The possibility of unconcealing in literature according to Martin Heidegger and Michael Oakeshott
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In the following thesis, I draw on these parallel ideas in works of Heidegger and Oakeshott, in order to develop two contrasting frameworks termed "the meditative idiom" and "the calculative idiom." My aim is to establish how these idioms can signal sweeping and mutually exclusive frameworks or mindsets by means of which human beings approach projects generally and literary projects in particular. Heidegger and Oakeshott present their accounts of various types of thinking and idioms in reference to the experience of literature in the context of living. My efforts to combine their frameworks continue in this same vein. This thesis focuses on what occurs when a person interacts with literature through the meditative or the calculative idioms. Drawing on Susan Sontag's essay Against Interpretation, I argue that when someone approaches literature with the aim of interpretation, they are working within the calculative idiom. This approach contrasts with the way events unfold in the meditative idiom or, better, the way this approach allows them to unfold and reveal themselves of themselves. Allowing as much is inherent to Heidegger's concept of aletheia as an "unconcealing." In this connection I claim that the meditative idiom prevents literature from becoming vitiated through interpretation. Along with consulting Heidegger, Oakeshott and Sontag, I draw upon other philosophers in attempt to elucidate what occurs during an interaction with literature.