Saturday, August 12, 2017

David Lehman: Preapocalyptic

Obscurantism is the academic theorist's revenge on society for having consigned him or her to relative obscurity—a way of proclaiming one's superiority in the face of one's diminished influence.

- David Lehman, "Archie Debunking," ch. 3, Signs of the Times (1991).

There is an air of last things, a brooding sense of impending annihilation, about so much deconstructive activity, in so many of its guises; it is not merely postmodernist but preapocalyptic.

- David Lehman, "The End of the Word," ch. 1, Signs of the Times (1991).

Words can have no single fixed meaning. Like wayward electrons, they can spin away from their initial orbit and enter a wider magnetic field. No one owns them or has a proprietary right to dictate how they will be used.

- David Lehman, "The End of the Word," ch. 1, Signs of the Times (1991).

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