est le m6morial et le martyrologe des individus de son temps, c'est que
cdui-ci est le temps propMtique oh le savoir salt n'etre que l'id4ologie de la praxis,
off les documents eux-mSmes vont dire ee qu'est la r&lit6. (=-444)
Henry develops his present discussion in the form of a lecture de texte. As commonly
understood, this technique implies an attempt to work o u t an immanen't textual
interpretation in the form of a close reading, which mainly relies for its dev:ei~pment
on internal indications in a text or series of texts. So understood, one cou!d fairly
expect a rather monochromatic and even rather microscopic study which weighs and
sifts possible readings. But although to some extent this is the case, Henry's analysis
has other dimensions which require our notice. In particular, he feels called upon,
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while interpreting Marx's position, to attack Marxism in general, and particularly the
Althusserian structuralist approach, which represents a rival lecture de texte. As a
result, what might otherwise have been a dreary reading of Marx's writings is
transformed into an exciting study which combines the interpretation of Marx's
position with a simultaneous attack on other specific interpretations and the interpretative tradition itself.
The book is divided into twelve chapters, an introduction and a conclusion,
comprising two volumes of approximately equal length and 965 pages of closely
argued text. The initial volume, which includes the introduction and first five
chapters, deals more or less chronologically with selected writings through the
German Ideology, with some excursions into later material. Henry here develops an
interpretation of Marx's theory as philosophy in terms of the central concept of
praxis. The second volume, which contains the remaining chapters and the conclusion,
is devoted mainly to Marxian political economy from a philosophical perspective.
Relying on the discussion in the first volume, Henry argues at length that philosophy
and political economy are continuous in Marx's position.
II
After this general presentation, we can now turn to the work as a whole. The
introduction, which is entitled "Theory of the Texts," provides the occasion for
Henry to state some of his basic ideas. Although they are not developed systematically, one can nevertheless isolate three main themes, which shape the discussion
throughout the book. To begin with, Marxism is merely the ensemble of misunderstandings concerning Marx's position. Second, Marx's theory is primarily a
philosophy. Finally, Marx's fundamental insight concerns the concept of praxis.
The novelty of this approach is easily demonstrated. Although the importance
of praxis in Marx's position has often been noted, most commentators reject the
label of philosophy as not descriptive of Marx's theory. Indeed, ever since Engels
first asserted in Ludwig Feuerbach and the Outcome of Classical German Philosophy
that Marx's view is incompatible with philosophy, this has been an important dogma,
indeed almost an article of faith for Maxism. Thus with respect to the more frequent
lines of Marx interpretation, Henry's emphasis on praxis as the central concept
of Marx's philosophy agrees with the importance usually accorded to this concept,
but disagrees as to the nature of the theory to which it belongs.
Turning now to the text, the basic point which Henry wishes to make in the
first volume can be summed up in the following citation:
.Marx's entire philosophical effort was to substitute the conception of the real
individual as producer and consumer, for the traditional ideological conception of
the individual defined by his consciousness, namely the manner in which he represents t h i n g s . . . (2.23)
.

Henry attempts to bring this point out through largely immanent interpretation of
the early writings.
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The essential points can be summarized in rapid order. Skipping over earlier
texts, notably the Doktordisse~'tation which Lukaes and Hartmann for instance find
so significant for Marx's later evolution, Henry begins his analysis with the Critique
of Hegel's Doctrine of the State. Henry sees the early emphasis on reality, against
which Marx tests Hegel's view of the state, as the initial emergence of a dominant
theme which later leads Marx on to develop his own philosophy. Pointing to the
irreducibility of individuality to an ideal essence, Marx rejects Hegel's proposed
reconciliation of the universal and the particular. But the critical point transcends
the immediate context in which it is formulated. For in his rejection of the suggested
Hegelian mediation, Marx undermines the speculative Hegelian synthesis or, as
Henry terms it, Hegel's ideal universalist ontology.
Although sceptical of the proposed solution, Marx remains concerned by the
I-Iegelian problem of the unity of civil society and the state. In the Paris A4anuscripts, which Henry discusses next under the heading of "Marx's Youthful Humanism," Marx tackles this problem with the aid of the Feuerbachian conception of
species-being (Gattungswesen). Both in Feuerbach and Marx, in Henry's opinion,
this concept refers to the generic man and not the individual. Further presupposing
the Feuerbachian critique of religion, Marx advances the idea of proletarian revolution as a means for achieving the desired reconciliation. But since the Feuerbachian
conception of species-being, which Marx presupposes at this point, is merely a
camouflaged version of Hegelian spirit, Marx's youthful humanism is seen to be
hidden Hegelianism. By the same token, his humanism or naturalism is nothing
other than idealism.
In the "Reduction of Totalities," Henry turns to the German Ideology in order
to examine the question of history. Arguing that the Hegelian conception is the unhappy result of the "invasion" of German metaphysics into the spheres of history
and society, he proposes that its doctrine of the self-sufficiency of history is partially
attributable to an erroneous conception of man as a generic being. In Marx's rejection
of the Hegelian dialectical model of history, several conclusions follow for his own
position. To begin with, Marx must renounce the idea that history automatically
produces truth. At the same time, he must abandon the concept of species-being
which subtends the Hegelian philosophy in favor of a concept of the human
individual which will henceforth constitute a parameter of his thought. And it
further follows that, by virtue of his rejection of the dialectical view of history,
Marx's own position cannot be described as dialectical materialism. Indeed, the latter
has nothing at all to do with Marx's own view, or so Henry believes, but is merely
a theory invented by his epigones to substitute for a position they could not understand.
In the "Determination of Reality," Henry studies the Theses on Feuerbach from
an epistemological perspective. In Feuerbach's position, reality or practice is lacking
any necessary relation to action. "Feuerbach's error is precisely not to have understood that the object of intuition, which this intuition presents us as the world
and as multiple sensory appearances of the world, is nothing other than praxis, in
reality the multiple activities of individuals." (r.362-3) In taking action or praxis
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seriously, Marx breaks with Feuerbach. On Marx's rival theory, "empirical activity
is nothing other than the sensory activity or praxis as present for theory, and this
is the mode in which praxis is accessible that is no longer constituted by praxis
itself." (I.35I)
In the last chapter of the first volume, Henry returns to the German Ideology,
making use of the epistemological ideas just developed, in order to prepare for a
transition to Marxian political economy. In his terminology, ideology reflects "an
ontological inequality between reality and its representation." (1.377) But the
opposition in question is merely another name for that between theory and practice.
Now reality, which is practice, underlies and justifies its representation. The problem
Marx hence faces is to work out a theory of praxis, which in his vocabulary is
merely another name for science. Summing up the results of Marx's critique of
contemporary thought and the direction in which his thinking will need to move,
Henry writes :
Marx's abandonment of science is, as has been shown, the abandonment of the
Hegelian philosophy, of the autonomous thematic development (thdmatisation) of the
conscious ideality (idgalitd conscientielle), in favor of reality identified with praxis. It
is the emergence of the latter which motivates the orientation of the problematic
towards economics, which is nothing other than the thematic development of praxis.
But the thematic development of praxis is, for Marx, the same as science. (1.432-3)
In the second volume, which is mainly devoted to Marxian political economy,
Henry argues at length that Marx's view of the active individual is presupposed in
the later phase of his thought. Henry thus is at pains to demonstrate a continuity
between earlier and later sides of Marx's thinking which has often been denied
in the recent literature, especially in France. Since this part of the essay consists
mainly of an application of the interpretation already stated, the summary can move
more quickly.
Henry begins with a discussion of the "Final Presuppositions" of Marxian political economy in an argument which i s unclear and hence difficult to restate. The
three presuppositions are the Marxian concept of the individual discussed above;
individual life, which is to be understood in contradistinction to the prevailing
romantic notions, such as the Hegelian world soul; and life itself, not as fortuitous,
but as determined. It is Henry's contention that the problem of political economy
emerges from the relation and paradoxical negation of these three fundamental parameters of reality, and in the immediate sense as alienation.
Taking up this theme ,in "Economy as Alienated Life," Henry maintains that
free market economy results in alienation, since through a form of teleological inversion individual life is subordinated to the needs of the market place. Alienation
is here understood in a non-Hegelian sense already familiar from the Paris Manuscripts. Against those who contend that this concept is absent from Marx's later
writings, Henry argues vigorously that, on the contrary, it is fundamental to Capital
since, for Marx, "alienation is exchange itself." (2.i29) And from this perspective,
it follows that "the central theme of Capital" is merely the "elucidation of real
alienation, as the alienation of work." (2.x34)
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Having to his satisfaction isolated the presuppositions of Marxian political economy


