Michel Foucault als ausgangspunkt einer ontologie der literatur

Translated title of the contribution: Michel Foucault as starting point of an ontology of literature

Arne Klawitter*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review


Although Foucault's work on discourse and power plays an important role in literary theory, he has never published a discursive analysis of literature. Between 1962 and 1966, Foucault wrote several essays on modern literature. During this time he developed what he called a "formal ontology of literature", which was initially inspired by Blanchot's studies on the ontological status of literature. This ontology, however, is usually regarded as an earlier stage in Foucault's thinking, which he overcame in his archaeology of the human sciences. The question the author poses is that of a possible application of Foucault's discursive analysis to literary criticism. In combining Foucault's earlier ontology with his analysis of discourse, the author traces the means by which Foucault puts his thoughts on literature into practice. He suggests that the ontology of literature opened the possibility of describing certain verbal configurations that can be read as indicators of the being of language. In his later deontologization, Foucault managed to re-read those indicators as discursive events of a "discourse on non-discourse".

Translated title of the contributionMichel Foucault as starting point of an ontology of literature
Original languageGerman
Pages (from-to)115-135
Number of pages21
JournalZeitschrift fur Semiotik
Issue number1-2
Publication statusPublished - 2005 Dec 1
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Cultural Studies
  • Language and Linguistics
  • Philosophy
  • Linguistics and Language
  • Literature and Literary Theory


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