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A Culture of Recycling / Recycling Culture?


Edited By Wojciech Kalaga, Marzena Kubisz and Jacek Mydla

The purpose of this volume is to address the notion of cultural recycling by assessing its applicability to various modes of cultural and theoretical discourse. The word «recycling» is here used collectively to denote phenomena such as cyclicity, repetition, recurrence, renewal, reuse, reproduction, etc., which seem to be inalienable from basic cultural processes. Part of our purpose in proposing this theme is a desire to trace, confront, interrogate, and theorise the surviving phantoms of newness and paradigms of creativity or dreams of originality, and to consider the need, a necessity perhaps, to overcome or sustain them, and, further, to estimate the possibility of cultural survival if it turns out, as it may, that culture is forever to remain an endless recurrence of the same.


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PART I ETERNAL RETURNS Leszek Drong The Eternal Return of Veridical Rhetoric: Why Even Antifoundationalists Cannot Help Recycling Foundationalist Tropes In lieu of introduction I would like to indulge in a reminiscence about a situation which will serve as an illustration of the main issue raised in the title of this essay. A few years ago I had an MA student who claimed that I was being inconsistent in my criticisms of her project. You probably know the type: clever, inquisitive, imaginative, and painstakingly persistent in her pursuit of the ultimate answers to the perennial questions of humankind. First she attended my lectures on the New Pragmatism in literary studies, where I pontificated about the absence of immanent meaning in the text, the volatility of our basic discursive categories, the inevitable historicity of the major certitudes that we live by, and suchlike. She dutifully imbibed my convoluted explanations of why essentialism cannot hold and what is wrong with formalist thinking. When I discussed Richard Rorty’s neopragmatism and Stanley Fish’s antifoundationalism, she nodded her head vigorously, evidently captivated by the intellectual charm and rigour of their theories. At every mention of a potential analogy between American literary theory and European developments connected with poststructuralism and postmodernism she was clearly anxious to produce a long list of sweeping generalisations, most of which had to do with the recent paradigm’s skeptical attitude to rationality, logic and absolute truths. Then she enrolled in my MA seminar and started writing her MA project. The problem...

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