and established alienation as its basic result, Henry now applies the latter concept
to the "Transcendental Genesis of Economics." Casting Marx in the somewhat surprising role of the transcendental philosopher, Henry proposes that Marx's interests
lie less in the history of exchange than in its possibility in general and hence in the
possibility of a market economy. Since abstract labor, the factor which permits the
exchange process to function, is basically alienating, Henry contends that "Alienation,
as identical to abstraction, is the foudational act (acre p*'ofondateur) of economics,
and, precisdy, its transcendental genesis." (2.I54)
Since the next four chapters (chapters 9 " 12) are mainly concerned with the inner
structure of Marxian economy, we can pass over them rapidly. In the "Reality of
Economic Reality," Henry emphasizes that praxis is not in itself economic, from which
it follows that economic reality is merely a portion of reality in general. In the
"Radical Reduction of Capital to Subjectivity," Marx's device of postulating constant
capital as equal to zero is shown to be a means for the calculation of value as
constituted by praxis. It follows that, as Henry observes in the "Repetition of Essential Theses,' value is subjective in origin. In the "Structure of the First Volume"
Henry contends that the bizarre arrangement of the initial book of Capital, the only
one completed by Marx himself, is due to his "subjective theory of value and surplus
value." (2.4o9)
In the final pages of the latter chapter and in the "Conclusion: Socialism,"
Henry makes the transition from political economy to the concept of the individual,
He relies heavily here on Marx's observation in the Grundrisse that when work
ceases to be the principal source of value, value can no longer be measured in
terms of work. Accordingly Henry argues, somewhat simplistically it would seem,
since this point has the effect of entirely eliminating the concept of revolution from
Matzc's thought, that the "passage from capitalism to socialism is none other than
the replacement presumably "by machines of human labor," which "tends towards
zero." (2.450) The resultant individual freedom will be foreign to capitalism. Indeed,
Henry emphasizes that its social character is the result, not the presupposition of,
capitalism. But since the theory of the individual, which arises in Marx's concern to
come to grips with Hegel and Feuerbach, further forms the basis of his transcendental
analysis of political economy, we can follow Henry's claim with respect to Marx's
writings :
What appears in them, in a manner as clear as it is exceptional in the history of
philosophy, is a metaphysics of the individual. (2.445)
III

Although rather lengthy, the length of the summary does not seem out of proportion
to the size and importance of Henry's essay. An enormous amount of detail, far
more than it has been possible to include and often of real interest, has perforce
been omitted. I have further, for the most part, refrained from critical commentary.
Given the complexity of the discussion and its chronological character, it seemed
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preferable to let the main ideas emerge unhindered as much as possible by evaluative
statements. Turning now to an assessment of the book, I shall discuss it on several
levels, concerning its success as an immanent interpretation, the appropriateness
of its technique for the kind of study in question, and the light it casts on the
problem of Marx interpretation.
To evaluate Henry's interpretation of Marx, the main lines of the argument must
be reconstructed, albeit in simplified style, in systematic form. Beginning from the
assumption that Marxism cannot achieve a correct interpretation of Marx's position,
since it arose in ignorance of certain of Marx's texts, Henry maintains that Marx is
primarily interested in testing philosophical theory in terms of experience and in
formulating an adequate philosophy of experience. Since man is basically an active
being, a philosophy of experience needs to start from man's quasi-sensuous activity
or praxis as an initial category. Marxian praxis hence functions both as a standard
in terms of which philosophers such as Hegel and Feue,'bach are to be criticized and
as the basis for Marx's own theory of political economy. Hence Marx's position can
be described as a philosophy of praxis or, in Henry's language, a metaphysics of the
individual.
Taken as a whole, this argument has much to recommend it. In the first place,
it is a major attempt, and surprisingly successful at that, to view a number of Marx's
writings as constituting an organic whole. For various reasons, there has recently
been an unfortunate tendency to maintain that at different periods in his career
Marx was concerned with entirely disparate problems, so that it is perfectly permissible to isolate writings from different stages of his development as separable and
separate. Against this approach, Henry emphasizes, correctly in my opinion, that
there are a small number of basic concerns which continue to animate Marx's
position throughout and which lead him to develop it on several different planes,
including philosophy and political economy.
In the course of his discussion, Henry further takes the opportunity to attack,
if not entirely to dispel, a number of myths which inhabit the secondary literature.
Ours is an age which is unfortunately characterized by the proliferation of secondary
literature that, to an alarming extent, is of rather secondary quality. All too often
its authors attend more to one another than to the primary texts. This is especially
the case as regards Marx. In his concern to clear away some of the more mythological
concepts in the secondary literature, such as dialectical materialism, which do so
much to confuse the interpretation of Marx's theory, Henry has rendered a valuable
service.
.Henry has further contributed to an understanding of the central role of human
individuality in Marx's thought. This is an aspect of his position which has generated
much confusion in recent years. The most diverse and contradictory claims have been
made, including that Marx's view of the individual is central to his position (Fromm
et al.), that his view of individuality is largely absent (Sartre), that the concept of
the human individual relates only to Marx's early writings (Althusser), and that
Marx's interest is not in the individual but in the class (S6ve). Although the
situation is confused as a result of the proliferation of conflicting interpretations, the
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merit of Henry's discussion is that it represents the first large-scale attempt to


demonstrate that Marx's position is in the final analysis a philosophy of the individual.
Henry's interesting discussion of alienation further deserves mention. It has frequently been observed that there is a quasi-religious element in Marx's thought (e.g.,
Tucker), but so far this aspect has proven difficult to define. Henry refers to the
Pauline conception of kenosis, roughly the self-sacrifice of Jesus Christ. His suggestion is that in Marx's position the proletariat stands for Christ and Marxian
alienation is related, through Hegel and Luther, to the Pauline idea of kenosis.
From this reasoning Henry infei's that, in virtue of his metaphysics of the individual,
Marx is "one of the foremost (l'un des premiers) Western Christian thinkers."
(2.445) And although this may be going too far in view of Marx's attitude towards
religion, the suggestion linking his position with Christianity through the concept of
kenosis is initially persuasive and worthy of further scrutiny.

