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dc.contributor.advisorEvans, David Elwyn
dc.contributor.advisorLaugt, Elodie Roseline
dc.contributor.authorSeixas, Joao
dc.description.abstractThis thesis studies Paul Valéry's idea of literary practice and how it relates to the political. To this end, it explores his engagement with the myths of Narcissus and Faust. Valéry is a thinker who contemplates the autonomy of poetical language, the modes of circulation of language in society, and the act of writing itself. The thesis holds that the crux of the political meaning of his art is that literary discourse is open-ended (he calls it the 'aesthetic infinite') and, therefore, less authoritarian than other types of discourse. It can be seen as a democratic exercise of multiple points of view – a space of hesitation. The literary strategies that Valéry employs seek to manage the co-existence of the signifying and formal resources of language (sound and sense, discourse and fiction, voice and thought, being and convention). This exercise, the thesis argues, seems to establish a reciprocal implication of aesthetics and politics, turning the poet into a kind of sovereign that is in charge of language. For Valéry, the main dilemma of his time is the increasing gap between the concepts used in politics and those used by modern science. For him, this is what the crisis of Europe is about, the most worrying consequence of which is authoritarianism. The thesis argues that Valéry's task is to re-imagine a Europe which has to remain a project in order to be what it is, necessarily hesitating. Like a poem, it can always be re-worked, with no end in view. A rediscovery of this dimension of Valéry's thought can prove fruitful today, as questions about what it means to be European are back in vogue, and as national populism seems to be re-emerging across the continent. The thesis mostly places the primary corpus (Valéry's written oeuvre) in dialogue with a body of more contemporary theoretical work (notably by Jacques Derrida and Jean-Luc Nancy – to a lesser extent by Giorgio Agamben, Jacques Rancière and others). It identifies in Valéry’s work a series of preoccupations no less relevant to the concerns of the contemporary world than they were when formulated by the author in the half-century preceding 1945 – thereby achieving the objective of the project, that of ‘defrosting’ Valéry, echoing the call of Régis Debray (décongeler Valéry).en_US
dc.subjectPaul Valéryen_US
dc.subject.lcshValéry, Paul, 1871-1945--Criticism and interpretationen
dc.subject.lcshValéry, Paul, 1871-1945--Aestheticsen
dc.titlePaul Valéry's politics of hesitation : Europe, myth and the voice of the otheren_US
dc.type.qualificationnamePhD Doctor of Philosophyen_US
dc.publisher.institutionThe University of St Andrewsen_US
dc.rights.embargoreasonThesis restricted in accordance with University regulations. Restricted until 26th April 2027en

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