The Ethics of Writing: Authorship and Legacy in Plato and Nietzsche

The Ethics of Writing: Authorship and Legacy in Plato and Nietzsche

by Sean Burke


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The Ethics of Writing: Authorship and Legacy in Plato and Nietzsche by Sean Burke

Beginning amidst the tombs of the 'dead' God, and the crematoria at Auschwitz, this book confronts Nietzsche's legacy through the lens of Plato. The key question is how authors can protect against the possible 'deviant readings' of future readers and assess 'the risk of writing'. Burke recommends an ethic of 'discursive containment'.The ethical question is the question of our times. Within critical theory, it has focused on the act of reading. This study reverses the terms of inquiry to analyse the ethical composition of the act of writing. What responsibility does an author bear for his legacy? Do 'catastrophic' misreadings of authors (e.g. Plato, Nietzsche) testify to authorial recklessness? These and other questions are the starting-point for a theory of authorial ethics.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780748641796
Publisher: Edinburgh University Press
Publication date: 01/26/2011
Pages: 256
Product dimensions: 6.00(w) x 9.20(h) x 0.70(d)
Age Range: 18 Years

About the Author

Sean Burke is Reader in English at the University of Durgaham. He is the author of The Death and Return of the Author: Criticism and Subjectivity in Barthes, Foucault and Derrida (Edinburgh University Press, 1992; 2nd edn, 1998) and the editor of Authorship: From Plato to the Postmodern: A Reader (Edinburgh University Press, 1995).

Table of Contents

Acknowledgements     vii
Key to References and Abbreviations     x
Prologue: Friedrich Nietzsche in Auschwitz, or the Posthumous Return of the Author     1
Introduction: The Responsibilities of the Writer     19
The Risk of Writing: Responsibility and Unintended Outcomes     21
The Origins of Authorial Agency     25
The Ethical Opening     46
Speech and Writing: the Aporia     46
The Birth of Philosophy out of the Spirit of Writing     60
Dionysian Orality versus Socratic 'Inscription'     73
The Internal Scribe and the Athenian Legislator     84
The Ethics of Legacy     105
The Ethics of Question and Answer     111
Suitable and Unsuitable Readers     122
Signature and Authorship in the Phaedrus     144
Oral versus Graphic Signatures     147
Science and Signature     161
Dialectic and Mathematics: Iterability and the Ethics of Writing     168
Dialectic and the (Anxious) Origins of Authorship: Tribunal and Signature in the Phaedrus     175
The Textual Estate: Nietzsche and Authorial Responsibility     192
Counter-philosophy     195
Mixed Genres     198
The Will-to-Power as Work ofArt     202
Signature and the Ethical Future     208
The Estate Settled?     219
Conclusion: Creativity versus Containment: The Aesthetic Defence     222
Bibliography     234
Index     240

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