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The Writing of Aletheia

Martin Heidegger: In Language


Martin Travers

Martin Heidegger was engaged in a continual struggle to find words – new words, both descriptive and analytical – for his radical form of philosophy. This tendency can be traced from Being and Time, where he elaborated an entirely new vocabulary for his ontological enquiry; to Contributions to Philosophy, which saw him committed to a transformation of language; to later essays on poets such as Rilke and Trakl in On the Way to Language.

The Writing of Aletheia is the first study to appear in either English or German that provides a full account of Heidegger’s language and writing style. Focusing not only on his major philsophical works but also on his lectures, public talks and poetry, this book explores the complex textuality of Heidegger’s writing: the elaborate chains of wordplay and neologistic formations; the often oblique, circuitous and regressive exposition of his ideas; the infamous tautologies; the startling modification of grammatical rules and syntax; the idiosyncratic typography of his texts; the rhetorical devices, imagery and symbolism; and the tone and voice of his writing. All of these aspects betray not only his will to structure and his assertiveness but also his ongoing self-questioning and reflectiveness about the ultimate goal of his philosophical quest.

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Two sections of this book incorporate and rework material that has already been published: the third section of Chapter 4 initially appeared as “‘Die Blume des Mundes’: The Poetry of Martin Heidegger” in Oxford German Studies 41 (2012): 82–102. The third section of Chapter 5 appeared as “Trees, Rivers and Gods: Paganism in the Work of Martin Heidegger” in Journal of European Studies 48 (2018): 133–143. I would like to thank the editors of those journals, T. J. Reed and John Flower respectively, for their constructive contribution to those articles. Thanks also go to my wife, Ann, for her meticulous editorial work and for being able to see not only the wood but the trees. I dedicate this book to her and to my three daughters, Charlotte, Isabel and Lucie.←vii | viii→ ←viii | 1→

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