For Work / Against Work
Debates on the centrality of work

Poetry, Language, Thought

by Heidegger, Martin (1971)


Poetry, Language, Thought collects Martin Heidegger's pivotal writings on art, its role in human life and culture, and its relationship to thinking and truth. Essential reading for students and anyone interested in the great philosophers, this book opens up appreciation of Heidegger beyond the study of philosophy to the reaches of poetry and our fundamental relationship to the world. Featuring "The Origin of the Work of Art," a milestone in Heidegger's canon, this enduring volume provides potent, accessible entry to one of the most brilliant thinkers of modern times.

Key Passage

[Extract from: The Origin of the work of Art]-In the creation of a work [of Art], the conflict, as rift, must be set back into  the earth, and the earth itself must  be set forth  and used  as  the  self-closing  factor.  This use, however, does not use up or mis-use the earth  as matter, but rather  sets it free to benothing but itself. This use of the earth is a working with  it that, to  be sure, looks like the employment of matter in handicraft. Hence the appearance  that artistic creation  is also an activity of handicraft.  It  never is. But it is at all times a use of the earth in the fixing in place of  truth  in  the  figure.  In contrast, the  making  of  equipment  is  never directly the effecting of the happening of truth. The production  of equipment  is finished when  a material has been so formed as to be ready  for use. For equipment to be ready means that  it is dismissed  beyond  itself, to be used up in serviceability. Not so when a work is created. This becomes clear in the light of the second characteristic, which may be introduced here. The  readiness  of equipment  and the createdness of the work agree in this, that in each  case something  is produced. But in contrast  to  all other modes of production, the work is distinguished by being created so that its createdness is part of the created work. (p.62)


Poetry, Heidegger, Art, Aesthetics, Culture, Artwork, Artist, Poetry, Twentieth Century


The Origin of the Work of Art [1936], Poetry, Language, Thought, Heidegger Citations

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