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Theory′s Empire - An Anthology of Dissent


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Table of Contents

Part I. Theory Rising Introduction 1. Theory, What Theory?, by Valentine Cunningham 2. Destroying Literary Studies, by Rene Wellek 3. Traveling Through American Criticism, by Tzvetan Todorov 4. The Rise and Fall of "Practical Criticism": From I. A. Richards to Barthes and Derrida, by Morris Dickstein 5. The Power and Limits of Literary Theory, by Richard Freadman and Seumas Miller 6. Is Theory to Blame?, by John M. Ellis 7. Theory, Theories, and Principles, by Denis Donoghue Part II. Linguistic Turns Introduction 8. The Linguistic Unconscious: Saussure and the Post-Saussureans, by Raymond Tallis 9. Literary Theory and Its Discontents, by John R. Searle 10. The Quandaries of the Referent, by Vincent Descombes 11. The Great Dichotomy, by Wendell V. Harris 12. The Deconstructive Angel, by M. H. Abrams Part III. Empire Building Introduction 13. The Grand Academy of Theory, by Frederick Crews 14. Theorrhea and Kulturkritik, by J. G. Merquior 15. Masters and Demons, by Brian Vickers 16. The Debate Over the Wartime Writings of Paul de Man: The Language of Setting the Record Straight, by Alan B. Spitzer 17. Presentism: Postmodernism, Poststructuralism, Postcolonialism, by Graham Good 18. Preface for a Post-Postcolonial Criticism, by Erin O'Connor Part IV. Theory as a Profession Introduction 19. Author! Author! Reconstructing Roland Barthes, by Clara Claiborne Park 20. The French Intellectual Habitus and Literary Culture, by Niilo Kauppi 21. Social Constructionism: Philosophy for the Academic Workplace, by Mark Bauerlein 22. Bad Writing, by D. G. Myers 23. Everyman an 'bermensch: The Culture of Cultural Studies, by Stephen Adam Schwartz 24. The End of Theory, the Rise of the Profession: A Rant in Search of Responses, by Geoffrey Galt Harpham Part V. Identities Introduction 25. The Cant of Identity, by Todd Gitlin 26. The Gender Fallacy, by William C. Dowling 27. Feminism's Perverse Effects, by Elaine Marks 28. Queer Theory, Literature, and the Sexualization of Everything: The Gay Science, by Lee Siegel 29. Battle of the Bien-Pensant, by K. Anthony Appiah Part VI. Theory as Surrogate Politics Introduction 30. Oppositional Opposition, by Harold Fromm 31. Silence Is Consent, or Curse Ye Meroz!, by Richard Levin 32. Criticism as Displacement, by Jeffrey Wallen 33. Thick Aestheticism and Thin Nativism, by Russell Jacoby 34. Casualties of the Culture Wars, by Eugene Goodheart Part VII. Restoring Reason Introduction 35. Rationality/Science, by Noam Chomsky 36. The Furor Over Impostures Intellectuelles: What Is All the Fuss About?, by Jean Bricmont and Alan Sokal 37. The Sleep of Reason, by Thomas Nagel 38. Staying for an Answer: The Untidy Process of Groping for Truth, by Susan Haack 39. What Is Social Construction?, by Paul A. Boghossian 40. Postcolonial Science Studies: Ending "Epistemic Violence", by Meera Nanda Part VIII. Still Reading After All These Theories... Introduction 41. Literature and Theory: Notes on the Research Programs of the 1980s, by David Bromwich 42. Changing Epochs, by Frank Kermode 43. Making Knowledge: Bioepistemology and the Foundations of Literary Theory, by Nancy Easterlin 44. Literature and Fiction, by Peter Lamarque and Stein Haugom Olsen 45. Literary Aesthetics and the Aims of Criticism, by Paisley Livingston 46. Crisis in the Humanities? Reconfiguring Literary Study for the Twenty-first Century, by Marjorie Perloff Coda Introduction 47. A Hippocratic Oath for the Pluralist, by Wayne C. Booth

Promotional Information

This iconoclastic collection is an excellent companion to current anthologies of literary theory, which have embraced an uncritical stance toward Theory and its practitioners. Written by nearly fifty prominent scholars, the essays in Theory's Empire question the ideas, catchphrases, and excesses that have let Theory congeal into a predictable orthodoxy. More than just a critique, however, this collection provides readers with effective tools to redeem the study of literature, restore reason to our intellectual life, and redefine the role and place of Theory in the academy.

Promotional Information

Theory's Empiregathers together the work of many scholars and critics into a multi-faceted but coherent defense of literature, and of the many intellectual and temperamental habits that must accompany that defense-a belief in judgment and in literature's moral significance, and, most happily of all, a proud assertion of the love that dare not speak its name in university literature courses, the love of art. One hopes that future generations of students, wondering why they should study literature in the first place, will take strength from this volume. -- David Denby, author of Great Books: My Adventures with Homer, Rousseau, Woolf, and Other Indestructible Writers of the Western World Theory's Empire is a magnificent collection of essays that returns sanity and rationality to literary criticism, rescuing it from the esotericism, jargon and delusions under which it had been buried by the "theorizers." An indispensable book for lovers of genuine literature and criticism! -- Mario Vargas Llosa, author of The Way to Paradise

About the Author

Daphne Patai is professor of Brazilian literature and literary theory at the University of Massachusetts, Amherst. Her most recent book is Professing Feminism: Education and Indoctrination in Women's Studies, Revised Edition (with Noretta Koertge).; Will H. Corral teaches Spanish American literature and culture at California State University, Sacramento. He is the author or editor of several books in Spanish, most recently, El error del acierto (contra ciertos dogmas latinoamericanistas).


"This is a splendid anthology that evaluates, puts into perspective and thoughtfully criticizes contemporary literary and cultural theory. A welcome alternative to dogmatic thought, this book is designed to generate a lively debate. A must for every serious student of literature and culture." -- Thomas Pavel, University of Chicago, author of The Spell of Language: Poststructuralism and Speculation "Patai and Corral's Theory's Empire represents the invigorating leading edge of a new diversity of thought in the academy, the vision of a healthy skeptical approach to what has become theoretical orthodoxy and dogmatism." -- Jon Erickson, Ohio State University, author of The Fate of the Object: From Modern Object to Postmodern Sign "Superb introductions, guaranteed to stir every reader dejected by deconstruction." -- Library Journal " "Clearly, this is not your father's textbook; it's closer to The Norton Anthology of Screw-the Academy" -- Michael Potemra, National Review "A sign that things may be changing...its 47 contributors patiently dissect all aspects of theory. " -- James Seaton, Wall Street Journal " Theory's Empire is important because it shows that the opposition to theory is not just the preserve of intellectual lightweights." -- William Pannapacker, Chronicle of Higher Education "This is a valuable book for scholars and for those encountering literary theory for the first time... Recommended." -- Choice " Theory's Empire is a unique documentation of an intellectual deformation that still affects the way literature is studied." -- Brian Vickers, A 2005 Book of the Year, Times Literary Supplement "Patai and Corral waste no time and pull no punches." -- Michael Berube, Common Review " Theory's Empire offers a powerful retrospective on the rise of "Theory" in the American academy." -- Sara Castro-Klaren, Modern Language Notes

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