Paul de Man
|Paul de Man|
December 6, 1919|
|Died||December 21, 1983
New Haven, Connecticut, U.S.
Paul de Man (December 6, 1919 – December 21, 1983), born Paul Adolph Michel Deman, was a Belgian-born literary critic and literary theorist. At the time of his death, de Man was one of the best-known literary critics in the United States—known particularly for his importation of German and French philosophical approaches into Anglo-American literary studies and critical theory.[not verified in body] Along with Jacques Derrida, he was part of an influential critical movement that went beyond traditional interpretation of literary texts to reflect on the epistemological difficulties inherent in any textual, literary, or critical activity.[not verified in body] This approach aroused considerable opposition, which de Man attributed to "resistance" inherent in the difficult enterprise of literary interpretation itself.
De Man began his teaching career in the United States at Bard College. In the late 1950s he completed his Ph.D. at Harvard University, then taught at Cornell University, Johns Hopkins University,[not verified in body] and the University of Zurich. He joined the faculty in French and Comparative Literature at Yale University, where he was considered part of the Yale School of Deconstruction. At the time of his death from cancer, he was Sterling Professor of the Humanities and chairman of the Department of Comparative Literature at Yale. De Man oversaw the dissertations of Gayatri Spivak (at Cornell), Barbara Johnson (at Yale),[not verified in body] Samuel Weber (at Cornell), and many other noted scholars.
After his death, a researcher uncovered some two hundred previously unknown articles which de Man had written in his early twenties for Belgian collaborationist[not verified in body] newspapers during World War II, five of them implicitly and one explicitly anti-Semitic. These, in combination with explosive revelations about his domestic life and financial history, caused a scandal and provoked a reconsideration of his life and work.[not verified in body]
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Paul de Man was born in Antwerp, Belgium, to a prominent and cultivated upper-class Flemish family. His maternal great-grandfather was the noted Flemish Poet, Jan Van Beers, and the family maintained a continuing interest in French literature. His uncle Hendrik de Man was a famous socialist theorist and politician, who became a Nazi-collaborator during World War II. Paul's father, Robert ("Bob") de Man, was a successful businessman whose firm manufactured X-ray equipment. De Man's father and his mother, Madeleine de Braey, who were first cousins, married over the family's opposition. The marriage proved unhappy.
De Man's early life was difficult and shadowed by tragedy. His mother Madeleine's first pregnancy with her oldest son Henrik ("Rik", b. 1915) coincided with the intense German bombings of World War I and strained her fragile physical and mental health. The stillbirth of a daughter two years later pushed her into a seemingly permanent suicidal depression. She was a mental invalid and had to be watched constantly. The family walked on eggshells and "Bob" de Man found solace with other women. In contrast to Rik, who was backward and a failure in school, Paul dealt with his difficult home life by becoming a brilliant student and accomplished athlete. He was among the few Dutch-speaking boys admitted to the prestigious and highly competitive Royal Athenaeum of Antwerp. There, he followed his father's career path in choosing to study science and engineering, consistently receiving top marks in mathematics. He took no courses in literature or philosophy but developed an extracurricular interest in religious mysticism. In 1936, his brother Rik de Man was killed at the age of 21 when his car was struck by a train while parked at a railroad crossing. The following year, Paul, then seventeen, discovered the body of their mother, who had hanged herself on the anniversary of Rik's death.[not specific enough to verify]
That fall Paul enrolled in the Free University of Brussels. He wrote for student magazines and continued to take courses in science and engineering. For stability he turned to his uncle Hendrik as a patron and surrogate emotional father, sometimes telling people Hendrik was his real father and his real father was his uncle. He fathered a son with Romanian-born Anaïde Baraghian, the wife of his landlord. Baraghian left her husband to marry Paul, and the couple had two more sons together.[better source needed]
De Man told people that when the Nazis occupied Belgium in 1940, he and Baraghian tried to flee into Spain but were turned back at the Spanish border. Uncle Hendrik, whose views had been moving ever rightward, welcomed the Nazi invaders, whom he saw as essential for instituting his brand of socialism.[dated info][page needed] For a year, Hendrik de Man was appointed as de facto puppet Prime Minister of Belgium under the Nazis. He used his influence to secure his nephew a position as cultural editor for Le Soir, the largest Belgian French-language newspaper, and the Flemish daily Het Vlaamsche Land, both violently anti-Semitic and under Nazi control. As a cultural critic, de Man would contribute hundreds of articles and reviews to these publications, and some of his pieces were overtly anti-semitic. Most of his writings, however, were artfully evasive about matters political; and he maintained friendships with individual Jews.
