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William D. Melaney [22]William Melaney [4]William Donald Melaney [1]
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William Melaney
American University in Cairo
  1. Arendt’s Revision of Praxis: On Plurality and Narrative Experience.William D. Melaney - 2005 - In Anna-Teresa Tymieniecka (ed.), Analecta Husserliana XC. Springer. pp. 465-79..
    The purpose of this paper is to examine the central role of praxis in Arendt’s conception of the human world and the structure of political life as a site of subjective interaction and narrative discourse. First, Arendt’s use of Aristotle will be presented in terms of the meaning of action as a unique philosophical category. Second, Arendt’s encounter with the work of Martin Heidegger will be shown to involve a critical response to his reading of Aristotle. Finally, the revised conception (...)
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  2. Art as a Form of Negative Dialectics: 'Theory' in Adorno's Aesthetic Theory.William D. Melaney - 1997 - Journal of Speculative Philosophy 11 (1):40 - 52.
    Adorno’s dialectical approach to aesthetics is perhaps understood better in terms of his monumental work, 'Aesthetic Theory,' which attempts to relate the speculative tradition in philosophical aesthetics to the situation of art in twentieth-century society, than in terms of purely theoretical claims. This paper demonstrates that Adorno embraces the Kantian thesis concerning art’s autonomy and that he criticizes transcendental philosophy. It also discusses how Adorno provides the outlines for a dialectical conception of artistic truth in relation to his argument with (...)
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  3. Kristeva’s Subject-in-Process: From Structure to Semiotic Criticism.William D. Melaney - 2009 - In Paul Forsell Eero Tarasti (ed.), Understanding/misunderstanding : Proceedings of the 9th Congress of the IASS/AIS, Helsinki-Imatra, 11-17 June, 2007. International Semiotics Institute. pp. 1074-81.
    As presented in the early work, 'Revolution in Poetic Language,' Julia Kristeva’s 'subject-in-process' can be interpreted as a semiotic alternative to older conceptions of the philosophical subject.This discussion of Kristeva’s early work will attempt to demonstrate that new interpretations of Fregean logic and Freudian psychoanalysis radically displace the traditional subject. This act of displacement allows Kristeva to employ Hegelian dialectics to introduce a “textual” conception of meaning of experience. As a consequence, the Kristevan semiotexte offers a basis for both understanding (...)
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  4. Aesthetic Worlds: Rimbaud, Williams and Baroque Form.William Melaney - 2000 - Analecta Husserliana 69:149-158.
    The sense of form that provides the modern poet with a unique experience of the literary object has been crucial to various attempts to compare poetry to other cultural activities. In maintaining similar conceptions of the relationship between poetry and painting, Arthur Rimbaud and W. C. Williams establish a common basis for interpreting their creative work. And yet their poetry is more crucially concerned with the sudden emergence of visible "worlds" containing verbal objects that integrate a new kind of literary (...)
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  5. Sartre's Postcartesian Ontology: On Negation and Existence.William Melaney - 2009 - Analecta Husserlia 104:37-54.
    This article maintains that Jean-Paul Sartre’s early masterwork, Being and Nothingness, is primarily concerned with developing an original approach to the being of consciousness. Sartre’s ontology resituates the Cartesian cogito in a complete system that provides a new understanding of negation and a dynamic interpretation of human existence. The article examines the role of consciousness, temporality and the relationship between self and others in the light of Sartre’s arguments against “classical” rationalism. The conclusion suggests that Sartre’s departure from modern foundationalism (...)
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  6. Spenser's Poetic Phenomenology: Humanism and the Recovery of Place.William D. Melaney - 1995 - In Anna-Teresa Tymieniecka (ed.), Analecta Husserliana XLIV. Springer. pp. 35-44.
    The present paper defends the thesis that Spenser's recovery of place, as enacted in 'The Faerie Queene,' Book VI, can be linked in a direct way to his use of a poetic phenomenology which informs and clarifies his work as an epic writer. Spenser's "Book of Courtesy" enacts a Neo-Platonic movement from the lower levels of temporal existence to an exalted vision of spiritual perfection. The paper explores this movement along phenomenological lines as a mysterious adventure that embraces self and (...)
