Bruce Campbell: On Susan Howe and History

Susan Howe is a kind of post-structuralist visionary. This means that, while attuned to a transcendental possibility, she is fully aware of how mediated both language and consciousness are. This awareness leads her to acknowledge and investigate history, but, recognizing, as she does, the "infinite miscalculation of history," she can not accept history as truth, Yet, truth be told, neither can she ignore history. Given the "corruptible first figure" -- which can be taken to refer to rhetoric, myth, history, or a number of other disciplines -- no one discipline can be the founding discipline of truth: each possesses some truth, but always with a mixture of falsity. As she writes in "Thorow," "So many true things // which are not truth itself." And yet, too often, "language was spoken against an ideal of lost perfection." Against this measure, language must always be judged inadequate, for it is itself far from perfect and its access to perfection, though haunted, is undiscoverable. Such an insight may well call for an interminable writing, for a writing which continuously tests its own limits of truth and expression.

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Title Bruce Campbell: On Susan Howe and History Type of Content Criticism
Criticism Author Bruce Campbell Criticism Target Susan Howe
Criticism Type Poet Originally Posted 14 Jun 2020
Publication Status Original Criticism Publication No Data
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