In 1942, Uncle Hendrik, mistrusted by his fellow collaborators on the right and marked for death as a traitor by the Belgian Resistance, took refuge in Paris. (Later he fled to Savoy and then to Switzerland). Paul resigned from newspaper work in November 1942. Two months later, a fellow cultural critic at Le Soir was assassinated by a member of the Resistance.
De Man spent the rest of the war in seclusion doing literary translations; his translation into Dutch of Moby Dick by Herman Melville was published in 1945. He would be interrogated[by whom?] but not charged after the war. Hendrik de Man was tried and convicted in absentia for treason; he died in Switzerland in 1953, after crashing his car into an oncoming train, an accident that was almost certainly a suicide.[not specific enough to verify][dated info]
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Subsequently using money borrowed from wealthy relatives, de Man embarked on an ambitious and expensive publishing scheme. He was living lavishly and had to file for bankruptcy after lawsuits from creditors. In 1948, in the wake of his publishing fiasco and pending criminal charges, de Man left Belgium and immigrated to New York City. Baraghian, who had no work permit, sailed with their three young sons to Argentina, where her parents had recently emigrated. De Man found work stocking books at the Doubleday Bookstore at New York City's Grand Central Station. There he befriended Georges Bataille, an antinomian mystic and surrealist, and through him, Dwight MacDonald, a key figure on the New York intellectual and literary scene. At MacDonald's apartment, de Man met the beautiful and celebrated novelist Mary McCarthy. De Man persuaded his newfound friends that he had been a French resistance fighter who had spent the war in England doing translations. Taken with his knowledge of literature and blond good looks, McCarthy recommended de Man to her friend, Artine Artinian, a professor of French at Bard College, as a temporary replacement while Artinian spent the academic year of 1949–50 in France as a Fulbright fellow.
"De Man was to teach Mr. Artinian's courses, advise Mr. Artinian's advisees, and move into Mr. Artinian's house. By December , de Man had married one of the advisees, a French major named Patricia Kelley, and when the first Mrs. de Man turned up with their three young boys, Hendrik, Robert, and Marc, in the spring of 1950, Patricia de Man [sic] was pregnant."
De Man persuaded the devastated Baraghian to accept a sum of money, agree to a divorce, and to let Kelley's parents raise the eldest boy while she took the younger ones back to Argentina, with a promise of child support that he was never to honor.[dated info]
A heavily fictionalized account of this period of de Man's life is the basis of Henri Thomas's 1964 novel Le Parjure (The Perjurer). De Man and his partner Kelly underwent a second marriage ceremony in August 1960, when his divorce from Baraghian was finalized. They later had a third ceremony in Ithaca. In addition to their son, Michael, born while the couple was at Bard College, they had a daughter, Patsy. The couple remained together until de Man's death, aged 64, in New Haven, Connecticut.
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Professor Artine Artinian accused de Man of "petty thievery and chicanery", and saw to it that de Man's contract at Bard was not renewed. A student newspaper at Bard tried to summarize de Man's final lecture, delivered June 1951 and entitled, "The Morality of Literature", in this way:
Like the esthetic act, moral systems are wasteful in that they acquire to spend. Moral systems are by their very nature destructive. They are unserious in that they are liable to change and, in order to certify themselves, are forced to travel to their limit, expending energy value on the way. Upon arriving at their limit, moral systems decay and become stagnant. Therefore, history is not continuous, but a discrete system in that there must be a rejection of the past in order to invent the validity of the different present.