IV
But although I am in general agreement with and favorable to the textual discussions as
a whole, I think it rarely goes far enough to make its point and thus does not demonstrate its interpretation as correct. Despite the length of the study and its detailed
nature, it would appear that at crucial phases of the argument the author is unaware
of the complex issues to be resolved. As a result although the discussion is interesting,
it is often too elementary and occasionally in error, as several examples will show.
In the present context, the claim that Marx's position is a metaphysics of the individual means that it is a philosophy of praxis. With this in mind, I shall organize
my comments around the themes of philosophy and praxis, as well as related issues.
The treatment of Marx's view as metaphysics and philosophy could stand some
further development, To begin with, something needs to be said concerning the
relation of metaphysics and philosophy, since this is a disputed topic. It is not at
all clear that the former constitutes an acceptable enterprise. Ever since Hume and
Kant, the claim that a position is metaphysics has often been a signal that it engaged
in an impossible task. Now this is clearly not Henry's feeling about Marx's position,
but he needs to defend it against the kind of a priori objection which has so often
been raised against metaphysics in the past.
In making the claim that Marx's position is philosophy, Henry is under an
obligation to indicate what he takes philosophy to be. Now this is, at least for the
English-speaking reader, no easy task. What precisely, to take a single example, is
the common feature of Plato's dialogues and modal logic ? Henry's approach is to
indicate that a theory is philosophy if its principles are formulated textually. "We
call those texts philosophical which contain and define the ultimate (derni&'e)
theory." ( i . i i ) But this definition is too broad, since it is difficult to specify any
theory whatsoever which is excluded by it. As a result, the assertion that Mazx's
position is philosophy is deprived of any real meaning.
When Henry attempts to specify the kind of philosophy exhibited by the Marxian
position, he runs the risk of serious error. According t O Henry, Marx is constantly
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in search of reality as a "foundation" (/ondement) (I.u6) Now, as Henry doubtless


knows, the problem of foundationalism is intimately associated with the development
of the post-Cartesian tradition. And although it may well be the case that Marx is
constantly preoccupied with reality as the touchstone for theory, this does not mean
that he was a philosophical foundationalist. Henry needs to observe this distinction,
since it is so often honored only in the breach. Indeed, one of my reservations about
Sartre's attempt to develop Marxian social theory in his Critique de la raison dialectique is my suspicion that he desires to transform it into an orthodox philosophy by
supplying the Cartesian foundation it lacks. I suspect that Henry, in much the same
way as Sartre, has failed to perceive that one of the striking characteristics of Marx's
position is the rejection of the idea that philosophy must or even can be constructed
successfully in the foundadonalist mode.
I am further dubious with respect to Henry's claim that Marx's metaphysics of the
individual can be labelled a reversal of the tradition, if this is taken to mean a
substantial departure from the contemporary philosophical context. To be sure, the
concept of individuality is substantially lacking in philosophy prior to the Renaissance,
with the signal exception of Augustine. Further, despite Descartes' celebrated emphasis on subjectivity in his conception of the cogito, he ultimately subordinates
individuality to epistemological considerations, as is evident in his spectator theory
of human being. But in the anti-Cartesian evolution of philosophic theory, whose
first prominent representative is Vico and which is of decisive importance in late
eighteenth and nineteenth century thought, an interest in man as an active being is
common to such thinkers as Kant, Fichte, Feuerbach, and the young Hegelians.
Marx's metaphysics of the individual is hence less a break with the immediate
tradition than a further link in the anti-Cartesian concern with man as an active
being.
Henry's discussion of praxis is also in need of further development. Although
this is conjecture, one imagines that Henry does not feel called upon to defend
his belief that Marx's theory is philosophy since he assumes that praxis is eo ipso a
philosophical category. But this is a matter of some dispute. Kosik, for instance, has
recently proposed that praxis is not a philosophical category at all, but rather a
category of human being relative to the formation of social reality. And Habermas,
while appealing to the same category, describes the resultant view as social theory.
Thus merely to link Marx's position to praxis is insufficient to demonstrate its
philosophical dimension.
It is further necessary to justifiy the approach to Marx's view in terms of praxis.
Marx, of course, never claimed that his position was a theory of praxis, nor did he
claim that praxis was a central idea in his view, although both assertions are
routinely made in his name. Given Henry's general reaction to Marxism, one might
have expected him to be suspicious of praxis in view of the Marxists' frequent
recourse to it. Indeed, I suspect that the only justification as such that can be
advanced for the association of prams and Marx's position is that this concept
provides an important tool with which to reconstt-uct and hence to comprehend
Marx's theory. BUt the turn tO praxis for pragmatic reasons does not permit the
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claim that Marx was in fact a philosopher of praxis, and the distinction ought to be
observed.
I am further troubled by some details in the discussion of praxis. In my opinion
Henry commits an important error when he maintains that the social character of
work is not a given (donn$)~ but is rather the result of capitalist alienation. (See
2.469) To the contrary, Marx maintains throughout his writings that work is inherently social since the individual can meet his reproductive needs only in association with others. Now it is of course correct that Marx holds that man will only
become a full human being or fully individual in communism. But the belief that at
some later date a different form of social relation will arise is not to be confused
with the view that work is not social prior to this future time.
Both the claim that the concept of individuality emerges only in the German
Ideology and the attempt to divorce generic and individual conceptions of human
being are puzzling. To my mind, Henry overstates both the extent to which Marx
initially accepts the concept of species-being as initially formulated by Feuerbach as
well as the later evolution in his position. As early as the Critique of Hegel's
Philosophy of Right, in which Marx objects that specific individuality is not realized
in the Hegelian state, his criticism presupposes the idea of individuality. And conversely Marx's later definition, in the German Ideology, of man in general as a being
which differs from other beings in the production of its means of subsistence, still
presupposes a generic concept.
As it stands, Henry's demonstration of the continuity in Marx's thought is incomplete. The themes he emphasizes, namely the individual, immanent life, and
determinate life, are vaguely defined and their relation to political economy is unclear. Henry couid have sharpened his argument in a number of ways, such as through
an elucidation of the categorial structure of Marxian political economy which can be
shown to presuppose categories from the earlier writings. Now Henry makes a start
in this direction through his account of human subjectivity as the necessary ingredient
in surplus value and value in general. But, despite much discussion, he never, to my
mind, furnishes a convincing account of the relation between Marx's view of man
and political economy which would justify the approach he takes.

