Eugene Goodheart examines the skeptic disposition that has informed advanced literary discourse over the past generation, arguing that the targets of deconstructive suspicion are fundamental humanistic values. "[This book] is a fair-minded, generous critique of the deconstructionist theories of Jacques Derrida, Paul de Man, and their followers. These writers have argued that language is so inherently slippery it can never express a speaker's intended meaning. The critic's role, in their view, is to explore the contradictions, subtexts, and metaphorical byways of works that may be most radically deceptive when they appear simple. Critics have castigated this language-centered skepticism as a form of nihilism geared to multiply numbingly similar readings of already familiar texts. Mr. Goodheart's objection is more subtle. He suggests that the philosophical orientation of deconstructive critics leads them to overemphasize the tricky propositional sense of words at the expense of the broader impact of literature--its power to wound, thrill, or transform us."--Morris Dickstein, The New York Times Book Review
Originally published in 1991.
The Princeton Legacy Library uses the latest print-on-demand technology to again make available previously out-of-print books from the distinguished backlist of Princeton University Press. These editions preserve the original texts of these important books while presenting them in durable paperback and hardcover editions. The goal of the Princeton Legacy Library is to vastly increase access to the rich scholarly heritage found in the thousands of books published by Princeton University Press since its founding in 1905.
Table of Contents
Another Princeton book authored or coauthored by Eugene Goodheart: