The Yale Critics: Deconstruction in America (Theory and History of Literature)
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The Yale Critics was first published in 1983. Minnesota Archive Editions uses digital technology to make long-unavailable books once again accessible, and are published unaltered from the original University of Minnesota Press editions.
A heated debate has been raging in North America in recent years over the form and function of literature. At the center of the fray is a group of critics teaching at Yale University—Harold Bloom, Geoffrey Hartman, Paul de Man, and J. Hillis Miller—whose work can be described in relation to the deconstructive philosophy practiced by French philosopher Jacques Derrida. For over a decade the Yale Critics have aroused controversy; most often they are considered as a group, to be applauded or attacked, rather than as individuals whose ideas merit critical scrutiny. Here a new generation of scholars attempts for the first time a serious, broad assessment of the Yale group. These essays appraise the Yale Critics by exploring their roots, their individual careers, and the issues they introduce.
Wallace Martin's introduction offers a brilliant, compact account of the Yale Critics and of their relation to deconstruction and the deconstruction to two characteristically Anglo-American enterprises; Paul Bove explores the new criticism and Wlad Godzich the reception of Derrida in America. Next come essays giving individual attention to each of the critics: Michael Sprinker on Hartman, Donald Pease on Miller, Stanley Corngold on de Man, and Daniel O'Hara on Bloom. Two essays then illuminate "deconstruction in America" through a return to modern continental philosophy: Donald Marshall on Maurice Blanchot, and Rodolphe Gasche on Martin Heidegger. Finally, Jonathan Arac's afterword brings the volume together and projects a future beyond the Yale Critics.
Throughout, the contributors aim to provide a balanced view of a subject that has most often been treated polemically. While useful as an introduction, The Yale Critics also engages in a serious critical reflection on the uses of the humanities in American today.
contributors to this volume include some with doctoral degrees from Yale, Cornell, Harvard, but their doctoral and current institutions embrace much more of the United States: Binghamton (SUNY), Buffalo (SUNY), Illinois at Chicago, Iowa, Minnesota, Oregon State, Pittsburgh, Temple, and Toledo, as well as the traditionally elite Chicago, Columbia, Dartmouth, and Princeton. And one would immediately name Texas (Austin) and the California campuses at Los Angeles and Irvine as places where the issues
is that the adoption of the blindness and insight paradigm as descriptor of a structure and its operations does not imply a similar adoption of Derrida's entire theory of reading. This is particularly difficult to argue, let alone demonstrate, because Derrida's theory was already defined negatively, and de Man's treatment proceeds mainly by selective use of silence. These are not preciosities of style, but indications of the complexity of the matter. De Man subjects to silence the guiding
contemporary 'structuralist' thought on critical methods in humanistic and social studies," and its speakers included Barthes, Todorov, Lacan, and Derrida. In 1966 theoretical criticism was largely French, and the antagonists in critical agons were structuralism and the criticism of consciousness. The Johns Hopkins symposium attempted to domesticate the former; translations of Poulet's books and J. Hillis Miller had already introduced the latter to the American audience. In 1970 the proceedings
confuse himself with his own Zarathustra. Bloom, Poetry and Repression A poet writes always of his personal life, in his finest work out of its tragedy, whatever it be, remorse, lost love, or mere loneliness; he never speaks directly as to someone . . . there is always a phantasmagoria. . . . He is never the bundle of accident and incoherence that sits down to breakfast', he has been reborn as an idea, something intended, complete, Yeats, "A General Introduction For My Work" I Parables of the
ends with nothing left to say, so that the work ultimately becomes the speech of itself: "In the work which has disappeared, the work itself wishes to speak, and this experience becomes the quest for the essence of the work, becomes the affirmation of art, the concern for its origin" (EL, 314). Deprived of their traditional ends, suspicious of the connections, whether natural, rational, or conventional, established between their means and those ends, all the modern arts become ends and means at