The Emperor Redressed: Critiquing Critical Theory

By Dwight Eddins | Go to book overview

THE CURRENT POLARIZATION OF LITERARY STUDIES

RICHARD LEVIN

THE INCREASING POLARIZATION of literary studies over the past decade has created a situation that is unique in the history of our discipline. This of course is not the first time that we have been polarized. There was another major conflict some fifty years ago between the old historical scholars and what were then called the New Critics; but it differed from the present conflict in two very important respects. Although it obviously involved departmental politics, this had no direct connection to politics outside the academy. The New Critics were radical insurgents within their departments, but some of the early ones were politically conservative, and in its heyday the movement covered virtually the entire political spectrum. In the present conflict, however, the two sides are clearly connected to external politics, which is why they are usually called the Right and the Left. I am not happy with these labels because they contribute to the polarization by conflating a number of different critical approaches at the two political poles, as I will point out later, but I am going to use them since I cannot think of better ones.

The second important difference, which is a result of this political connection, involves the power situation. In the earlier conflict that situation was perfectly clear--the old historicists had the power and were gradually losing it to the New Critics. But in the present conflict a major argument centers on the question of who has the power. Each side sees itself as the underdog oppressed by the other side, which really has all the power, even though it claims that it is the oppressed underdog. This is as if each side were crying out, "Help, the paranoids are after us!" I think that both sides are sincere about this,1 and that they are both correct, depending on how we contextualize the conflict. In the context of the national political scene, the Left is correct: the right-wing critics have the big money behind them, which is used to finance several institutes and journals; they have the support of the Bush administration; and they have most of the public press on their side in the attack on political correctness (PC). (I should explain that I will not be mentioning PC here, except to mention that

-62-

Notes for this page

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
One moment ...
Default project is now your active project.
Project items
Notes
Cite this page

Cited page

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Buy instant access to cite pages or passages in MLA 8, MLA 7, APA and Chicago citation styles.

(Einhorn, 1992, p. 25)

(Einhorn 25)

(Einhorn 25)

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Note: primary sources have slightly different requirements for citation. Please see these guidelines for more information.

Cited page

Bookmark this page
The Emperor Redressed: Critiquing Critical Theory
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page iii
  • Contents v
  • Acknowledgments vii
  • Introduction 1
  • What is a Humanistic Criticism? 13
  • Notes 38
  • The End Of The Poststructuralist Era 45
  • The Current Polarization Of Literary Studies 62
  • Notes 77
  • Time and the Intelligentsia - A Patchwork in Nine Parts, with Loopholes 81
  • Notes 99
  • The Agony of Feminism - Why Feminist Theory is Necessary After All 101
  • Works Cited 116
  • Confessions of a Reluctant Critic Or, the Resistance to Literature 118
  • Deconstruction After the Fall 132
  • Notes 147
  • The Poetic Fallacy 150
  • Works Cited 165
  • Literary Theory And Its Discontents 166
  • Notes 198
  • Panel Discussion 199
  • Contributors 221
  • Index 223
Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger Reset View mode
Search within

Search within this book

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

Help
Full screen
Items saved from this book
  • Bookmarks
  • Highlights & Notes
  • Citations
/ 232

matching results for page

    Questia reader help

    How to highlight and cite specific passages

    1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
    2. Click or tap the last word you want to select, and you’ll see everything in between get selected.
    3. You’ll then get a menu of options like creating a highlight or a citation from that passage of text.

    OK, got it!

    Cited passage

    Style
    Citations are available only to our active members.
    Buy instant access to cite pages or passages in MLA 8, MLA 7, APA and Chicago citation styles.

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn, 1992, p. 25).

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences."1

    1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

    Cited passage

    Thanks for trying Questia!

    Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

    Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

    Buy instant access to save your work.

    Already a member? Log in now.

    Search by... Author
    Show... All Results Primary Sources Peer-reviewed

    Oops!

    An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.