Paradise & Method: Poetics and Praxis collects nearly two decades of work on poetics by one of the pioneers of the "language poetry" movement.
Addressing poetics from a poet's perspective, Andrews focuses on the ways in which meaning is produced and challenged. His essays aim "to map out opportunities for making sense (or making noise)--both in reading and writing contemporary literature. At the center has been a desire to explore language, as up close as possible, as a material and social medium for restagings of meaning and power." Andrews analyzes poetics and the production of meaning; alternative traditions and canons; and innovative contemporary poetry, particularly its break with many of the premises and constraints of even the most forward-looking modernisms.
The current academic milieu displays a deep ambivalence about the teaching of Western culture and traditional subject matter. This ambivalence, the product of a unique historical convergence of theory and diversity, opens up new opportunities for what Pamela Caughie calls "passing":recognizing and accounting for the subject positions involved in representing both the material being taught and oneself as a teacher.
Caughie's discussion of passing illuminates a recent phenomenon in academic writing and popular culture that revolves around identities and the ways in which they are deployed, both in the arts and in lived experience. Through a wide variety of texts—novels, memoirs, film, drama, theory, museum exhibits, legal cases—she demonstrates the dynamics of passing, presenting it not as the assumption of a fraudulent identity but as the recognition that the assumption of any identity, including for the purposes of teaching, is a form of passing.
Astutely addressing the relevance of passing for pedagogy, Caughie presents the possibility of a dynamic ethics responsive to the often polarizing difficulties inherent in today's culture. Challenging and thought-provoking, Passing and Pedagogy offers insight and inspiration for teachers and scholars as they seek to be responsible and effective in a complex, rapidly changing intellectual and cultural environment.
The twelve contemporary fiction writers interviewed in Passion and Craft go beyond the merely autobiographical, revealing that, despite
their differences, they share passionate devotion and discipline for their
Included are Richard Ford, winner in 1995 of both the Pulitzer Prize
and the PEN/Faulkner Award; Gina Berriault, 1997 winner of the National
Book Critics Circle Award; Bobbie Ann Mason; T. Coraghessan Boyle; Rick
Bass; Leonard Michaels; Christopher Tilghman; Thom Jones; Julia Alvarez;
Andre Dubus; Jayne Anne Phillips; and Tobias Wolff.
Their comments will interest readers devoted to their novels and stories,
other writers, and aspiring writers.
The masochist, the voyeur, the sadist, the sodomite, the fetishist, the pedophile, and the necrophiliac all expose hidden but essential elements of the social relation. Arguing that the concept of perversion, usually stigmatized, ought rather to be understood as a necessary stage in the development of all non-psychotic subjects, the essays in Perversion and the Social Relation consider the usefulness of the category of the perverse for exploring how social relations are formed, maintained, and transformed.
By focusing on perversion as a psychic structure rather than as aberrant behavior, the contributors provide an alternative to models of social interpretation based on classical Oedipal models of maturation and desire. At the same time, they critique claims that the perverse is necessarily subversive or liberating. In their lucid introduction, the editors explain that while fixation at the stage of the perverse can result in considerable suffering for the individual and others, perversion motivates social relations by providing pleasure and fulfilling the psychological need to put something in the place of the Father. The contributors draw on a variety of psychoanalytic perspectives—Freudian and Lacanian—as well as anthropology, history, literature, and film. From Slavoj Žižek's meditation on “the politics of masochism” in David Fincher's movie Fight Club through readings of works including William Styron's The Confessions of Nat Turner, Don DeLillo’s White Noise, and William Burroughs's Cities of the Red Night, the essays collected here illuminate perversion's necessary role in social relations.
Contributors. Michael P. Bibler, Dennis A. Foster, Bruce Fink, Octave Mannoni, E. L. McCallum, James Penney, Molly Anne Rothenberg, Nina Schwartz, Slavoj Žižek
Throughout his philosophical career, Eric Voegelin had much to say about literature in both his published work and his private letters. Many of his most trenchant comments regarding the analysis of literature appear in his correspondence with critic Robert Heilman, and, through his familiarity with that exchange, Charles Embry has gained extraordinary insight into Voegelin’s literary views.
The Philosopher and the Storyteller is the first book-length study of the literary dimensions of Voegelin’s philosophy—and the first to use his philosophy to read specific novels. Bringing to bear a thorough familiarity with both Voegelin and great literature, Embry shows that novels—like myths, philosophy, and religious texts—participate in the human search for the truth of existence, and that reading literature within a Voegelinian framework exposes the existential and philosophical dimensions of those works.
