Host(s): Stan Sanvel Rubin
Tape order number: V-3197
Visit Date: January 30, 1996
Brief Summary: Donoghue talks about his survival as one of the last "generalists," recognizing the trend towards specialization. He strongly defends his belief that the reading of texts must be predicated on the aesthetic versus the theoretical. He defines the aesthetic mode of attention as that "grand, all-encompassing mode that is alert to the possible totality of relations." In reference to his writing style, Donoghue talks about his motivation to write a memoir as a personal challenge to develop a voice that was different from the critical voice to which he was accustomed. He believes that his childhood in Ireland was, in fact, emblematic of the larger societal conflicts that plagued his country.
The aesthetic is much larger than the political or the moral or the social or the religious. The aesthetic reading is not a small thing. It is the largest possible thing.
-- Denis Donoghue