Sometime in the early 1970s, Frank Lentricchia writes in After the New Criticism, ‘we awoke from the dogmatic slumber of our phenomenological sleep to find that a new presence had taken absolute hold over our avant-garde critical imagination: Jacques Derrida.’ 1 It is probably no exaggeration to claim that with the arrival of recent French critical thought on the American intellectual scene, for which the name of Derrida serves as the privileged emblem, the phenomenon which Fredric Jameson often refers to as the ‘theoretical marketplace’ began to take proper shape. During the 1970s, the ground was thus prepared for a radically new kind of critical awareness. Concepts like ‘meaning’, ‘totality’, ‘truth’ were problematized; even the concepts of ‘interpretation’ and ‘history’ became, it would seem, outmoded, at least as positive entities. As we know, the 1980s were to see a booming interest in critical theory, in particular within the field of academic literary criticism and scholarship. For two decades now, the publishing market has managed to produce, perhaps paradoxically, an over-whelming number of works considering various aspects of the so-called crisis of interpretation, and continues to do so. The student of literature is thus faced with an abundant number of theoretical options, all the way from New Criticism, myth criticism, structuralism, poststructuralism, deconstruction, psychoanalysis, feminism, Marxism, to the New Historicism—not to mention the numerous
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Publication information: Book title: Redirections in Critical Theory:Truth, Self, Action, History. Contributors: Bernard McGuirk - Editor. Publisher: Routledge. Place of publication: New York. Publication year: 1994. Page number: 197.
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