This Reader collects in a single volume some of the most influential essays written by Barbara Johnson over the course of her thirty-year career as a pioneering literary theorist and cultural critic. Johnson achieved renown early in her career, both as a brilliant student of the Yale School of literary criticism and as the translator of Jacques Derrida's Dissemination. She went on to lead the way in extending the insights of structuralism and poststructuralism into newly emerging fields now central to literary studies, fields such as gender studies, African American studies, queer theory, and law and literature. Stunning models of critical reading and writing, her essays cultivate rigorous questioning of universalizing assumptions, respect for otherness and difference, and an appreciation of ambiguity.
Along with the classic essays that established her place in literary scholarship, this Reader makes available a selection of Johnson's later essays, brilliantly lucid and politically trenchant works exploring multilingualism and translation, materiality, ethics, subjectivity, and sexuality. The Barbara Johnson Reader offers a historical guide through the metamorphoses and tumultuous debates that have defined literary study in recent decades, as viewed by one of critical theory's most astute thinkers.