Embry focuses on two key elements of Voegelin’s philosophy as important for reading literature: metaxy, the in-between of human consciousness, and metalepsis, human participation in the community of being. He shows how Voegelin’s philosophy in general is rooted in literary-symbolic interpretation and, therefore, provides a foundation for the interpretation of literature. And finally he explores Voegelin’s insistence that the soundness of literary criticism lies in the consciousness of the reader.
Embry then offers Voegelinian readings that vividly illustrate the principles of this approach. First he considers Graham Swift’s Waterland as an example of the human search for meaning in the modern world, then he explores the deformation and recovery of reality in Heimito von Doderer’s long and complex novel The Demons, and finally he examines how Flannery O’Connor’s The Violent Bear It Away mythically expresses the flux of divine presence in what Voegelin calls the Time of the Tale.
The Philosopher and the Storyteller unites fiction and philosophy in the common quest to understand our nature, our world, and our cosmos. A groundbreaking exploration of the connection between Voegelin and twentieth-century literature, this book opens a new window on the philosopher’s thought and will motivate readers to study other novels in light of this approach.
Philosophy Beside Itself was first published in 1986. Minnesota Archive Editions uses digital technology to make long-unavailable books once again accessible, and are published unaltered from the original University of Minnesota Press editions.
The writings of French philosopher Jacques Derrida have been the single most powerful influence on critical theory and practice in the United States over the past decade. But with few exceptions American philosophers have taken little or no interest in Derrida's work, and the task of reception, translation, and commentary has been left to literary critics. As a result, Derrida has appeared as a figure already defined by essentially literary critical activities and interests.
Stephen Melville's aim in Philosophy Beside Itself is to insist upon and clarify the distinctions between philosophy and criticism. He argues that until we grasp Derrida's philosophical project as such, we remain fundamentally unable to see his significance for criticism. In terms derived from Stanley Cavell's writings on modernism, Melville develops a case for Derrida as a modernist philosopher, working at once within and against that tradition and discipline.
Melville first places Derrida in a Hegelian context, the structure of which he explores by examining the work of Heidegger, Lacan, and Bataille. With this foundation, he is able to reappraise the project of deconstructive criticism as developed in Paul de Man's Blindness and Insight and further articulated by other Yale critics. Central to this critique is the ambivalent relationship between deconstructive criticism and Lacanian psychoanalysis. Criticism—radical self-criticism—is a central means through which the difficult facts of human community come to recognition, and Melville argues for criticism as an activity intimately bound to the ways in which we do and do not belong in time and in community. Derrida's achievement has been to find a new and necessary way to assert that the task of philosophy is criticism; the task of literary criticism is to assume the burden of that achievement.
Stephen Melville is an assistant professor of English at Syracuse University, and Donald Marshall is a professor of English at the University of Iowa.
Plato, Derrida, and Writing
Jasper Neel Southern Illinois University Press, 1988 Library of Congress PN175.N44 1988 | Dewey Decimal 808.001
Winner, Mina P. Shaughnessy Prize
Achieving the remarkable feat of linking composition theory, deconstruction, and classical rhetoric, this book has been admirably summarized by the theorist G. Douglas Atkins, who writes: "This lively and engaging, informed and informative book constitutes an important contribution. Though its ‘field’ is most obviously composition, composition theory, and pedagogy, part of its importance derives from the way it transcends disciplinary boundaries to bear on writing in general. . . I know of no book that so fully and well discusses, and evaluates, the implications of deconstruction for composition and pedagogy. That [it] goes ‘beyond deconstruction,’ rather than merely ‘applying’ it, increases its importance and signals a clear contribution to the understanding of writing."
Jasper Neel analyzes the emerging field of composition studies within the epistemological and ontological debate over writing precipitated by Plato, who would have us abandon writing entirely, and continued by Derrida, who argues that all human beings are written. This book offers a three-part exploration of that debate. In the first part, a deconstructive reading of Plato’s Phaedrus, Neel shows the elaborate sleight-of-hand that Plato must employ as he uses writing to engage in a semblance of spoken dialogue.
