Tuesday, September 11, 2012

Graham Harman's "Weird Realism: Lovecraft and Philosophy"

I recently read Graham Harman's new book Weird Realism: Lovecraft and Philosophy, published by Zero Books, and would like to share a few thoughts concerning the book. Let me say first that it is very enjoyable. Lovecraft and phenomenology? Why the heck not! Of course the book represents what seems to be an exceptionally idiosyncratic project, arguing that a position similar to the one Hölderlin fills for Heideggerian phenomenology should be occupied by H. P. Lovecraft for thinkers of Speculative Realism. I am a passionate fan of Lovecraft but even I found the project at first audacious. Being the type of thinker I am, however, I also found this very audacity amusing and intriguing, an affect I suspect Harman intended. There is, in and of itself, a philosophically important performative force in placing Lovecraft beside accepted standard bearers of high art who have become central figures for philosophy such as Hölderlin, Mallarmé or Beckett. What would it be for Lovecraft to occupy a position of world historical importance in the manner that Heidegger thought Hölderlin did? 

Wednesday, September 5, 2012

Heidegger's Bremen Lectures and the Erroneous Path

I recently finished reading Andrew Mitchell's new translation of Heidegger's Bremen and Freiburg lectures of 1949 and 1957 respectively. Let me first say that the Bremen lectures in particular, from which the much better known "The Question Concerning Technology" takes its origin, are a breathtaking text both in terms of poetic beauty and powerful philosophical suggestions. I have no doubt that a portion of the text's surprising force comes from Mitchell's translation which has managed to capture the singing in Heidegger's at times oracular speech. Students of Heidegger's thought are clearly in Mitchell's debt for this much needed translation.