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  7. Hegel and Semiotics: Beyond the End of Art.William D. Melaney - 2016 - In K. Bankov (ed.), New Semiotics: Between Tradition and Innovation Proceedings of the Twelfth World Congress of Semiotics. New Bulgarian University. pp. 10 pages.
    This paper argues that Hegel attempts to appropriate the irreversible aspects of Romantic aesthetics in four ways: (i) Hegel radicalizes Kantian aesthetics on the basis of a basically textual approach to sublime experience that opens up the question of community as a philosophical one; (ii) without demoting classical conceptions of art, Hegel privileges Romantic conceptions that demonstrate the ascendancy of sign over symbol in a spiraling chain; (iii) Hegel laments the fate of art in the triumph of Romantic subjectivism but (...)
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  8. Ricoeur’s Transcendental Concern: A Hermeneutics of Discourse.William D. Melaney - 2011 - In Anna-Teresa Tymieniecka (ed.), Analecta Husserliana. Springer. pp. 495-513.
    This paper argues that Paul Ricoeur’s hermeneutical philosophy attempts to reopen the question of human transcendence in contemporary terms. While his conception of language as self-transcending is deeply Husserlian, Ricoeur also responds to the analytical challenge when he deploys a basic distinction in Fregean logic in order to clarify Heidegger’s phenomenology of world. Ricoeur’s commitment to a transcendental view is evident in his conception of narrative, which enables him to emphasize the role of the performative in literary reading. The meaning (...)
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  9. Heidegger’s Allegory of Reading: On Nietzsche and the Tradition.William D. Melaney - 2012 - In Alfred Denker Babette Babich (ed.), Hiedegger und Nietzsche. Brill. pp. 190-98.
    Heidegger's interpretation of Nietzsche has been canonized in the philosophical tradition as an almost perfect demonstration of how the forgetfulness of Being continues the dominant positions of modern metaphysics. However, the role of reading in the interpretative process casts a different light on Heidegger's approach to Nietzsche and his relationship to the philosophical tradition. This paper is concerned with three aspects of Heidegger's work, namely, (i) the role of Kant and Schopenhauer in Nietzsche's critique of metaphysics; (ii) Nietzsche's 'inversion' of (...)
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  10. Merleau-Ponty and Expressive Life: A Hermeneutical Study.William D. Melaney - 2004 - In Anna-Teresa Tymieniecka (ed.), LXXXIII. Springer. pp. 565-582.
    This paper is concerned with Maurice Merleau-Ponty’s contribution to the hermeneutical theory of expressive meaning that has been developed on the basis of an ongoing dialogue with traditional phenomenology. The early portion of the paper examines the unstable boundaries between expression and indication as a key to a new approach to expressive meaning. The paper then takes up Merleau-Ponty’s understanding of expressive life as it emerges in ‘Phenomenology of Perception,’ his first attempt to discuss perception, aesthetics, and temporality in comprehensive (...)
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  11.  89
    "In Search of James Joyce's 'Ulysses'".William D. Melaney - 1993 - Semiotics:391-399.
    This paper examines how semiotics, in conjunction with hermeneutics, can illuminate the structure of James Joyce's 'Ulysses' as a literary text. The paper begins with an account of two poet-critics who examined Joyce's novel in terms of classical myths and literary precedents. A crucial turning-point in the essay occurs when Jean Michel Rabate's Lacanian reading of the novel is introduced to clarify Joyce's use of the "signifier of absence" to clarify the meaning of paternity in the novel. The function of (...)
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  12.  89
    Semiotic Mythologies.William D. Melaney - 1995 - Semiotics 1:31-40.
    The purpose of this paper is to demonstrate that the novels of Jean Rhys embody a significant use of myths, which can be interpreted in terms of the postcolonial as a historical category. The paper does not argue that Rhys was invariably a postcolonial writer but that the postcolonial as a category casts light on her work as a novelist. In addition to employing semiotics and postcolonial theory, this paper also enlists Homi Bhabha's appropriation of Lacan as a tool in (...)