V
Up to this point I have been suggesting that although Henry's discussion is interesting, it does not suffice to demonstrate his interpretation. I would now like to
relate this criticism to Henry's method. Although the attempt to make the text, in
quasi-phenomenological fashion, yield its secrets through close discussion is a widespread technique, especially in French circles, it is, in my opinion, not entirely
suitable for the present task.
Of course, careful study is always in order, especially in an age dominated by the
proliferation of secondary literature. The authors of such studies all too often are
more interested in other secondary studies than they are in primary commentators,
who on numerous occasions have interpreted his position in an arbitrary or capricious
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fashion in order to confirm preconceived attitudes. As a reaction to this tendency,
Henry's careful textual exegesis has real value. But there is also much of value in
the Marxian secondary literature. The difficulty with any approach that directs its
atterttiotl primarily towards immanent textual interpretation is to avoid the tendency
to neglect the avaiable primary and secondary literature which bears on the topic.
An indication of the manner in which Henry neglects the relevant literature is
provided by a partial list of writers to whom he refers. The analysis of Marx's
relations to Hegel and the young Hegelians is unusually detailed. Above all, Henry
is deepIy familiar with Feuerbach and, to a lesser extent, Bauer and Stirner as well.
In the course of his essay, Henry further alludes to writers as diverse as Ryazonov,
Engels, Lenin, Cottier, Negri, Hyppolite, Planty-Bonjour, Luporini, Althusser, RanciSre, Maine de Biran and Husserl. But in my opinion this list is somewhat peculiar.
Although an author certainly has an absolute right to constitute his own frame of
reference, there seems little need to offer repeated allusions to Maine de Biran in
the course of a book on Marx, unless one is also the author of a study of Maine
de Biran. Similarly, I am at a loss to understand the strong Husserlian influence
in Henry's discussion. Koj~ve, of course, published an important study of Hegel from
a partially Husserlian perspective, and for some time an attempt has been underway
to link Marx and the Husserlian concept of the life world, for instance in the work
of Lefebvre and Varda. Henry refers neither to Koj~ve nor to the Husserlian approach
to Marx. Yet, his reading of the text is couched often in strangely Husserlian
terminology, seemingly of questionable relevance for Marx's position, as when he
writes that Marx "consciously understands" the presuppositions of his thought "according to the principal apodicticity of their immediate phenomenological meani n g . . . " (x.474)
But the problem with Henry's lecture de texte is less those who are mentioned
than those who are not. As already indicated, Henry contends that Marx's theory
is a philosophy which reverses the entire tradition. In order to demonstrate this
or related points, it is essential to undertake comparative analysis of Marx's ideas
and those to be found in the philosophic tradition. But with the exception of some
references to Hegel, and to a much lesser degree to Husserl as well, Henry makes
little effort to situate Marx's position in relation to the history of philosophy. In
consquence, the claim that Marx is in some sense a philosopher is deprived of its
possible force since his position, although it now takes on the name "philosophy,"
still remains isolated from other theories that bear that name. In the same way,
the claim for the centrality of praxis is un-accompanied by a single reference to
other philosophers interested in this concept, such as Aristotle.
A related deficiency exists with respect to the secondary literature. Although not explicitly formulated, with the exception of some references to Ryazonov, Henry's
practice seems to be to take Althusserian structuralism, including its Italian origins
and French acolytes, as representative of Marxism in general. Now in the first place,
Henry is somewhat overselective. If he is going to mention Ranci~re, which he does
on numerous occasions, he should allude to others among Althusser's epigones,
especially Badiou, since both disciples have an equal claim to fame. By the same
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token, Althusser was influenced not only by Luporini, but by Labriola as well.
But from a larger perspective, it is a distortion to equate Marxism with Althusserian
structuralism. There is an enormous amount that has and is being written on Marx
which has little or nothing to do with French strueturalism. A study of this dimension, or even a much more modest attempt, is simply incomplete if it does not take
notice of what has already been done.
Henry's seeming unawareness of the debate in the literature weakens his ability
to sustain his interpretation. Santayana has commented that those who are unaware
of history are compelled to repeat it, and this remark certainly applies to the present
discussion. Many of the points Henry wishes to bring out have often been treated
at great length in the secondary literature. What, for instance, is the purpose in
spending some 53 pages to explain Marx's procedure in setting constant capital equal
to zero in order to calculate surplus value, since the method itsdf is not controversial ? A brief discussion, or an allusion to a standard commentary, such as
Mandel's, would surely suffice. The important point is whether Marx's theory of
surplus value can be defended, yet Henry unfortunately skips over this issue entirely,
although Becker, for instance, has recently devoted a book merely to this topic.
Similarly, in his claim that Marx is a philosopher, Henry has to counter the opposite
view, which has great support in the literature. Henry's failure either to deal with
the points cited by writers such as Engels and Luk~cs, Althusser and Hartmann, or
to offer an alternative explanation for the Marxian texts they cite to back up their
interpretations, considerably weakens his own analysis. Even if one agrees with the
view that Marx's antipathy to philosophy is largely confined to the Hegelian variety,
one must concede that Henry has not shown this to be a correct interpretation.
VI
Attention has so far been mainly directed to the details of Henry's immanent interpretation as well as the technique employed. Although this side of the work is welldeveloped, there is another and less well-worked-out aspect which deserves our
attention. I refer to the comments in the introduction, concerning the "Theory of
the Texts." The significance of Henry's brief attempt to raise the question of Marx
interpretation can perhaps be shown through contrast with Klaus Hartmann's Die
Marx'scbe Theorie (Berlin: De Gruyter, I97o), the only study of which I am
aware that is on the same approximate scale as the present work.
Henry's and Hartmann's studies are comparable in two respects, concerning
the philosophic status of Marx's position and the justification of Marxian political
economy. Hartmann's book, however, lacks the reflection on the problems of Marx
interpretation which allows Henry, properly in my opinion, to distance himself from
some of the dogmatic preconceptions current in the secondary literature. Thus,
when Hartmann maintains that Marx's view is not philosophy since Marx desires to
transcend the tradition he is following a long interpretative tradition (op. cit. 70I4o). As a result, although he contributes to our understanding of the details of
Marx's position, Hartmann is unable to present a convincing overall characterization
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of the theory. In this context, one advantage of Henry's inquiry is that by virtue
of his suspension of crucial dogmas dominant in the literature he is able to understand that Marx's revolt against Hegel does not take him beyond philosophy. In
the same way, for the sake of consistency Hartmann is obliged to contend that
Marxian political economy is self-justifying (op. cit. i53-I54). This puts him in
the peculiar situation of needing to deny Marx's reliance on a concept of man in the
later writings at the same time as he affirms the importance of subjectivity for
the theory of surplus value. Here again, Henry's bracketing of the more usual
approach allows him to understand that Marx's later political economy follows from
and is justified by his earlier speculations on man.
The suggestion that Henry's study as a whole owes a considerable measure of
its success to his initial reflections on the conditions of Marx interpretation is
somewhat surprising, since this side of the discussion is but scarcely sketched. Yet
it is nevertheless of importance, since the question of how to proceed is so rarely
broached. One may even be permitted to speculate that the most significant aspect
of the present study is that for perhaps the first time the problem of Marx interpretation has been clearly posed in the course of a major study of the texts. This in
itself, if Henry's book were attentively read, should make it easier to depart from
some of the sterile litanies of the past.

