Gaelic Proverbs by Alexander Nicolson (ed.)

By Alexander Nicolson (ed.)

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The same is true of Henry James’s remarkable prefaces to the New York Edition, and, indeed, of his meticulous revisions of the New York Edition itself. An author’s creation of a comprehensive scene provides yet another example, for it points almost allegorically away from any particular text to other texts enacted upon the “same” stage. The invention, say, of Edgar Lee Masters’s Spoon River, Stephen Crane’s Whilomville, E. A. Robinson’s Tilbury Town, James Branch Cabell’s mythical country of Poictesme, Sherwood Anderson’s Winesburg, Faulkner’s Yoknapatawpha County, even A.

Martin Heidegger gave to this metaphysical postulate both its existential and its linguistic character (in a way that is analogous to John Dewey’s instrumentalism). Heidegger’s reformulation of the Husserlian phenomenological method ultimately provided two rather divergent hermeneutical possibilities. One direction is the way of Hans-Georg Gadamer, which, rather than bringing us closer to resolutions about the issue of authorial intention, implicates us in the displacement of Spirit with Language and the Subject with the Linguistic.

Eliot’s collateral clarifications (or evasions) in his notes to The Waste Land—both authors would preserve authority over the range of meanings to be constructed around their texts. The same is true of Henry James’s remarkable prefaces to the New York Edition, and, indeed, of his meticulous revisions of the New York Edition itself. An author’s creation of a comprehensive scene provides yet another example, for it points almost allegorically away from any particular text to other texts enacted upon the “same” stage.

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