"The truth told urgently yields poetry,” the novelist George Saunders once said. This holds not just for fiction and lyric poetry, but for every kind of urgent truth telling, including criticism and scholarship. Once the voice abandons the idioms of knowingness, once it is exposed — naked — to its own vulnerability, it is prepared to speak the truth with passion. That is the place from which the humanities must speak.
The Urgency of Poetic Speech: Finding the Voice of the Humanities
Michel Chaouli is the author of Thinking with Kant’s Critique of Judgment (Harvard University Press: 2017) and The Laboratory of Poetry: Chemistry and Poetics in the Work of Friedrich Schlegel (Johns Hopkins University Press: 2002), as well as many articles on aesthetic theory, literature and philosophy. He is a Professor in the Department of Germanic Studies, Director of the Center for Theoretical Inquiry in the Humanities and an associate member of the Departments of Comparative Literature and Cognitive Science at Indiana University, Bloomington.