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Beyond the Limits of Language

Apophasis and Transgression in Contemporary Theoretical Discourse

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Agata Wilczek

The book explores the way in which apophatic discourse of negative theology has illuminated contemporary critical theory. It demonstrates the significance of apophasis both in Jacques Derrida’s search for a «new language», responsive to singularity and alterity, and in the analyses of the experience of transgression, developed by Maurice Blanchot, George Bataille and Michel Foucault. Following Derrida’s understanding of negative theology as a transgressive concept that transcends the linguistic, historical and religious contexts from which it arises, the book proves that apophasis is not merely a discourse on language restricted to one theological tradition, but should be viewed as a mode of dialogue and openness, essential to all responsible thinking.

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44 Literary and Cultural Theory Agata Wilczek Beyond the Limits of Language Apophasis and Transgression in Contemporary Theoretical Discourse ISBN 978-3-631-67028-6 Ag at a W ilc ze k · Be yo nd th e L im its of La ng ua ge The book explores the way in which apophatic discourse of negative theology has illuminated contemporary critical theory. It demonstrates the significance of apophasis both in Jacques Derrida’s search for a “new language,” responsive to singularity and alterity, and in the analy- ses of the experience of transgression developed by Maurice Blanchot, George Bataille and Michel Foucault. Following Derrida’s understand- ing of negative theology as a transgressive concept that transcends the linguistic, historical and religious contexts from which it arises, the book proves that apophasis is not merely a discourse on language restricted to one theological tradition, but should be viewed as a mode of dialogue and openness, essential to all responsible thinking. Agata Wilczek is a research and teaching assistant at the Institute of English Cultures and Literatures at the University of Silesia (Poland). Her research interests focus on contemporary philosophy, postsecular- ism and Christian mysticism. LCT 44_267028_Wilczek_AM_HCA5 PLE.indd 1 17.03.16 KW 11 11:20 44 Literary and Cultural Theory Agata Wilczek Beyond the Limits of Language Apophasis and Transgression in Contemporary Theoretical Discourse Ag at a W ilc ze k · Be yo nd th e L im its of La ng ua ge The book explores the way in which apophatic discourse of negative...

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