Readings in Interpretation—a volume primarily on the texts of Hölderlin, Hegel, and their interpreter Heidegger—locates itself strategically between literature and philosophy. In keeping with this juxtaposition, it treats the question of self-consciousness and reflection on the levels of “theme” and “text.” For both Hegel and Hölderlin, selfconsciousness and its relation to knowing are explicit themes, but Waminski’s readings show that a more disruptive reflection is operative on the level of text.
In an argument that centers on the textual aspects of Hegel’s Phenomenology of the Spirit, Warminski demonstrates that the negative moment—which is often interpreted as a prelude to a unified self-consciousness—cannot be accounted for by interpretive models drawn from outside the text—by concepts like the self, consciousness, or the subject. Instead, a completely different practice and theory is necessary. The author’s “Prefatory Postscript” at the beginning of the book therefore serves as an introduction to sketch the theoretical basis of the readings that follow and as a “postscript” that explains the difference between “reading” and “interpretation” which those readings make necessary.