The de Mans moved to Boston, where Paul earned money teaching conversational French at Berlitz and did translations, assisted by Kelley; he also gave private French lessons to Harvard student Henry Kissinger. There, de Man met Harry Levin, the Harvard Professor of Comparative Literature, and "was invited to join an informal literary seminar that met at Levin's house (alongside, e.g., George Steiner and John Simon). By the fall of 1952, he was officially admitted to graduate study in comparative literature." Evelyn Barish states that de Man forged passing marks on his Brussels Free University transcript.[better source needed] In 1954 someone sent Harvard an anonymous letter denouncing de Man as a wartime collaborator and questioning his immigration status (a letter not surviving, and known only on the basis of de Man's response to it). According to Harvard faculty members, de Man offered a thorough and more than satisfactory account of his immigration status and the nature of his political activities, but some critics have accused him of being dishonest. After graduation De Man was awarded a prestigious appointment at the Harvard Society of Fellows. Subsequently de Man taught at Cornell University.
Peter Brooks, later de Man's friend and colleague at Yale, wrote that rather than brand de Man as a confidence man, as his critics were inclined to do:
"One might consider this a story of remarkable survival and success following the chaos of war, occupation, postwar migration, and moments of financial desperation: without any degrees to his name, de Man had impressed, among others, Bataille, Macdonald, McCarthy, and Levin, and entered the highest precincts of American academia. During the following decade, he contributed nine articles to the newly established New York Review: astute and incisive short essays on major European writers—Hölderlin, Gide, Camus, Sartre, Heidegger, as well as Borges—that display notable cultural range and critical poise.
In 1966, de Man attended a conference on structuralism held at Johns Hopkins University, where Jacques Derrida delivered his celebrated essay, "Structure, Sign, and Play in the Discourse of the Human Sciences"; de Man and Derrida soon became fast friends. Both were to become identified with Deconstruction. De Man came to reflect the influence primarily of Heidegger and used deconstruction to study Romanticism, both English and German, as well as French literature, specifically the works of William Wordsworth, John Keats, Maurice Blanchot, Marcel Proust, Jean-Jacques Rousseau, Friedrich Nietzsche, Immanuel Kant, G.W.F. Hegel, Walter Benjamin, William Butler Yeats, Friedrich Hoelderlin and Rainer Maria Rilke.
Following an appointment in Zurich, de Man returned to the United States in the 1970s to teach at Yale University, where he served for the rest of his career. At the time of his death of cancer at age 64, he was a Sterling Professor and chairman of the department of comparative literature at Yale.
Contributions to literary theory
Although de Man's work in the 1960s differs from his later deconstructive endeavors, considerable continuity can also be discerned. In his 1967 essay "Criticism and Crisis," he argues that because literary works are understood to be fictions rather than factual accounts, they exemplify the break between a sign and its meaning: literature "means" nothing, but critics resist this insight:
"When modern critics think they are demystifying literature, they are in fact being demystified by it. But since this necessarily occurs in the form of a crisis, they are blind to what takes place within themselves. What they call anthropology, linguistics, psychoanalysis, is nothing but literature reappearing like the hydra's head in the very spot where it had been suppressed. The human mind will go through amazing feats to avoid facing 'the nothingness of human matters'."
De Man would later observe that, due to this resistance to acknowledging that literature does not "mean", English departments had become "large organizations in the service of everything except their own subject matter" ("The Return to Philology"). He said that the study of literature had become the art of applying psychology, politics, history, philology or other disciplines to the literary text, in an effort to make the text "mean" something.
