Paul de Man (December 6, 1919, Antwerp – December 21, 1983, New Haven, Connecticut) was a Belgian-born deconstructionist literary critic and theorist.

He began teaching at Bard College. Later, he completed his Ph.D. at Harvard University in the late 1950s. He then taught at Cornell University, Johns Hopkins University, and the University of Zurich, before ending up on the faculty in French and Comparative Literature at Yale University, where he was considered part of the Yale School of deconstruction. At the time of his death from cancer, he was Sterling Professor of the Humanities and chairman of the Department of Comparative Literature at Yale. De Man oversaw the dissertations of Gayatri Spivak (at Cornell), Barbara Johnson (at Yale), Samuel Weber (at Cornell), and many other noted scholars.

After his death, the discovery of some two hundred articles he wrote during World War II for collaborationist newspapers, including one explicitly anti-Semitic, caused a scandal and provoked a reconsideration of his life and work.


Paul de Man Poems

Paul de Man Quotes

The writer's language is to some degree the product of his own action; he is both the historian and the agent of his own language.
Paul De Man (1919-1983), Belgian-born U.S. literary critic. Blindness and Insight, ch. 8 (1971).
Fashion is like the ashes left behind by the uniquely shaped flames of the fire, the trace alone revealing that a fire actually took place.
Paul De Man (1919-1983), Belgian-born-U.S. literary critic. repr. In Blindness and Insight (1971, rev. 1983). "Literary History and Literary Modernity," lecture, Sept. 1969.
The ambivalence of writing is such that it can be considered both an act and an interpretive process that follows after an act with which it cannot coincide. As such, it both affirms and denies its own nature.
Paul De Man (1919-1983), Belgian-born U.S. literary critic. lecture, Sept. 1969, repr. In Blindness and Insight (1971, rev. 1983). "Literary History and Literary Modernity."

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