VII
Although in most instances a prior study of the conditions of interpretation
would be clearly superfluous, such is not the case for Marx. Anyone who has ever
delved into the Marx literature or thought about Marx's position will be aware
that the latter presents problems which, although not unique, are unusual enough
to justify special consideration. It is hence unfortunate that Henry did not see fit
to develop his comments on this topic at greater length. At least the following interrelated difficulties can be mentioned.
As Henry correctly notes, there is the historical accident that important texts,
such as the Paris Manuscripts and the Grundrisse were initially published only after
the development of Marxism. As a result, one often finds the tendency to account
for the existence of newly-discovered texts in terms of already extant interpretations.
This reversal of the more usual procedure is responsible for some of the more
bizarre interpretations.
Marx's writings also present special problems. Although he possessed a doctorate
in philosophy, Marx quickly abandoned hopes of a philosophical career. Perhaps for
this reason, his writings are often seemingly lacking in precision. Again, he was a
slow writer, who preferred to rewrite and develop his views as opposed to putting
them into final form. In consequence, many of the writings have a fragmentary
character. Further, he was a cautious thinker, far more so than is commonly realized.
His texts often yield alternative analyses of various ideas. For these reasons, it has
frequently been the practice to turn to Engels, who almost unfailingly has a simple,
but often simplistic statement to offer. But although Engels' comments have been

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given a perhaps undue weight in the literature, they are frequently demonstrably at
variance with Ma*x's writings.
The political bias which infects so much of the Marx discussion is also problematic. It may well be, as has so often been suggested, that perfect interpretative
neutrality is an objective impossibility, and it is not my purpose to suggest that a
complete absence of bias reigns elsewhere in the secondary literature. But there are
powerful forces at work which prejudice the purity of any approach to Marx, not
the least of which is the vested political interest of both proponents and opponents
of the theory in terms of one or another interpretation.
A political bias is further evident in the unusual way in which Marx's writings
have been edited. After Stalin caused the editor of the earlier, incomplete MEGA
edition to disappear, a fuller, although still incomplete edition was undertaken in
East Germany. But although the distinction between Marx and Engels was somewhat
blurred by the publication of the Marx.Evgels Werke, the major idiosyncrasy of this
edition is the unaccountable omission of both the Paris Manuscripts and the Grundrisse. The former was added in a supplemental volume, but the latter is still missing
from this 44-volume edition, despite the fact that it is available separately from the
same publisher. Stranger yet, it is common knowledge that the text of the Grundrisse was altered to cause it to reflect a particular interpretation in the French translation.
Then there is a peculiar obstacle to a philosophic approach to Marx, which should
be faced. The Marxian doctrine concerning ideology, an important tenet of his
position, is often applied to the interpretation of his theory. Not only is Marx's
position not philosophy, but philosophy in general is held to be ideology. It is thus
necessary to provide a justification for the decision to approach Marx from a
philosophical angle prior to textual interpretation. With the possible exception of
Kierkegaard, I can think of no other thinker regularly studied by philosophers for
his philosophical import for whom this kind of prior justification is necessary.
And finally one should mention the dimensions of the secondary literature. Quite
obviously there is a plethora of writing on Marx. Although it is difficult to be
certain, it would seem that no author with philosophical pretensions has been so
frequently studied in such a variety of languages and traditions. The sheer volume
of the discussion is an obstade to anyone who desires to deal with Marx's ideas in
terms of what has been written about them. Thus one is confronted by the unenviable situation of needing to master enormous chunks of secondary literature, of
which much, but by no means all, is largely worthless. But then students of Plato
and Aristotle, Kant and Hegel, face a similar dilemma.

VIII

At the close of his treatment of Contemporary Moral Philosophy, G.J. Warnock


comments that although much of value has been undertaken and the results are
impressive, nearly everything of importance remains to be done. One cannot help
feeling that a similar, albeit slightly weaker statement could fairly be made about the
15

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current state of the Marx discussion. Good as it is, and except as noted Henry's
immanent interpretation is interesting and judicious, his most significant contribution
may well be that he raises the problems of the conditions of Marx interpretation.
But this is precisely what seems to be needed at this point in time. Indeed, I would
like to suggest that what we most require at this juncture is not still another
account of the whole of Marx's corpus, but an earnest attempt to understand the
conditions of an unbiased assessment of his writings and their contribution to an
understanding of our world.
Torn Rockmore
Yale University
Robert R. Magliola, Phenomenology and Literature; An Introduction (West Lafayette,
Indiana : Purdue University Press x977) Pp. 2o8.
The present work undertakes a Herculean endeavor of both introducing one to the
range and scope of phenomenological literary theory and criticism and providing a
particularly valuable commentary on Roman Ingarden's The Literary Work of Art
and Mikel Dufrenne's The Phenomenology o[ Aesthetic Experience, The former task
carefully and succinctly outlines the multifarious labors of the Genevan, Parisian,
and Heideggerian representatives of criticism within the general arena of phenomenological literature. The latter task focuses on a topology of meaning, examining and
evaluating the roles of validity and interpretation, culminating in an important contribution to the relationship of phenomenology and literature. Throughout this work,
crucial questions are raised and pursued with a masterful rigor that addresses the
intersection at its foundations: What is Meaning ? W h a t is the valid sense
depicted when a text presents several ? What does one do with multiple meanings,
ambiguity, and contradictory senses ?
Part One returns us to some familiar battles and parlays in phenomenological
epistemology. The central Husserlian turn to a real intercourse with the world is
accepted by all critics. But the ensuing division of Husserl into neo-realist a n d
transcendental idealist stages induces a fracas from which the various splinter
factions arise. The pivot crucially determines Magliola's own direction. Though he
acknowledges (p. 4) the brilliant application of Husserl's notion of transcendental
subjectivity to literature and all the arts by Maurice Natanson, the contribution
lingers mysteriously and regrettably unexamined, perhaps because Magliola rejects
later Husserlian thought as a recondite idealism and retreat to neo-Kantianism.
Instead, Magliola considers phenomenological "any literary theory or practice
which is broadly in the neo-realist Husserlian tradition (and even Heidegger fits
here), as long as the theory or practice adheres to the following provisions. First,
it must incorporate somehow an epistemology of mutual implication, and second,
it must see the essence of Being anc~/or beings concretely, and in experience (p. 63)."
At issue is the fundamental root sense of how we have intercourse with the world.
For Husserl, seeing meaning in experience, rather than imposing meaning as traditional metaphysics had done, is the proper course of phenomenological evidence.
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And though Magliola sees the resultant fracture to be a matter of Interpretation