Among the central threads running through de Man's work is his attempt to tease out the tension between rhetoric (which de Man's uses as a term to mean figural language and trope) and meaning, seeking moments in the text where linguistic forces "tie themselves into a knot which arrests the process of understanding." De Man's earlier essays from the 1960s, collected in Blindness and Insight, represent an attempt to seek these paradoxes in the texts of New Criticism and move beyond formalism. One of De Man's central topoi is of the blindness on which these critical readings are predicated, that the "insight seems instead to have been gained from a negative movement that animates the critic's thought, an unstated principle that leads his language away from its asserted stand. . . as if the very possibility of assertion had been put into question." Here de Man tries to undercut the notion of the poetic work as a unified, atemporal icon, a self-possessed repository of meaning freed from the intentionalist and affective fallacies. In de Man's argument, formalist and New Critical valorization of the "organic" nature of poetry is ultimately self-defeating: the notion of the verbal icon is undermined by the irony and ambiguity inherent within it. Form ultimately acts as "both a creator and undoer of organic totalities," and "the final insight...annihilated the premises which led up to it."[not specific enough to verify][page needed]
In Allegories of Reading,[not specific enough to verify][page needed] de Man further explores the tensions arising in figural language in Nietzsche, Rousseau, Rilke, and Proust. In these essays, he concentrates on crucial passages which have a metalinguistic function or metacritical implications, particularly those where figural language has a dependency on classical philosophical oppositions (essence/accident, synchronic/diachronic, appearance/reality) which are so central to Western discourse. Many of the essays in this volume attempt to undercut figural totalization, the notion that one can control or dominate a discourse or phenomenon through metaphor. In de Man's discussion of Nietzsche's The Birth of Tragedy, for instance, he claims that "genetic"[clarification needed] conceptions of history appearing in the text are undercut by the rhetorical strategies Nietzsche employs: "the deconstruction does not occur between statements, as in a logical refutation or a dialectic, but happens instead between, on the one hand, metalinguistic statements about the rhetorical nature of language and, on the other hand, a rhetorical praxis that puts these statements into question." For de Man, an "Allegory of Reading" emerges when texts are subjected to such scrutiny and reveal this tension; a reading wherein the text reveals its own assumptions about language, and in so doing dictates a statement about undecidability, the difficulties inherent in totalization, their own readability, or the "limitations of textual authority."
De Man is also known for his readings of English and German romantic and post-romantic poetry and philosophy (The Rhetoric of Romanticism), and concise and deeply ironic essays. Specifically noteworthy is his critical dismantling of the Romantic ideology and the linguistic assumptions which underlie it. His arguments follow roughly as follows. First, de Man seeks to deconstruct the privileged claims in Romanticism of symbol over allegory, and metaphor over metonymy. In his reading, because of the implication of self-identity and wholeness which is inherent in the Romantics' conception of metaphor, when this self-identity decomposes, so also does the means of overcoming the dualism between subject and object, which Romantic metaphor sought to transcend. In de Man's reading, to compensate for this inability, Romanticism constantly relies on allegory to attain the wholeness established by the totality of the symbol.
In addition, in his essay "The Resistance to Theory", which explores the task and philosophical bases of literary theory, de Man uses the example of the classical trivium of grammar, rhetoric, and logic to argue that the use of linguistic sciences in literary theory and criticism (i.e. a structuralist approach) was able to harmonize the logical and grammatical dimension of literature, but only at the expense of effacing the rhetorical elements of texts which presented the greatest interpretive demands. He posits that the resistance to theory is the resistance to reading, thus the resistance to theory is theory itself. Or the resistance to theory is what constitutes the possibility and existence of theory. Taking up the example of the title of Keats' poem The Fall of Hyperion, de Man draws out an irreducible interpretive undecidability which bears strong affinities to the same term in Derrida's work and some similarity to the notion of incommensurability as developed by Jean-François Lyotard in The Postmodern Condition and The Differend. De Man argues that the recurring motive of theoretical readings is to subsume these decisions under theoretical, futile generalizations, which are displaced in turn into harsh polemics about theory.
Influence and legacy
De Man's influence on literary criticism was considerable, in part through his numerous and vocal disciples. Although much of his work brought to bear insights on literature drawn from German philosophers such as Kant and Heidegger, De Man also closely followed developments in contemporary French literature, criticism, and theory
Much of de Man's work was collected or published posthumously. His book, Resistance to Theory was virtually complete at the time of his death. In 1996 a collection of essays, edited by his former Yale colleague Andrzej Warminski, was published by the University of Minnesota Press under the title, Aesthetic Ideology.
Wartime journalism and posthumous controversies
In 1988, Ortwin de Graef, a Belgian graduate student at the University of Leuven, discovered some two hundred articles which de Man had written during World War II for Le Soir. That year a conference on Paul de Man took place at the University of Antwerp. "On the last day, Jean Stengers, a historian at the Free University of Brussels, addressed a topic pointedly titled: "Paul de Man, a Collaborator?" Then Georges Goriely, professor emeritus of sociology at the Free University of Brussels, rose to deliver what he called "A Personal Testimony":
M. Goriely began by extolling de Man, whom he had known intimately in his youth, as "a charming, humorous, modest, highly cultured" homme de lettres renowned in Belgian literary circles during their youth. Then the professor dropped his bombshell. De Man, he asserted, wasn't all that he appeared to be. He was "completely, almost pathologically, dishonest," a crook who had bankrupted his family. "Swindling, forging, lying were, at least at the time, second nature to him."
