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Other titles in the Cultural Memory in the Present series:
The Literary in Theory (Cultural Memory of the Present)by Jonathan Culler
Synopses & Reviews
Has theory neglected literature? Often literary and cultural theory, which goes by the nickname “Theory,” has seemed to be the theory of everything except literature: theory of language, of sexuality, of history, of the body, of the psyche, of meaning (or meaninglessness), of politics, but not theory of literature.
In this timely and wide-ranging book, Jonathan Culler, whose lucid analyses of structuralism, semiotics, and deconstruction have been prized by generations of readers, explores the place of the literary in theory. If theory has sometimes neglected literature, the literary has, Culler argues, retained a crucial if misunderstood role. Cullers account of the fortunes of the literary in theory, of the resistance to theory, and of key theoretical concepts—text, sign, interpretation, performative, and omniscience—provides valuable insight into todays theoretical debates; and his analysis of various disciplinary practices explores the possibilities of theory for the present and the future.
Book News Annotation:
Literary critic Culler (English and comparative literature, Cornell U.) argues that not only is literary theory alive and well, despite its many obituaries, but that such theory need not eclipse literature itself, as many critics have claimed. He brings theory to literature, and brings out the literary in theory. The two are not quarreling, he says, and do not need to be separated. Annotation ©2007 Book News, Inc., Portland, OR (booknews.com)
This work explores the role of the literary in theory, with wide-ranging analysis of key concepts and disciplinary practices.
“The Literary in Theory takes up questions that have been basic to the enterprise known as ‘theory with a fine mix of historical awareness, lively critical sense, and thoughtful advocacy. Cullers vision of literary studies is inclusive and cumulative: it reminds us that ‘learning is both a noun and a verb, both a result and a process. Is theory dead? This book shows that it has a pulse and a sense of humor.”—Haun Saussy, Yale University
About the Author
Jonathan Culler is the Class of 1916 Professor of English and Comparative Literature at Cornell University and one of the most influential literary critics in North America. His works include Flaubert: The Uses of Uncertainty (1974), and Literary Theory: A Very Short Introduction (1997). He also co-edited Just Being Difficult? Academic Writing in the Public Arena (Stanford University Press, 2003).
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