Paradox and Perspicacity: Horizons of Knowledge in the Literary Text enters into a dialogue with recent scholarship on a number of fronts. Taking into full account the role played by esotericism in shaping the thought of Leibniz, Cardano, and the Helmonts, Robert Eisenhauer elaborates Lessing’s «cybernetic» view of historical evolution. The essay on Jean Paul’s
ars recombinatoria discusses how the discourses of travel, cosmology, and millennial speculation are applied to a Diderot-inspired project of encyclopedic emancipation, concluding with remarks on the author’s pedagogical relevance to German-speaking Jews. At mid-century, Margaret Fuller’s feminist texts place a Fourierist edge on the consensual reading of Richter, while
The Blithedale Romance represents pastoral utopia as a site of mesmeric or, indeed, entropic dislocation. Henry James’s
The Europeans revisits «Blithedale» as a «ship of fools», where the vehicular provides a metaphor for fiction and narrative itself becomes identified with iconic distress. The remaining essays treat Pound in the context of gemology and courtliness, quasi-direct discourse in Dostoevsky, and the role of Zeno’s paradox in Claude Simon’s fiction.