The second part describes Derrida’s theory of writing and presents his famous argument that "the history of truth, of the truth of truth, has always been. . .the debasement of writing, and its repression outside full speech." A lexicon of nine Derridean terms, the key to his theory of writing, is also included. At the end of this section, Neel turns deconstruction against itself, demonstrating that Derridean analysis collapses of its own weight.
The concluding section of the book juxtaposes the implications of Platonic and Derridean views of writing, warning that Derrida’s approach may lock writing inside philosophy. The conclusion suggests that writing may be liberated from philosophical judgment by turning to Derrida’s predecessors, the sophists, particularly Protagoras and Gorgias. Drawing on Protagoras’s idea of strong discourse, Neel shows that sophistry is the foundation of democracy: "Strong discourse is public discourse, which, though based on probability and not truth, remains persuasive over a long period of time to a great number of people. This publicly tested discourse exists only among competitors, never alone, but its ability to remain persuasive even when surrounded by other discourses enables the ideas of democracy to emerge and then keeps democracy alive."
Edgar Allan Poe’s reputation as an enduring and influential American literary critic rests mainly upon the pieces in this edition. Editors Stuart Levine and Susan F. Levine provide reading texts, detailed explanatory footnotes, variant readings, and introductions to show context. They also face frankly the contradictions in Poe’s critical dicta. Poetry is for pleasure, not truth, Poe says, but argues that poetic inspiration leads to truth. Great works, Poe says, result from studied calculation, but also from irrational, supernal sources. Both biting critic and doughty defender of American artistic achievement, Poe was contemptuous of democratic art, except when he manned the barricades in its defense. Critical Theory highlights such conflicting ideas and suggests why they are present.
This edition shows that what is consistent in Poe is not any single theory. Rather, always present are wit, playfulness, concern for the strong effect, a bin of recyclable allusions, anecdotes and quotations, and a writer’s discipline. His writing on theory is of a piece with his fiction, poetry, and journalism. The Levines explain how these pieces also tie in tightly to the social, political, economic, and technological history of the world in which Poe lived.
Poetics and Praxis ‘After’ Objectivismexamines late twentieth-and early twenty-first-century poetics and praxis within and against the dynamic, disparate legacy of Objectivism and the Objectivists. This is the first volume in the field to investigate the continuing relevance of the Objectivist ethos to poetic praxis in our time. The book argues for a reconfiguration of Objectivism, adding contingency to its historical values of sincerity and objectification, within the context of the movement’s development and disjunctions from 1931 to the present.
Essays and conversations from emerging and established poets and scholars engage a network of communities in the U.S., Canada, and the U.K., shaped by contemporaneous oppositions as well as genealogical (albeit discontinuous) historicisms. This book articulates Objectivism as an inclusively local, international, and interdisciplinary ethos, and reclaims Objectivist poetics and praxis as modalities for contemporary writers concerned with radical integrations of aesthetics, lyric subjectivities, contingent disruption, historical materialism, and social activism. The chapter authors and roundtable contributors reexamine foundational notions about Objectivism—who the Objectivists were and are, what Objectivism has been, now is, and what it might become—delivering critiques of aesthetics and politics; of race, class, and gender; and of the literary and cultural history of the movement’s development and disjunctions from 1931 to the present.
Contributors: Rae Armantrout, Julie Carr, Amy De’Ath, Jeff Derksen, Rachel Blau DuPlessis, Graham Foust, Alan Golding, Jeanne Heuving, Ruth Jennison, David Lau, Steve McCaffery, Mark McMorris, Chris Nealon, Jenny Penberthy, Robert Sheppard
The fourteen essays that make up this collection have as their common theme a reconsideration of the role historical and cultural change has played in the evolution of twentieth-century poetry and poetics. Committed to the notion that, in John Ashbery's words, "You can't say it that way anymore," Poetry On & Off the Page describes the formations and transformations of literary and artistic discourses, and traces these discourses as they have evolved in their dialogue with history, culture, and society. The volume is testimony to the important role that contemporary artistic practice will continue to play as we move into the twenty-first century.
"Poetry, Symbol, and Allegory offers an elegantly written and bracingly wide-ranging introduction to a crucial strand of the history of literary interpretation. Brittan has written a book that we need."--Adam Parkes, University of Georgia
Dealing with poetry is frequently problematic for the university teacher and student: although undergraduates are usually responsive to discussions about drama and prose, poetry often silences the classroom. Unless a poem provides references easily applicable to their own lives, many students feel they can't relate to the piece and are stymied. In particular, allegorical poetry produces tensions among the desire to find the meanings of the poet's symbolism, the fear of voicing a "wrong" interpretation, and a natural objection to perceived restrictions on interpretive freedom.