The European press was in an uproar. "There were stories in La Quinzaine Litteraire, the Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung, The (Manchester) Guardian. Newsweek juxtaposed a photograph of de Man with another of Nazis on the march. Le Soir reported 'a Waldheim academique'."
De Man's disciples tried to portray the attacks on de Man as a cover for his critics' dislike of Deconstruction, alleging that the attacks were a ruse that used de Man's youthful errors as evidence of what they considered the decadence at the heart of the Continental thought behind de Man and his theories. The controversies quickly spread from the pages of scholarly journals to the broader media. The Chronicle of Higher Education and the front page of the New York Times exposed the sensational details of de Man's personal life, particularly the circumstances of his marriage and his difficult relationships with his children.
In the most controversial and explicitly anti-semitic essay from this war-time journalism, titled "Jews in Contemporary Literature" (1941), de Man described how "[v]ulgar anti-semitism willingly takes pleasure in considering post-war cultural phenomenon (after the war of 14–18) as degenerate and decadent because they are [enjewished]." He notes that
"Literature does not escape this lapidary judgement: it is sufficient to discover a few Jewish writers under Latinized pseudonyms for all contemporary production to be considered polluted and evil. This conception entails rather dangerous consequences ... it would be a rather unflattering appreciation of western writers to reduce them to being mere imitators of a Jewish culture which is foreign to them."
The article claimed that contemporary literature had not broken from tradition as a result of the First World War and that
"the Jews cannot claim to have been its creators, nor even to have exercised a preponderant influence over its development. On any closer examination, this influence appears to have extraordinarily little importance since one might have expected that, given the specific characteristics of the Jewish Spirit, the later would have played a more brilliant role in this artistic production."
The article concluded that "our civilization... [b]y keeping, in spite of semitic interference in all aspects of European life, an intact originality and character... has shown that its basic character is healthy." It concluded that "the creation of a Jewish colony isolated from Europe" as "a solution to the Jewish problem" would not entail any "deplorable consequences" for "the literary life of the west." This is the only known article in which de Man pronounced such views so openly, though two or three other articles also accept without demurral the disenfranchisement and ostracization of Jews, as some contributors to Responses have noted.
De Man's colleagues, students, and contemporaries tried to respond to his early writings and his subsequent silence about them in the volume Responses: On Paul de Man's Wartime Journalism (edited by Werner Hamacher, Neil Hertz, and Thomas Keenan; Nebraska, 1989). His longtime friend, Jacques Derrida, who was Jewish, published a long piece responding to De Man's critics, declaring:
"To judge, to condemn the work or the man on the basis of what was a brief episode, to call for closing, that is to say, at least figuratively, for censuring or burning his books is to reproduce the exterminating gesture which one accuses de Man of not having armed himself against sooner with the necessary vigilance. It is not even to draw a lesson that he, de Man, learned to draw from the war."
Some readers objected to what they considered was Derrida's objectionable effort to relate criticism of de Man to the greater tragedy of extermination of the Jews.
Since the late 1980s, some of de Man's followers, many of them Jewish, have pointed out that de Man at no time in his life displayed personal animus against Jews. Shoshana Felman, recounted that
"about a year after the journalistic publication of his compromising statement, he and his wife sheltered for several days in their apartment the Jewish pianist Esther Sluszny and her husband, who were then illegal citizens in hiding from the Nazis. During this same period, de Man was meeting regularly with Georges Goriely, a member of the Belgian Resistance. According to Goriely's own testimony, he never for one minute feared denunciation of his underground activities by Paul de Man."
But, his disciples and defenders have failed to agree about the nature of de Man's silence about his wartime activities. His critics, on the other hand, point out that throughout his life de Man was not only passively silent but also engaged in an active coverup through lies and misdirections about his past.
