Modern European Criticism and Theory: A Critical Guide

Modern European Criticism and Theory: A Critical Guide

Modern European Criticism and Theory: A Critical Guide

Modern European Criticism and Theory: A Critical Guide

Synopsis

Modern European Criticism and Theory offers the reader a comprehensive critical overview of the widespread and profound contest of ideas within European 'theory'. The book focuses primarily on the thought of major voices in poetics, philosophy, linguistics, and psychoanalysis, as well as in literary and cultural studies from the Enlightenment to the present day. Examining how conceptions of subjectivity, identity and gender have been questioned, the more than 50 essays written by acknowledged experts in their fields critically assess the ways in which we think, see, and act in the world, as well as the ways in which we represent such thought psychologically, politically, and culturally. A further reading list accompanies each chapter. Key Features
• Breadth of coverage from Descartes and Spinoza to Derrida, Lyotard and Zizek; from Phenomenology to French Feminisms and Psychoanalytic Literary Criticism.
• Focus on the history of modern criticism.
• Accessibly written.
• Theoretical debates are set in full historical, cultural and philosophical contexts.

Excerpt

Modern European Criticism and Theory offers the reader a comprehensive critical overview of the widespread and profound contest of ideas within European 'thought', focusing primarily on the major voices in poetics, philosophy, linguistics and psychoanalysis, as well as those in what have become in the twentieth century literary and cultural studies from the Enlightenment to the present day. Examining how conceptions of subjectivity, identity and gender have been interrogated, over fifty essays critically assess the ways in which we think, see and act in the world, as well as the ways in which we represent such thought psychologically, politically, and philosophically and culturally.

Focusing on a broad range of singular critical voices, and to a great degree attending to the major conceptual interrogations, reorientations and, subsequently, movements and transitions in thought that have taken place as a result of the irreversible effects occasioned by those particular voices, the present volume offers successive narratives of transformation and translation. Charting various radical interventions in thinking concerning fundamental philosophical, political and poetic issues related to matters of being, meaning and identity, the essays provide themselves an intervention in and a continuation of that radical tradition. The narrative that unfolds from the essays of this volume and their interwoven yet discontinuous threads amounts to the unravelling of a cultural, historical and epistemological tapestry by which the most fundamental matters of ontology and the poetics and politics of being have come to be perceived. Whether presenting itself in terms that are primarily linguistic, psychoanalytic, political or philosophical, the historical narrative of critical discourse in and across Europe and its subsequent translation into the practices and discourses of modern criticism and theory, so-called, reveals itself here as one of continuous upheavals, shifts and processes of decentring contest. What is at stake in such contest, tension and conflict are the very grounds of thinking about thinking, in historically and culturally grounded and material ways concerning how the human subject can speak of its specificity, its experience and its singular encounters with all that inform and articulate its subjectivity.

While foregrounding the practice and theory of literary and cultural criticism in many of its historically specific guises, the present volume also provides extensive critical coverage of the related contextual discourses that inform those issues, and out of which criticism has developed in the guises that it now assumes. What the reader will therefore come to understand is that criticism cannot be thought separately from the many forms and traditions of thought, whether scientific or poetic, political or rhetorical, semantic or epistemological, which have been sustained in so diverse and fruitful a fashion as this . . .

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