Poetry, Symbol, and Allegory eases that dilemma by providing a historical overview of theories of interpretation as they apply to symbol and allegory in poetry, thereby reclaiming valuable and useful methods of analyzing poems. Beginning with Plato and Aristotle, Simon Brittan moves from classical theory to the lesser-known medieval exegetical theories of such notables as Augustine, Aquinas, and Origen; addresses theory pertaining to Renaissance Italy and Dante, English theory of the Middle Ages, the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries, and the Romantic period; and concludes by weighing the poetry of T. E. Hulme, T. S. Eliot, and Ezra Pound on the larger historical scale of literary theory. By acknowledging interpretive theories of the past, Brittan provides a proper historical frame of reference in which today's student can better understand figurative language in poetry.
Simon Brittan is an independent scholar who divides his time between England and Michigan. He has taught at the University of East Anglia and in the Department for Continuing Education at the University of Oxford and written for Renaissance Forum, the Times Literary Supplement, and Gravesiana.
Poets On Place
W. T. Pfefferle Utah State University Press, 2005 Library of Congress PS325.P634 2005 | Dewey Decimal 811.540932
Out to see America and satisfy his travel bug, W. T. Pfefferle resigned from his position as director of the writing program at Johns Hopkins University and hit the road to interview sixty-two poets about the significance of place in their work. The lively conversations that resulted may surprise with the potential meanings of a seemingly simple concept. This gathering of voices and ideas is illustrated with photo and word portraits from the road and represented with suitable poems.
The poets are James Harms, David Citino, Martha Collins, Linda Gregerson, Richard Tillinghast, Orlando Ricardo Menes, Mark Strand, Karen Volkman, Lisa Samuels, Marvin Bell, Michael Dennis Browne, David Allan Evans, David Romtvedt, Sandra Alcosser, Robert Wrigley, Nance Van Winckel, Christopher Howell, Mark Halperin, Jana Harris, Sam Hamill, Barbara Drake, Floyd Skloot, Ralph Angel, Carol Muske-Dukes, David St. John, Sharon Bryan, Donald Revell, Claudia Keelan, Alberto Rios, Richard Shelton, Jane Miller, William Wenthe, Naomi Shihab Nye, Peter Cooley, Miller Williams, Beth Ann Fennelly, Natasha Trethewey, Denise Duhamel, Campbell McGrath, Terrance Hayes, Alan Shapiro, Nikki Giovanni, Charles Wright, Rita Dove, Henry Taylor, Dave Smith, Nicole Cooley, David Lehman, Lucie Brock-Broido, Michael S. Harper, C. D. Wright, Mark Wunderlich, James Cummins, Frederick Smock, Mark Jarman, Carl Phillips, Scott Cairns, Elizabeth Dodd, Jonathan Holden, Bin Ramke, Kenneth Brewer, and Paisley Rekdal.
Among students and aficionados of contemporary literature, the work of Latina and Latino poets holds a particular fascination. Through works imbued with fire and passion, these writers have kindled new enthusiasm in their compatriots and admiration in non-Latino readers. This book brings together recent interviews with fifteen Latino/a poets, a cross-section of Chicano, Puerto Rican, and Cuban voices who discuss not only their work but also related issues that help define their place in American literature. Each talks at length about the craft of his or her poetry—both the influences and the process behind it—and takes a stand on social and political issues affecting Latinos across the United States.
The interviews feature both established writers published as early as the 1960s and emerging artists, each of whom has enjoyed success in other literary forms also. As Bruce Dick's insightful questions reveal, the key threads linking these writers are their connections to their families and communities and their concern for civil rights—believing like Chicana writer Pat Mora that "the work of the poet is for the people." The interviews also reveal diversity among and within the three communities, from Victor Hernández Cruz, who traces Latino collective identity to Africa and claims that all Latinos are "swimming in olive oil," to Cuban writer Gustavo Perez Firmat, who considers nationality more important than ethnicity and says that "the term Latino erases [his] nationality."