rather than a discontinuity in Reason itself, he correctly finds the line drawn
between the descriptive phenomenology of Husserlians and the hermeneutical phenomenology of Husserlians and the hermeneutical phenomenology of Heideggerians
issuing from the manner in which philosophers address the gulf between experience
and thought.
Thus, Magliola indicates how the Geneva School "insists that their approach is
immanent and intrinsic" (p. io) to the literary work with regard toward that aspect
of the author's consciousness which has transferred itself into the literary work.
In following the objective hermeneutics of Schleiermacher, Dilthey, and the aesthetic/an Dufrenne, the Geneva School distinguishes the author's phenomenological
ego which is immanent in the work, from his actual empirical ego that is extrinsic
and ultimately inaccessible through the work. Several other influences are at work
here. Though his shift from an intellective metaphysically neutral consciousness
to an anthropological mood orientation signalized a hermeneutics of concern, Heidegger's uncovering of the structures of temporality, non-conceptual knowing, and
the regionalization of consciousness, provides an epistemological ground for critical
theory particularly stressed by Gadamer. And Sartre's identification of intentionality
with fundamental choice or project is central to practical literary criticism, though
the Genevan finds the analysis of bad-faith to be existential philosophizing and
his literary criticism too ethical-metaphysical. But the most important influence on
the School comes from Merleau-Ponty's contributions to phenomenological epistemology especially in the field of linguistics where the reciprocity of language and
its object is reinstated, embodied, and expressed in l~ parole--concrete language unifying its subject and object. His rich ontology of language leads to the critical
issue of the author's first part. As an author's parole embodies, stylizes his selfworld relations, Magliola asks what is the critic's relation to the author's parole.
When the critic is conscious of a literary work, isn't this activity a case again of a
subject (the critic) interacting with an object (the literary work) ? And in order
to be consistent, must we then not conclude that interpretation is a "mutual implication" of critic and text ? And if this is so, isn't "objective interpretation" an impossibility ? Here, predsely, is the question of questions for the phenomenological
critic: it places him at a bifurcation du c~emin from which there is no turning
back. And at this inexorable fork in the road the Heideggerian critic takes one path,
and the Geneva critic the other. (p. I4)
Thus, the Heideggerian critic assumes in the description of meaning a mutual
engagement by author and text because both supposedly speak from the naive
stance of mundane living within the life-world. However, the Geneva critics maintain
an epistemological gulf between author and critic, for the latter must remain at a
distance and control his description in order for there to be a valid, correct interpretation. In order to be valid and still full of intercourse, the critic first performs
a kind of naive "epoch4," so that he can live the toni profond of the author (a
perfoi'mance called "passive receptivity"), then his description of that experience
becomes the interpretation proper.
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A survey of the Geneva School and its accomplies from the proto-phenomenologists,
Marcel Raymond and Albert Beguin, to the transitional work of Georges Poulet and
the second generation critics Jean-Pierre Richard, Jean Rousset, Jean Starobinski, and
J. Hillis Miller, provides a programmatic description of its ontology and critical
methodology. The reader will be delighted with Magliola's sympathy for, yet critical
distance from, his subjet's emplacement within the historical matrices outlined.
Poulet, an important fulcrum in the movement, is treated as a phenomenologist
though he insists upon a Cartesian heritage ! Magliola avers "Thus we find ourselves confronted with a not uncommon state of affairs i n the history of literary
criticism: there is a considerable divergence between how the critic sees himself
and how other critics see him (p. 2 i ) , " For Poulet, an author's epistemology "reveals
itself to itself by transcending all that is reflected in it." For Magliola, it may be
the case that Ponlet's Cartesia.nism tears images away from their customary values
and revalues them in terms of subjective consciousness. But it ought to be the
phenomenological task to suspend these images of their taken-for-granted values and
reveal them as such for their intersubjective constitution.
Despite differences, the Geneva School agrees on the basic ontological given of
human consciousness as a "massive self-world relation, a Lebenswelt or network
of personal experiences." A fictive universe, then, is created by an author who selects
and transforms elements of the Lebenswett througla imagination and language; a
process that expressively bears the author's imprint for critics to follow, whether it
be through Dufrenne's "textual exhibition" or Ingarden's duplication of the "sensebestowing" authorical acts. Following this trace does not involve psychologism, the
b&e noire of phenomenology. From this intersubjectively constituted world what is
exhibited and bestowed are experiential patterns, "fundamental self-world relationships
which underlie their actualizations, real or imaginary," that are the means whereby
something of the authors consciousness is present in the work (Cf. pp. 30, 3 I, 53-56).
These patterns (much like Alfred Schutz's recipes which gear us into the world of
everyday life) provide unity for both individual and author, and their exposure and
evaluation becomes the critic's ultimate task. Two questions emerge for the Genevan
here : W h a t descriptive typology will render these patterns explicit ? And bow are
the author's experiential patterns embodied in the literary work ? The former question investigates the modes and contents of consciousness which together present
the context of experience, while the latter raises questions concerning the status of
non-conceptual knowing and its embodiment in language. Magliola carefully reminds
us here that these categories are artificial, and not thematic; they chart the field of
consciousness rather than account for it. That is, the Geneva critic describes consciousness in terms of intentionality, and charts fields of consciousness through the
"provisional" schemata of modes and contents of consciousness. But the Genevan%
eplstemological grasp of intentionality hinges on the employment of the phenomenological reductions which place in abeyance questions of existence in order to see
the essential structure of things, and Magliola denies the epistemological neutrality
of intentionality, claiming that "Husserl's behavior rests on the principle that there
is a "what" which is open to description. In fact all epistemology rises out of a
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m e t a p h y s i c . . . All methology implies a metaphysic (pp. 39, 40)."


In what I take to be an unorthodox but fruitful approach to phenomenological
methodology Magliola outlines different literary uses of the eidetic reduction (pp.
42 , 46, 47, 50). On the one hand, we may adopt the line of "personal" criticism,
a practice that describes a phenomenological ego enverbalized in a text. Here, we
would pick up and enter the point of view of a character's life world, receiving as
it were, the beliefs, feelings, and perception of the Catholic, the ghetto rebel, the
mercena*T soldier, or the frightened dictator, who tell "what it is like." Eidetically
then, such a critic would suspend his empirical ego and its everyday blinders in
order to step faithfully into the existential schemata relevant to the character's
choices, decisions, and actions. On the other hand, we may adopt "metapersonal"
criticism, common to the idealogue, which describes textual events in terms other
than those of the phenomenological ego involved. In cutting against the grain of the
author's personhood and explaining "What is really happening" the critic eidetically
seeks the lowest common denominator or invariant structure which verifies or denies
his own description. Here, one would rely on a particular community of ideas,
be they religious, Marxist, militaristic, or Fascist, from without the text in order to
evaluate what is taking place within.
Now whereas the former type depicts possible ways of experiencing, achieving
in Richard's sense a "topological quality" that studies those factors in geometric
form which remain invariant despite the form's transformation (p. 5~), the latter
criticism might be said to describe a topographical quality which can only be
surveyed from above. However, as Magliola notes, the Geneva critic's personalism
does not suspend patterns of experience latent in the author's empirical ego from
passing over into the text's phenomenological ego in a residual manner where an
inaccessible element of deep self with its metaphysical trappings might remain.
I said that I found this unorthodox. Eidetic reduction and phenomenological
"seeing" generally meant for me the activity of rendering powerless all empirical or
doxic belief and grasping an entity "with the consciousness of its original being-itselfthere" (I-tusserl, Ideas, Gibson translation p. 282, and The Crisis... Cart translation
P. 356). Throughout all variations I apprehend and seize its unchanging form or
character with, at the very least, astonishment. Perhaps, the wonder of wonders
may be that we are still not wondering. In wondering are we not engaged in the
activity of thinking, seing, hearing, and remembering ? Such activity minimally
involves a conversation between author and reader beneath the level of criticism,
for it attests to a particular kind of listening through common features of language,
perception, sensation, and memory to what is originally attention-provoking. Perhaps,
the whole subject of criticism becomes obscured if we start from a notion of
critic as interpreter rather than from a notion of critic as aspirant. There are many
possible ingredients behind this suggestion, among them being the fact that criticism is largely done by people in privileged or in-between situations for people in
un-privileged, and as such no situation yet. Is there not a more subtle factor at work
here: literature in its broadest sense is produced for purposes of repetition, that
can in Husserl's words "be linguistically expressed again and again ?'" Is it not
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undertaken as an effort to engage, perhaps in a ritualistic manner, the perplexities


