In this contribution to an exchange of views about “lyric philosophy,” the author argues that the philosopher-poet Jan Zwicky, beginning as early as her dissertation at the University of Toronto, has championed the nonlogical, including the ineffable, the oracular, and the mystical, and that more recently those concerns have merged in a more focused way in her attention to ecological issues. The impulse to fix philosophy and the environment depends in her work mainly on further linguistic statements and declarations, and on occasional overt rejections of traditional political remedies. Thus, the audience for her campaign against analytic philosophy, for example, does not seem to reach beyond the walls of higher education in North America. Zwicky has aligned herself with an esoteric philosophical tradition (Heraclitus, Plato, Nietzsche, Heidegger) that has sought to achieve its aims covertly — meaning, for one thing, that it becomes difficult to measure the success of those aims, since they are deliberately meant to be unavailable to public scrutiny. Those aims are not dependent on the general populace's involvement or engagement. Indeed, the author concludes, the general populace has been viewed consistently in the esoteric philosophical tradition as weak and resistant, if not hostile, to philosophical thought.
Bruce Krajewski; Lady Oracle: Engagements with Jan Zwicky's Lyric Philosophy. Common Knowledge 1 January 2014; 20 (1): 46–54. doi: https://doi.org/10.1215/0961754X-2374862
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