New biography: 2014
In 2014 Evelyn Barish published a new biography, The Double Life of Paul de Man, the result of extensive archival research and interviews with close family and colleagues. Barish charges de Man with a long list of personal,[page needed] professional,[page needed] and criminal misdeeds.[page needed] In an advance review published in Harpers Magazine, Christine Smallwood concluded that, as portrayed by Barish, de Man turns out to have been: "a slippery Mr. Ripley, a confidence man, and a hustler who embezzled, lied, forged, and arreared his way to intellectual acclaim." Writing in the New York Review of Books, Peter Brooks defended his friend and former colleague at Yale, calling some of Barish's accusations overblown and identifying numerous errors in her footnotes: "One could do a review of Barish's footnotes that would cast many doubts on her scholarship", he complains. For example, he cites the footnote Barish provides to support her claim that in 1942 de Man planned to launch a Nazi literary magazine: "I shared this information, and it has since been previously published in Belgian sources not now available to me", noting that this sort of thing "does not pass any sort of muster."
Harvard professor Louis Menand, on the other hand, in his review in The New Yorker, finds Barish's biography important and credible, notwithstanding the presence of occasional errors and exaggerations. Menand writes that Barish is:
not a hundred per cent reliable on the historical background; she is a little over her head with the theoretical issues; and she sometimes characterizes as manipulative or deceptive behavior that might have a more benign explanation. Her book is a brief for the prosecution. But it is not a hatchet job, and she has an amazing tale to tell. In her account, all guns are smoking. There are enough to stock a miniseries.
- Allegories of Reading: Figural Language in Rousseau, Nietzsche, Rilke, and Proust (ISBN 0-300-02845-8), 1979.
- Blindness and Insight: Essays in the Rhetoric of Contemporary Criticism. 2nd ed. (ISBN 0-8166-1135-1), 1983.
- The Rhetoric of Romanticism (ISBN 0-231-05527-7), 1984.
- The Resistance to Theory (ISBN 0-8166-1294-3), 1986.
- Wartime Journalism, 1934–1943 (ISBN 0-8032-1684-X) eds. Werner Hamacher, Neil Hertz, Thomas Keenan, 1988.
- Critical Writings: 1953–1978 (ISBN 0-8166-1695-7) Lindsay Waters (ed.), 1989.
- Romanticism and Contemporary Criticism: The Gauss Seminar and Other Papers (ISBN 0-8166-1695-7) eds. E. S. Burt, Kevin Newmark, and Andrzej Warminski, 1993.
- Aesthetic Ideology (ISBN 0-8166-2204-3) ed. Andrzej Warminski, 1996
- The Post-Romantic Predicament, Martin McQuillan, editor (ISBN 9780748641055), 2012 [de Man's dissertation, collected with other writings from his Harvard University years, 1956–1961].
- The Paul de Man Notebooks, Martin McQuillan, editor (ISBN 978-0748641048), forthcoming 2014.
Selected secondary works (inverse chronological order)
- Evelyn Barish, 2014, "The Double Life of Paul de Man", New York: W. W. Norton/Liveright|, e.g., p. 3. 560 pp., ISBN 978-0-87140-326-1. See http://books.wwnorton.com/books/detail.aspx?ID=4294972279, accessed 3 May 2014.
- Christine Smallwood, 2014, "New Books (The Double Life of Paul de Man)", Harpers Magazine, March 2014, pp. 77–78.
- Claire Colebrook, Paul de Man, Tom Cohen & J. Hillis Miller, 2012, Theory and the Disappearing Future: On de Man, On Benjamin. New York, N.Y.: Routledge. [Includes de Man's notes for "Conclusions: on The Task of the Translator"]
- Ian MacKenzie, 2002,Paradigms of Reading: Relevance Theory and Deconstruction. New York, N.Y.;Macmillan/Palgrave.
- Tom Cohen, Barbara Cohen, J. Hillis Miller & Andrzej Warminski, Eds., 2000, Material Events: Paul de Man and the Afterlife of Theory. Minneapolis, Minn.:University of Minnesota Press. [Essays on Aesthetic Ideology]
- Rodolphe Gasché, 1998, The Wild Card of Reading, Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press.
- Cathy Caruth & Deborah Esch, Eds., 1995, Critical Encounters: Reference and Responsibility in Deconstructive Writing, New Brunswick, N.J.: Rutgers University Press.
