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Class 15 Notes

Page history last edited by Alan Liu 10 years, 5 months ago


Preliminary Class Business



Finishing up From Last Class:


Sassurean Sign as Imagined by Derrida


    • Contrast Lévi-Strauss:
Levi-Strauss, Totemic Operator 


1. Deconstruction in the U.S.

 Rough Map of Modern Literary Theory


Geoffrey Hartman, from "Preface" to Deconstruction and Criticism (by Harold Bloom, Paul de Man, Jacques Derrida, Geoffrey Hartman, J. Hillis Miller) (1979), pp. vii-viii:


Deconstruction & Criticism book cover

"Deconstruction, as it has come to be called, refuses to identify the force of literature with any concept of embodied meaning and shows how deeply such logocentric or incarnationist perspectives have influenced the way we think about art.  We assume that, by the miracle of art, the 'presence of the word' is equivalent to the presence of meaning.  But the opposite can also be urged, that the word carries with it a certain absence or indeterminacy of meaning.  Literary language foregrounds language itself as something not reducible to meaning: it opens as well as closes the disparity between symbol and idea, between written sign and assigned meaning.

         Deconstructive reading does not present itself as a novel enterprise.  There is, perhaps, more of a relentless focus on certain questions, and a new rigor when it comes to the discipline of close reading."


  • Jacques Derrida, Paul de Man, J. Hillis Miller (with Geoffrey Hartman): "The Yale School" of critics 
Jacques DerridaJacques Derrida
(at Yale)
Paul de ManPaul de Man

J. Hillis Miller
J. Hillis Miller

Geoffrey HartmanGeoffrey Hartman



2. Paul de Man's "Shelley Disfigured" Essay



    • prosopopoeia: fr. Gk. prosopon, mask, fr. pros + ops, in front of the face





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