Paul de Man (1919-1983)
The Messenger Lectures (1974/1983)
Cornell's Messenger Lecture series was established in 1924 by a gift from Dr. Hiram Messenger, a Cornell graduate of 1880 and a longtime teacher of mathematics. The terms of the original gift established "a fund to provide a course of lectures on the Evolution of Civilization for the special purpose of raising the moral standard of our political, business, and social life." --Cornell University's description of the Messenger Lecture series.
These lectures were recorded (clandestinely?) on cassette in March 1983. The cassettes have not weathered well and some were damaged, the magnetic tape quality had deteriorated, as well as being of extremely varied recording quality. We have attempted to digitally remaster them, and this has only been partially successful, due to the reasons above.
Paul de Man was a prominent and influential literary critic, scholar, and teacher best known as one of the principle theorists behind an approach to literary texts that became known as deconstruction. This approach to literary texts, which had a profound effect upon the field of literary studies, was developed throughout his career in the numerous essays that appear in the collection. A biographical overview of de Man is provided, followed by a more detailed chronology of significant events and periods in de Man's career.