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  13.  77
    Sartre's Phenomenology of History: Community, Agency and Comprehension.William D. Melaney - 2009 - In Anna-Teresa Tymieniecka (ed.), Existence, Historical Fabulation, Destiny. Springer Verlag. pp. 37--50.
    The paper argues that Sartre’s work as both a literary critic and social philosopher is deeply indebted to his early commitment to phenomenology. The first part of the paper examines the nature of reading and writing in the account of literary meaning that is presented in the transitional text, 'Qu’est-ce que la littérature?' While acknowledging the political turn that occurs in Sartre’s work, we then discuss how the theme of history emerges in the later essay, 'Questions de méthode,' as one (...)
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  14.  21
    Rancière's Proust: A Rebirth of Aesthetics.William Melaney - 2018 - Res Cogitans 13 (1).
    Philosopher and literary theorist, Jacques Rancière, has argued that Marcel Proust’s work as a novelist enables us to understand how modern literature articulates and largely resolves a specifically aesthetic crisis. From Rancière’s standpoint, Proust shows us how the dominant conflict in nineteenth-century French literature was carried beyond a mere opposition and given a new aesthetic significance in the modern novel. In this paper, I will discuss Jacques Rancière’s attempt to assess Proust’s contribution to literature in the wake of the aesthetic (...)
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  15.  48
    Material Events: Paul de Man and the Afterlife of Theory (Review).William D. Melaney - 2002 - Symploke 10 (1):203-204.
    This collection of essays links Paul de Man's late work as a literary theorist and critic to the development of the 'new materialism' as it first emerged in the late eighties and early nineties, especially in the field of literary theory. The notion of materialism that is explored in these essays is non-classical and non-foundational, which means that it stems from a special approach to language rather than to the viewer's relationship to the object-world. The contributions to this volume come (...)
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  16.  30
    Vattimo and Literary Understanding: An Essay on Recent Hermeneutics.William D. Melaney - 1995 - International Studies in Philosophy 27 (1):51-62.
    The main purpose of this paper is to demonstrate how Gianni Vattimo offers a new interpretation of history that challenges standard accounts of the modern period and promotes a new approach to literature. The paper begins with a discussion of how the Cartesian cogito provides an inadequate basis for historical research, and then proposes that modern history can be 'read' when it is reassessed through recent hermeneutics. In 'The End of Modernity' (1985), Vattimo indicates that Heidegger's understanding of the "overcoming (...)
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  17.  30
    Alterity and Criticism: Tracing TIme in Modern Literature.William D. Melaney - 2017 - London: Rowman and Littlefield.
    How does the theme of the other–-as person, experience or alternative conceptual scheme—allow us to reassess the role of the self in literary texts? This book employs phenomenology and semiotics to argue that modern literature is strongly concerned with the role of time in the construction of the self. Romantic poetry from Goethe to Shelley and the modern prose tradition from Flaubert to Butor constitute different traditions but also indicate, on a textual basis, how alterity performs a crucial role in (...)
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  18.  30
    After Ontology: Literary Theory and Modernist Poetics.William D. Melaney - 2001 - Albany: SUNY Press.
    This book identifies the uniquely postmodern elements in hermeneutics and deconstruction in order to reread many of the central texts in modernist literature. It is a comparative study that illuminates points of contact between the philosophical positions of Gadamer and Derrida, discussing Heidegger's influence on both Gadamer's ontological approaches to the work of art and Derrida's transformation approach to literary and philosophical texts. The poetry of Eliot, Pound and Yeats is examined within this framework, while the crucial example of Joyce (...)
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  19.  7
    Figural Space: Semiotics and the Aesthetic Imaginary.William D. Melaney - 2021 - London and New York: Rowman & Littlefield Publishers.