- James J. Sosnoski, 1995, Modern Skeletons in Postmodern Closets: A Cultural Studies Alternative (Knowledge : Disciplinarity and Beyond). Charlottesville, VA: University of Virginia Press.
- Ortwin De Graef, 1995, Titanic Light: Paul de Man's Post-Romanticism. Lincoln, Nebr.: University of Nebraska Press.
- Ortwin De Graef, 1993, Serenity in Crisis: A Preface to Paul de Man, 1939–1960. Lincoln, NE: University of Nebraska Press.
- Fredric Jameson, 1991, Postmodernism, or The Cultural Logic of Late Capitalism. Durham, NC: Duke University Press. pp. 217–59.
- Malcolm Bradbury, 1991, "The Scholar Who Misread History", New York Times, February 24, 1991. See http://www.nytimes.com/books/01/04/01/specials/bradbury-deman.html, date of access unknown. [Review of D. Lehman's Signs of the times: Deconstruction and the Fall of Paul De Man]
- David Lehman, 1991, Signs of the times: Deconstruction and the Fall of Paul de Man. New York: Simon & Schuster/Poseidon Press.
- Lindsay Waters & Wlad Godzich, 1989, Reading de Man Reading. Minneapolis, MN: University of Minnesota Press.
- Jacques Derrida, 1989, Memoires for Paul de Man. New York: Columbia University Press.
- Jon Wiener, 1989, "The Responsibilities of Friendship: Jacques Derrida on Paul de Man's Collaboration." Critical Inquiry 14:797–803.
- Neil Hertz, Werner Hamacher & Thomas Keenan, Eds., 1988, Responses to Paul de Man's Wartime Journalism. Lincoln, NE: University of Nebraska Press.
- Christopher Norris, 1988, Paul de Man: Deconstruction and the Critique of Aesthetic Ideology, London, U.K.: Routledge.
- Shelf Life by David Mikics (The Nation, April 28, 2014)- contains explicit information about de Man that Barish revealed
- Evelyn Barish, 2014, "The Double Life of Paul de Man", New York: W. W. Norton/Liveright|, e.g., p. 3. 560 pp., ISBN 978-0-87140-326-1. See http://books.wwnorton.com/books/detail.aspx?ID=4294972279, accessed 3 May 2014.
- de Man, Paul, date unknown, "The Resistance to Theory," in The Resistance to Theory, University of Minnesota Press, publisher, city, and page numbers unknown.
- Barish 2014, pp. 43–46
- Christine Smallwood, 2014, "New Books (The Double Life of Paul de Man)", Harpers Magazine, March 2014, pp. 77f. See http://harpers.org/archive/2014/03/new-books-56/, accessed 3 May 2014.
- James Tuttleton, 1991, "Quisling criticism: the case of Paul de Man: a review of David Lehman, 'Signs of the Times: Deconstruction & the Fall of Paul de Man'," New Criterion, April 1991. See https://www.newcriterion.com/articles.cfm/Quisling-criticism--the-case-of-Paul-de-Man-5464, access date unknown.
- James Atlas, 1988, "The Case of Paul de Man", New York Times, August 28, 1988. See http://www.nytimes.com/1988/08/28/magazine/the-case-of-paul-de-man.html?pagewanted=all, accessed 3 May 2014.
- Peter Rudnytsky, date unknown, "Rousseau's Confessions, De Man's Excuses," in Autobiography, Historiography, Rhetoric, publisher, city, and page now. unknown.
- Frank Kermode, 1989, "Paul de Man's Abyss," London Review of Books, March 16, 1989. See http://www.lrb.co.uk/v11/n06/frank-kermode/paul-de-mans-abyss, access date unknown.
- David Lehman, 1992, "Paul de Man: The Plot Thickens," New York Times, May 24, 1992, page numbers unknown. See http://www.nytimes.com/1992/05/24/books/paul-de-man-the-plot-thickens.html?pagewanted=all, access date unknown.
- Tom Bartlett, 2-13, "Paul de Man's Many Secrets," Chronicle of Higher Education, Oct. 21, 2013. See , date of access unknown.
