chapter  4
10 Pages

The death of art?

For Heidegger the task of the reader etc. is to ‘preserve’ the singular world-soliciting thrust of the work, its singularity as described in the section of that name in the last chapter. Respect for its singularity means not forcing the work to be intelligible within the framework of what one already understands, whether that be the reader’s sense of the work’s social context or of its author’s thought. To preserve the singularity of the work is a matter of holding open, as it were, that force of disclosure to which, as we have seen, the artist already responds

in the emergent work, and not to make of the work an object on to which predetermined labels could be fixed: ‘Where does the work belong? The work belongs, as work, uniquely within the realm that is opened up by itself’ (PLT: 41). So ‘The work’s own peculiar reality . . . is brought to bear only where the work is preserved in the truth that happens by the work itself’ (PLT: 68).