Download e-book for iPad: After the New Criticism by Frank Lentricchia

By Frank Lentricchia

ISBN-10: 0226471985

ISBN-13: 9780226471983

This paintings is the 1st background and overview of latest American severe conception inside of its eu philosophical contexts. within the first half, Frank Lentricchia analyzes the effect on our severe considered Frye, Stevens, Kermode, Sartre, Poulet, Heidegger, Sussure, Barthes, Lévi-Strauss, Derrida, and Foucault, between different, much less imperative figures. In a moment half, Lentricchia turns to 4 exemplary theorists at the American scene—Murray Krieger, E. D. Hirsch, Jr., Paul de guy, and Harold Bloom—and an research in their careers in the lineage verified partially one.

Lentricchia's serious goal is in facts in his sustained assault at the kind of hidden formalist premises inherited from the recent severe fathers. Even within the identify of ancient recognition, he contends, modern theorists have frequently lower literature off from social and temporal methods. by way of so doing he believes that they've disadvantaged literature of its appropriate values and grew to become the instructing of either literature and conception right into a rarefied task. All alongside the way in which, with assistance from such varied thinkers as Saussure, Barthes, Foucault, Derrida, and Bloom, Lentricchia exhibits a method wherein destiny serious theorists may well withstand the mandarin attitudes in their fathers.

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The latter as "forms," because they find adequate "content" in the sensuous manifold, yield the cognitive shapes of experience; the former, as forms of pure reason ("rational ideas") which cannot be satisfied in time, and cannot be adequately filled out with the sensuous data of "intuition," point beyond the limits of experience and are, from these perspectives, "fictions" in the sense that they produce no cognition of the phenomenal world.

This "stepping outside" occurs in an act of self-consciousness, in which mythic structures are taken apart-presumably by the myth-maker 37 Versions of Existentialism himself, in the very process of myth-making-and shown to be fictions. The self-conscious myth-maker is a fictionalist capable of writing King Lear, while the unself-conscious myth-maker is a moral degenerate capable of a violent anti-Semitism. Kermode puts it this way: We have to distinguish between myths and fictions. Fictions can degenerate into myth whenever they are not consciously held to be fictive.

However much we may need and value them, fictions will never quite be respectable unless they do what in their very nature they cannot and must not do: give us some sort of mimetic access to the real. Kermode's difficulties with fictions are not peculiarly his, but are endemic to his tradition. Nor is he unaware of these difficulties: when he reminds us of the "operational validity" of the gas chambers he underscores dramatically the dangers of the pragmatist's solution to the question of truth.

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After the New Criticism by Frank Lentricchia


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