Glas, trans. John P. Leavey Jr. and Richard Rand (Lincoln: University of Nebraska Press, 1986).
Glas extensively reworks the problems of reading and writing in philosophy and literature; questions the possibility of linear reading and its consequent notions of theme, author, narrative, and discursive demonstration; and ingeniously disrupts the positions of reader and writer in the text. Glas is extraordinary in many ways, most obviously in its typography. Arranged in two columns, with inserted sections within these, the book simultaneously discusses Hegel’s philosophy and Jean Genet’s fiction, and shows how two such seemingly distinct kinds of criticism can reflect and influence one another. The customary segregation of philosophy, rhetoric, psychoanalysis, linguistics, history, and poetics is systematically subverted. In design and content, the books calls into question “types” of literature (history, philosophy, literary criticism), the ownership of ideas and styles, the glorification of literary heroes, and the limits of literary representation.