and risks confronting a consciousness locked within its own habitat in an originary
fashion ?
I suggest ritualistic because criticism and interpretation involve, to me at least,
a viewpoint that communicates such an engagement beneath the level of message
to that of meaning and signification. That is, we first hear and share listenings
according to our own inclinations, only then to arise before the occasion in which
we might be called upon to judge. Should we not first speak, or bespeak, before
we evaluate ? Should we not ask the interpreters and critics to advocate their
choices by spelling them out ? Let each say all he can by way of giving body to
the perspective reflected in his choice. Let each participant show the range, scope,
field, landscape, and horizon of the perspective he would advance. Such a return
to how we hear things might translate into introspection were it not the case that all
hearing is dialectical, and thus ultimately communal.
Thus, I also found this approach fruitful. I could look at Sartre's Nausea or
Reprieve and his St. Genet, Baudelairr or Flaubert, and wonder how much phenomenological critic in the latter was at work in the former, or how much visceral
author was hidden in the latter. But with Magliola's distinctions, I can see through
the Genevan's personalism that Roquentin's world brings us face to face with horror
and love as shared and anticipated, while the metapersonal suspension brings us its
egological trappings and indifference, both understood and realized. Granted, Sartre's
personal individuated ego leaves little room for us to share in his experiences,
but we certainly are caught up in their vividness. And his metapersonal Marxism
calls forth a communal facticity we have at least by analogy to our own sense of
what is shared by others. As author and critic, one who writes and reads is both
depicting an invariant experience through possible modifications or transformations
of a theme, and describing a manner in which it appears; for no invariant lacks a
unique style. The problem becomes for the critic to "see" what is common and
communal together.
And the problem is explicitly manifest in the confrontation of phenomenology and
structuralism. Whereas the Geneva School had seen language as the expression of
self and world, structuralism reverses the point of origin enclosing itself within a
universe of signs lacking reference to the real. Ricoeur and Doubrovsky are called
upon to mediate the pitched battle, and in a striking manner it is suggested that the
structuralist notion of "deep structure" modeled upon "laws of transformation", and
the Genevan intentional structure, modeled in part upon psychological criteria are
coming closer to a more genetic spiral of understanding (p. 93). To this end Roland
Barthes avers "Text means Tissue; but whereas hitherto we have always taken this
tissue as a product, a ready made veil, behind which lies more or less hidden,
meaning (truth), we are now emphasizing in the tissue, the generative idea that the
text is made, is worked out in a perpetual interweaving... (The Pleasure of the Text,
N.Y. r975, P. 64)."
With the thematic issue of the conflict of interpretations explored, Magliola
turns in Part Two to the root concepts requisite for understanding, namely, validity
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and meaning. One is guided through the labyrinth of interpretations in the first Part
by the question of the author-critic-text relation, and in the second Part by the intersection of sense and meaning. The text is examined for its claim to singular or
multiple meanings, which sense or senses can be valid, and whether in fact an
author's sense can be shared, duplicated, or developed. The problem of validity is
first approached through a comparison of the non-phenomenologist E.D. Hirsch and
Husserl on intentionality. Surprisingly, though Magliola had earlier rejected Husserl's
idealism, he now finds the doctrine of intentionality formulated in Ideas useful to
the critic's understanding of validity, and a prolegomenon for Heidegger's theory of
meaning. But the study of meaning in the literary work and the possibility of its
duplication or actualization is the beacon of lngarden's The Litera~7 Work of Art,
and is accorded Magliola's most penetrating analysis. Focusing on the onto-epistemological problems of Ingarden's work, Magliola discusses the relevant issues of
the fourfold and valenced strata of the literary work's structure. The lowest stratum,
word sounds and higher phonetic formulations that transcend mere phonic material
by expressing "living" forms which give an object "intuitive fullness", forms the
bedrock for literary expression. Compounded of this stratum, the all important second
level "meaning units" serve as building blocks for Ingarden's theory. Basically,
"everything bound to a word sound, which in conjunction with the sound forms a
word" constitutes meaning which, when "enverbalized," comprises an actual and
potential stock of word meaning (pp. IlOff). The thorny hermeneutical problem
arises when the reader or critic must determine the operational status of potential
stock meanings in a text. Magliola notes Ingarden's pregnant suggestion that a
process of locating what is an empty or ready potentiality is possible because the
role of subjective operations in the formation of meaning units encompasses the
activity of intentionality.
As consciousness is "meaning-bestowing," and the life-world intersubjective, it
permits "meaning duplication." The latter, Ingarden carefully claims, is an assumption
that this reproduction corresponds to the primal speaker. However, the distance
between the spheres of intentional creation and duplication is paradoxical. In the
case of literature, the created works of an author and reader are spontaneously
autonomous or illusory because of their experiential givenness. And at that moment
of re-production they become heteronomous since they are based on inter-subjectively
constituted meaning units. In this way Ingarden brilliantly demonstrates how literature
both "changes" and "stays the same." Lastly, this distance, when aesthetically
controlled, may spawn an "opalescent multiplicity'" or ambiguity allowing any number
of interpretations without firmly excluding or favoring any of them. Magliola
follows Ingarden's view that those theorists who reject this kind of ambiguity commit
a basic flaw of imposing "the law of non-contradiction operative in the real world,
and in correlates which represent it, upon the world of those purely intentional
correlates which don't have real existing adequations (p. I2o)."
As imagined objects are the target of an intentionally directed act, and imaginational objects are free-floating und unintended, so represented objects (Ingarden's
third stratum) are proxies or simulations having the character of reality, but forever
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bereft of any real sense. A peculiar feature is that they are essentially riddled with
"spots of indeterminacy"; for just as the real object is radically determinate, though
forever horizonal, adumbrational, and infinite, so the represented object involves
the reader's choice or selection of possible meaning units to fulfill the formal intention
of the expression. In a sense, these spots of indeterminacy axe necessary schematic
counterparts to the opalescent multiplicity of meaning units, and are what Magliola
calls "fissures in the determinate topography of a represented object (p. x28 Cf. pp.
I24, I34)."
After discussing the fourth stratum of schematic aspects or "skeletons" which
permit the appearance of a thing to retain its self identity, and which are carefully
distinguished from concrete aspects, profiles, or adumbrations in the Husserlian
sense, Magliola concludes with Ingarden's valence theory of metaphysical qualities
(i.e. the shocking, sublime, demonic, holy, etc.), which, though not a stratum of
the literary work proper, are an important "atmosphere" that when well treated
indicates great literature. This leads to an insightful analysis of Ingarden's unique
formulation that "the literary work is a true w o n d e r . . . It is a 'nothing' and yet
a wonderful world in itself--even though it comes into being and exists only by our
grace (p. r4r)." Through a distinction between the literary work and its concretizations the farter's process restores "fulness" to intention tantamount to the
author's original intentionality. That is, the reader "sees" through the strata constituting a literary work, and its represented objects, but does not see a polyphony
(network of relationships among the strata) as the aesthetic object. Nor can the
unattended literary work be the aesthetic object, for contact and intersubjective concretization constitute the value and life of the literary work.
Raising the same questions addressed to Ingarden, Magliola next examines Mikd
Dufrenne's The Phenomenology of Aesthetic Experience. Unlike the rest of his work,
this section strangely resounds in the negative, finding Dufrenne often at odds,
contradictory at many junctures, and referred to as "the Frenchman." Nevertheless, the
contrasts of Ingarden and Dnfrenne are decisively illuminating for Magliola's global
treatment of phenomenology and Iiterature's intersection. The attack on Ingarden
begins through a denial that the work of art is real and the aesthetic object ideal.
Dufrenne already considers the "perceived" most important, and against Sartre he
maintains that the poetic word is a "sound-thing," thus shifting the aesthetic locus
from imagined object to perceived object. In the end, this primacy of the perceived
leads to an idealization of the art work, existing in a universal time. Magliola quickly
indicates this defiance of the New Hermeneutic which stresses the radical historicity
of the art work. But what is called by Dufrenne an "irreducible reciprocal causality",
that intimate nexus between the spectator and the aesthetic object, is cited en passant
by Magilola thus regretably neglecting one of the more interesting and important
contributions of Dufrenne's phenomenology.
Where Genevan and structuralist criticism falls short of explicating the critic's
relationship to the text, Heidegger's hermeneutic foundationally laid in Section 32
of Being and Time and applied in essays from his later writings is suggestive of a
theoretical-practical coherence which justifies multiple interpretations in the literary
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work. "At this juncture Heidegger puts a theory of mutua! implication to brilliant
employ. He is not speaking of the exchange between self and outside (as the Geneva
School does), nor is he speaking here of the Heideggerian discourse between critic
and text. Rather, he applies the theory to the involution of Things and the World of
Dasein (p. 70)." In short, the author as conduit disappears with the completed text,
only to reappear phantasmally in practical criticism, in commemorative meditation.
Unfortunately, the practical side does not always carry its weight. Heidegger often
ignores verbal texture, and is either confusedly allegorical (viz. on H6lderlin), or
conventionally archetypal (viz. on Trakl), thus missing the pbenomenological criteria
of essential seeing or evidence.
After a discussion of the "As-Structures" which yield meaning, and the "ForeStructures" of interpretation, Magliola compares Heidegger with the previous authors
on the issue of meaning. Regarding Husserl, Magliola finds the HusserI of Ideas
much closer to Heidegger's position, though for Heidegger "meaning is neither in
the intending act of the critic nor in the literary text (nor in both per se). Meaning
is essentially nexical. Meaning is precisely the engagement of subject and object,
and the engagement is a unified As-Structure (p. i8o)." In the case of Ingarden,
Heidegger would question why it is imperative to duplicate the author's sense,
since the As-questions are equally valid from any approach. But with Dufrenne,
Magliola simply finds his contribution to be a "kind of amaurosis" emanating from
a position which vacillates between a Cartesian and Heideggerian epistemology. The
second point for comparison is the vindication of multiple interpretations. Heidegger,
here amounts to an inversion of Hirsch's claims, and "when Husserl and Heidegger
talk about communication, they are not talking about the same thing (p. 183)."
Ingarden, though, addresses the problem attentively, claiming an opalescent multiplicity as well as ambiguity abounds in the literary work which cannot be found in
the real world which is inherently non-contradictory. Here Heidegger demurs, because
literature is a revdation of the real "so that the literary word can be ambiguous
or contradictory because Being is;" or more accurately, he sees literature as the
privileged real, so that the ambiguity of the universe is "solidified" within (p. I85).
I would suggest that the two positions are perhaps not so disparate here, because
Ingarden is referring explicitly to the noematic correlate of non-contradiction whose
meaning is precisely its valid interpretation. As for the privileged status of the real,
we must recall Ingarden's formula for the literary work: that it is a wonder.
Finally, Magliola appends a statement on contradictory interpretations themselves,
showing how through the As-structures one can reveal the validity of various
psychoanalitic, sociological, and historical interpretations, because "Whether or not
human life is contradictory in ontological terms, it is often experienced as contradictory. Literature is an expression of human life, and as such, its role is to enverbalize human contradiction. Literary inte,pretations can be valid but contradictory
because experience seems that way (p. 187)." But as for Heidegger, the unusual
manner in which As-structures pursue and direct the author's "presencing'" of
being in the text harbors a danger, I suggest, that remains a serious issue for
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critics. As Richard Gilman noted in a review of recent American director-playwright


