Daniel Heller-Roazen

Die Geheimnisse des al-Jahiz

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Daniel Heller-Roazen
Die Geheimnisse des al-Jahiz

By Daniel Heller-Roazen

Series: dOCUMENTA (13): 100 Notizen - 100 Gedanken

German, English

2011. 24 pp., 2 ills.


10.40 x 14.70 cm

ISBN 978-3-7757-2901-7

In this notebook, philosopher and writer Daniel Heller-Roazen poses the question, “Might language guard something of its own, hidden in everything that is said?” With his mastery of language and its cryptic, coded nature, he dives into the fundamental question and mystery of speech and “text” itself. Heller-Roazen refers to the ninth-century thinker Al-Ja?i? and his notion of guarding a secret and holding the tongue, and his idea that we need two skills to handle a secret: how not to speak at the wrong time, and how not to lose a secret by divulging it. A secret affects the bodies’ organs and physical being, mainly the tongue and chest, and through a discussion of Al-Ja?i?’s methods, the life of the secret is revealed: from how it traverses the body, seeping into every movement and gesture, every glance of the secret keeper, to how, once it escapes the tongue into a single ear, it is no longer a secret and becomes something else—public scandal, private shame—or at best passes into another discourse altogether, information.

Daniel Heller-Roazen (*1974) is Professor of Comparative Literature at Princeton University.

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The documenta (Kassel, Germany) is regarded as the world´s most important exhibition of contemporary art today. Ever since the first show in 1955, the documenta has made considerable contributions to the history of art.

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