- Lindsay Waters. "Paul de Man: Life and Works." Introduction to Paul de Man, Critical Writings: 1953–1978. Ed. Lindsay Waters. Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press. 1989. lxiv. See also Jacques Derrida, "Le Parjure: Perhaps, Storytelling and Lying", pp. 161–201, in Without Alibi (Stanford University Press, 2002).
- As a widow, Kelly admitted to having been puzzled by her late husband's habit of staring into the mirror, not just for a few minutes, but for hours (Bartlett, "Paul de Man's Many Secrets" ).
- David Lehman, "Paul de Man: The Plot Thickens, New York Times, page numbers unknown.
- David Lehman, 1992, "Paul de Man: The Plot Thickens", New York Times, May 24, 1992, p. 3. See http://www.nytimes.com/1992/05/24/books/paul-de-man-the-plot-thickens.html, accessed 3 May 2014.
- Peter Brooks, 2014, "The Strange Case of Paul de Man", New York Review of Books, March 2014, see http://www.nybooks.com/articles/archives/2014/apr/03/strange-case-paul-de-man/?insrc=hpss, accessed 2 May 2014.
- "Criticism and Crisis" 18 in Blindness and Insight. The phrase "nothingness of human matters" – le néant des choses humaines – is from a well-known passage about the imagination from Rousseau's Julie ou La Nouvelle Héloïse (VI: VIII), which asserts that human happiness lies only in desire and not fulfillment: "The world of illusions is the only one worth inhabiting. Such is the vanity of human matters, outside the realm of the Self-Created Being, that nothing here is beautiful but what is not."
- de Man, Paul, "Shelley Disfigured", in Bloom, Harold, et al. Deconstruction and Criticism (New York, Continuum: 1979), p. 44.
- See de Man, Paul, Blindness and Insight: Essays in the Rhetoric of Contemporary Criticism (Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press, 1971).
- de Man, Paul, "The Rhetoric of Blindness", Blindness and Insight, 103.
- de Man, Paul, "The Rhetoric of Blindness", Blindness and Insight, p. 104.
- See de Man, Paul, Allegories of Reading (New Haven: Yale University Press, 1979).
- de Man, Allegories of Reading, 98.
- de Man, Allegories of Reading, 99.
- See de Man, "The Rhetoric of Temporality", Blindness and Insight.
- For facsimiles of the articles, see Warner Hamacher, Neil Hertz and Thomas Keenan, eds., Wartime Journalism 1939–1943 by Paul de Man (Lincoln: University of Nebraska Press, 1988).
- Jacques Derrida, "Like the Sound of the Sea Deep within a Shell: Paul de Man's War", Critical Inquiry 14 (Spring 1988), 597–98.
- "Yale Scholar Wrote for Pro-Nazi Newspaper", New York Times, Dec. 1, 1987, p. 1.
- Paul de Man. "The Jews in Contemporary Literature." Originally published in Le Soir (March 4, 1941), Martin McQuillan, translator, in Martin McQuillan, Paul de Man. USA (Routledge. 2001), pp. 127–29.
- "Les Juifs dans la litterature actuelle" appears in the same issue, p. 45.
- Jacques Derrida, "Like the Sound of the Sea Deep within a Shell: Paul de Man's War", Critical Inquiry 14 (Spring 1988), 590–65; quote from 651; see also the "Critical Responses" in Critical Inquiry 15 (Summer 1989, 765–811) and Derrida's reply, "Biodegradables: Seven Diary Fragments", 812–873.
- See, for example, Jon Wiener, "The Responsibilities of Friendship", Critical Inquiry 15 (Summer 1989): 797.
- Shoshana Felman, "Paul de Man's Silence", Critical Inquiry 15: 4 (Summer, 1989): 704–744
- Louis Menand, "The de Man Case: Does a Critic's Past Explain His Criticism?", The New Yorker, March 24, 2014.
- Archival collections
- Guide to the Paul de Man Papers. Special Collections and Archives, The UC Irvine Libraries, Irvine, California.
- Guide to the Neil Hertz Papers on Paul de Man. Special Collections and Archives, The UC Irvine Libraries, Irvine, California.
- UCIspace at the Libraries digital collection: Paul de Man manuscripts, circa 1973–1983
- Johns Hopkins Guide to Literary Theory