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History, Metaphors, FablesA Hans Blumenberg Reader$
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Hans Blumenberg

Print publication date: 2020

Print ISBN-13: 9781501732829

Published to Cornell Scholarship Online: January 2021

DOI: 10.7591/cornell/9781501732829.001.0001

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Socrates and the objet ambigu

Socrates and the objet ambigu

Paul Valéry’s Discussion of the Ontology of the Aesthetic Object and Its Tradition (1964)

Chapter:
(p.400) 15 Socrates and the objet ambigu
Source:
History, Metaphors, Fables
Author(s):

Hans Blumenberg

Publisher:
Cornell University Press
DOI:10.7591/cornell/9781501732829.003.0016

This chapter examines Hans Blumenberg's “Socrates and the objet ambigu: Paul Valéry's Discussion of the Ontology of the Aesthetic Object and Its Tradition” (1964). It discusses the origin story of Paul Valéry's dialogue Eupalinos. More than ten years after his letter to Paul Souday, Valéry returns to this prehistory and confirms that he had chosen the form of the dialogue for its elasticity and malleability. And there can be no doubt that it is this form that led to Socrates carrying the dialogue. All this, including the choice of the name “Eupalinos” — an ancient architect Valéry found in an encyclopedia — is of paramount facticity, which, if not labored, was certainly perceived as adequate. But this facticity, which befell the poet, was at the same time provoked by the needs of his poetic self-understanding — and was, of course, stylized in retrospect.

Keywords:   Hans Blumenberg, Socrates, Paul Valéry, aesthetics, Eupalinos, dialogue, poetic self-understanding, poetry

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