Everything is Illuminated

Alex’s Sous Rature: The Understanded (strikethrough) Understood Mistake in “Everything is Illuminated”

Jonathan Safran Foer’s novel Everything is Illuminated (underline) is a playful celebration of postmodern eclecticism, piecing together the stylistic conventions and devices of modernity, as Jean Baudrilliard claimed, “…all that are left are pieces. All that remains to be done is to play with the pieces. Playing with the pieces – that is postmodern” (24). This raises the question of the relationship between the artist and the work, in late modernity and the subsequent postmodern reaction, the position of Foer. Ezra Pound would have us believe, “Any work of art which is not a beginning, an invention, a discovery is of little worth” (211), a very Cartesian observation; however, Heidegger, noting the nourishing ground in which the roots of metaphysics rests, anchoring the tree of any period’s contemporary discourse, writes:

...everything with which man is endowed must…be drawn up from the closed ground and expressly set upon this ground [Heidegger describes this ground as the earth, “containing everything that already is, and still hidden”]…All creation, because it is such a drawing-up, is a drawing, as of water from a spring. Modern subjectivism, to be sure, immediately misinterprets creation, taking it as the self-sovereign...

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