The dialogues also offer new insights on the place of Chicano/a writings in the U.S.-Mexico borderlands, on the Puerto Rican/Nuyorican establishment, and on the anti-Castro stand of Cuban-born poets. As these writers answer questions about their work, background, ethnic identity, and political ideology, they provide a wealth of biographical, intellectual, and literary material collected here for the first time. A Poet's Truth is a provocative and revealing book that not only conveys the fire of these writers' passions but also sheds important light on a whole literary movement.
Sandra María Esteves
Victor Hernández Cruz
Carolina Hospital and Carlos Medina
Judith Ortiz Cofer
Gustavo Pérez Firmat
Benjamin Alire Sáenz
Postmodernism and Politics
Jonathon Arac University of Minnesota Press, 1986 Library of Congress PN98.P64P67 1986 | Dewey Decimal 801.950904
In eight essays, the contributors reach out to explore cinema and photography, psychology and ethics, social theory and economic reform. Taken together, the essays provide fresh perspectives on the problem of representation in many areas, from the constitution of the individual subject, through the status of the image, to the formation and transmission of social and moral knowledge.
The contributors: Paul A. Bove, Mary Louise Pratt, Dana Polan, Andrew Parker, Rainer Nagele, John Higgins, Cornel West, and Bruce Robbins.
Jonathan Arac is a Professor in the Graduate Program in Literature at Duke University and coeditor of The Yale Critics: Deconstruction in America (1983).
Marked by a rigorously close textual reading, detached from
biographical or other extratextual material, New Criticism was the
dominant literary theory of the mid-twentieth century. Since that
time, schools of literary criticism have arisen in support of or in opposition to
the approach advocated by the New Critics. Nonetheless, the theory remains
one of the most important sources for groundbreaking criticism and continues
to be a controversial approach to reading literature. Praising It New is the first anthology of New Criticism to be printed in fifty
years. It includes important essays by such influential poets and critics as
T. S. Eliot, Ezra Pound, John Crowe Ransom, Allen Tate, Yvor Winters,
Cleanth Brooks, R. P. Blackmur, W. K. Wimsatt, and Robert Penn Warren.
Together, these authors ushered in the modernist age of poetry and criticism
and transformed the teaching of literature in the schools. As the American
poet and critic Randall Jarrell once noted: “I do not believe there has been another
age in which so much extraordinarily good criticism of poetry has
This anthology now makes much of the best American poetry criticism available
again, and includes short biographies and selected bibliographies of its
chief figures. Praising It New is the perfect introduction for students to the
best American poetry criticism of the twentieth century.
The Price of Literature examines the presence of theory in the nineteenth-century French novel, something Proust likened to leaving a price tag on a gift. Emerging after the French Revolution, what we now call literature was conceived as an art liberated from representational constraints. Patrick M. Bray shows how literature’s freedom to represent anything at all has meant, paradoxically, that it cannot articulate a coherent theory of itself—unless this theory is a necessarily subversive literary representation, or “the novel’s theoretical turn.”
Literary thought, or the theory produced by the text, can only function by exploring what escapes dominant representations. The Price of Literature analyzes how certain iconic texts from the nineteenth century (by Mme de Staël, Hugo, Balzac, Flaubert, and Proust) perform a theoretical turn to claim the freedom to represent anything in the world, but also literature’s ability to transform the world it represents. The conclusion advances a new way of thinking about literary scholarship—one based on how literature redistributes ways of writing by lending form to thought.
Prior to Meaning collects a decade of writing on poetry, language, and the theory of writing by one of the most innovative and conceptually challenging poets of the last twenty-five years. In essays that are wide ranging, richly detailed, and novel in their surprising juxtapositions of disparate material, Steve McCaffery works to undo the current bifurcation between theory and practice--to show how a poetic text might be the source rather than the product of the theoretical against which it must be read.
From the white editorial authentication of slave narratives, to the cultural hybridity of the Harlem Renaissance, to the overtly independent publications of the Black Arts Movement, to the commercial power of Oprah's Book Club, African American textuality has been uniquely shaped by the contests for cultural power inherent in literary production and distribution. Always haunted by the commodification of blackness, African American literary production interfaces with the processes of publication and distribution in particularly charged ways. An energetic exploration of the struggles and complexities of African American print culture, this collection ranges across the history of African American literature, and the authors have much to contribute on such issues as editorial and archival preservation, canonization, and the "packaging" and repackaging of black-authored texts. Publishing Blackness aims to project African Americanist scholarship into the discourse of textual scholarship, provoking further work in a vital area of literary study.