battles, "The more fecund the directional imagination, then, the more likely is the
text to suggest subterranean and decisive truths about itself, something we have
learned to call the subtext, but also to suggest what the author may not have at all
intended and may bitterly oppose when it reaches the stage." (N.Y. Times, Sun.
July 3I, I977, Sec. z, p. i8).
I should like to conclude by saying that I found Magliola's work to be informative, coherent, and useful for readers in both philosophy and literature. His focus on
issues relevant to the chasm between literature and philosophy is valuable both as
an introduction and as a resource for further explorations. It would have been
helpful if the author had provided a bibliography. And substantively, a more detailed
and rigorous treatment of the role and development of key concepts in phenomenology,
such as meaning, intentionality, constitution, and the reductions (for which excellent
studies by Mohanty, Levinas, Sokolowski, and Gurwitsch are respectively available),
would have made the comparisons more forceful.
Overall, what strikes me about the way in which Magliola draws together the
pertinent issues of phenomenological criticism is how they seem to be taken as
isolated events. Husserl is appreciated only for his early work; Heidegger for his
section 32 in Being and Time, and some essays from his later work. Merleau-Ponty's
contribution to hermeneutics is cited without critical analysis of its import; and
Sartre is summarily dismissed. How can the work of t-Iusserl, Heidegger, MerleauPonty, and Sartre be alluded to as definitive stances on hermeneuticaI issues if their
thought has yet to be fully appreciated ? Perhaps we should see that their later
writings are not as recondite as they are richly ambiguous. On the one hand, to be
sure, some works may seem obscure or appear inconsistent with their previous work.
Or, on the other hand, they may seem to conceal that which they propose to clarify.
Together, however, do not these later works point to the role and place of our
critical attention ? For how we are to address these thoughts implicates our own
fundamental abilities to engage in a proper listening to the author's line of questioning. All these thinkers were engaged in philosophy, not in finding answers.
Merleau-Ponty's contributions to the body of phenomenologicaI criticism are valuable
on the spot, but can they be understood without undertaking a seizing of his own
project ? Do we not see in his later works a fundamental critique of the phenomenological enterprise, an interrogation that places at issue the very role of criticism,
reflection, dialectics, and intuition ? When Husserl revalues the role and method of
phenomenological seeing in The Crisis~ are we to take this as just another isolated
event, a new reflection that phenomenologieally suspends all that has gone before ?
Or, are we not called to attend the development of a thought whose labor demanded
a discordant delivery ? Does Heidegger negate his thought by reversing his language;
reverse his thought by negating his language; or come to think these two through
their difference ? If the latter is trenchant for philosophic discourse, then phen.omenology cannot be the monopoly of any tradition or practice, but must be a
movement which seeks (not captures) its own origins. But phenomenology is not a
quest after absolute certainty, transcendental subjectivity, or hypostatie Being. To be
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sure, it is a venture into the wilderness os human experience where nature and
beia-natural are inextricably interwoven in a pattern that does not demand explanation
or interpretation, but participation and contribution. Giving voice to the experience
of the world is more than just artistically echoing or philosophically resounding an
event from a privileged point of view. It expresses, in Merleau-Ponty's thought,
"a contact with the world which precedes all thought about the world," a nexus
from which the tasks of literature and philosophy can no longer be separated. Finally,
if the constituted text reveals the order of a microcosm to the literary theorist and
critic, the transcendental sources of that microcosm must be clarified by the philosopher. Rather than being the scalpel which cuts and separates interpretation at the
hand of the deft, phenomenology is the stitch which brings together text and
source in the corpus of the thinker.
David Karnos
Eastern Montana College