    This book is concerned with the continuing viability of both Freud and Hegel to the reading of modern literature. The book begins with Julia Kristeva’s attempts to relate Hegelian thought to a psychoanalytically informed conception of semiotics that was first explored in her influential study, The Revolution of Poetic Language, and then modified in later books that develop semiotics in new directions. Kristeva’s agreements and disagreement with Hegel are important to the book’s argument, which ultimately defends Hegel against familiar, poststructuralist (...)
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  20.  13
    Material Difference: Modernism and the Allegories of Discourse.William D. Melaney - 2012 - Amsterdam: Rodopi.
    Material Difference: Modernism and the Allegories of Discourse argues that deconstruction can be employed in conjunction with the historically-oriented approach to cultural experience that is favored by Critical Theory. The two discourses that inform this comparative study situate Modernism between evolving traditions that begin with Hegel and Nietzsche, leading on to Adorno’s commitment to philosophical aesthetics and Derrida’s concern for writing . Interrelated discussions of eight major authors, working in four different languages, are presented to show how allegorical Modernism foreshadows (...)
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  21.  22
    Hume's Secular Paradigm: Skepticism and Historical Knowledge.William D. Melaney - 2008 - History of Philosophy Quarterly 25 (3):243 - 257.
    David Hume’s ‘History of England’ is an ambitious work that helps demonstrate how the modern historian can interpret the crucial events that define human communities as continuous in time. This paper is directly concerned with the significance of Hume's historical method, his view of human agency and the role of the English Constitution in appraising the meaning of secularity in his historical work. The more fundamental purpose of the paper will be to show that the study of history was not (...)
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  22.  9
    Cosmology in H.D.'s Trilogy: Poetics, Logos and Trace.William Melaney - 2016 - In Patricia Trutty-Coohill & Anna-Teresa Tymieniecka (eds.), Analecta Husserliana 119. Berlin, Germany: Springer Verlag. pp. 275-289.
    This paper examines the poetics of H.D. (Hilda Doolittle) in terms of a set of phenomenological concerns that have been explored philosophically in the work of Jacques Derrida and Martin Heidegger. Foremost among these concerns is the significance of writing, understood as a counter to verbal discourse and as the basis for a new poetics. The paper centrally compares Derrida’s opposition between speech and writing to Heidegger’s criticism of traditional metaphysics while sustaining the importance of phenomenology to both positions. After (...)
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  23.  22
    Rilke’s Semiotic Potential.William D. Melaney - 2002 - American Journal of Semiotics 18 (1/4):159-172.
    This article demonstrates how a new reading of Rilke’s poetry can provide a basis for comparing and contrasting the aesthetic approach to art and the language-based approach that foregrounds the role of metaphor and materiality in literary production. Lessing’s Laocoön is discussed in terms of an implied dialogue between painting and poetry, which, however, acquires a different valence when the Fifth of Rilke’s 'Duino Elegies' suggests that poetry itself functions as a ‘metaphorical hypoicon’ allowing for shared meanings. My concluding remarks (...)
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  24.  21
    Legacies of Paul de Man (Review).William D. Melaney - 2008 - Symploke 16 (1-2):362-364.
    This collection of essays is concerned with Paul de Man's work as a literary theorist, particularly his later, linguistically-informed contribution to the reading and interpretation of literature. The essays in this collection argue that de Man's legacy is complex and multidimensional. Paul de Man's work in "deconstructive" literary criticism is examined in some detail with regard to its continuing pertinence to recent developments in literary study. This collection argues persuasively that de Man's work continues to be important to the so-called (...)
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  25.  9
    Rilke’s Semiotic Potential: Iconicity and Performance.William D. Melaney - 2002 - American Journal of Semiotics 18 (1/4):159-172.
    This article demonstrates how a new reading of Rilke’s poetry can provide a basis for comparing and contrasting the aesthetic approach to art and the language-based approach that foregrounds the role of metaphor and materiality in literary production. Lessing’s Laocoön is discussed in terms of an implied dialogue between painting and poetry, which, however, acquires a different valence when the Fifth of Rilke’s Duino Elegies suggests that poetry itself functions as a ‘metaphorical hypoicon’ allowing for shared meanings. My concluding remarks (...)
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