The Open Boundary of History and Fiction: A Critical Approach to the French Enlightenment


Feb 19, 2019
6.14 x 9.21 in.
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Challenging the view that a critical sense of history is missing from the Enlightenment, Suzanne Gearhart links the works of Voltaire, Montesquieu, Diderot, and Rosseau with the inquiry into the boundary between literature and history in contemporary critical discourse. She considers the theories of Levi-Strauss, Foucault, Althusser, Genette, White, de Man, and Derrida in order to develop a critical approach to fiction and history and to reveal that investigations into the fo undations of historical knowledge, and specifically into what distinguishes hsitory from fiction, were central to the Enlightenment.
This book questions many assumptions basic to contemporary criticism by establishing a dialogue between major theorists and Enlightenment figures. It challenges certitudes of fiction and literature by examining the historicity of language, form, and literature itself, redefining history to show its crucial relevance to literary studies and opening historiography to the insights of literary theory.
Suzanne Gearhart is Associate Professor of Literature at the University of California, San Diego.

Originally published in 1984.

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