Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Reading After Theory

by Valentine Cunningham

There’s some skilled work and interesting ideas that come through, but ultimately this is a poor argument pushed through against strawmen. It takes a stand against postmodernism and literary theory, arguing that it’s practioners hate texts and write incomprehensibly. Neither aspect is true, and the other mud Cunningham tries to hurl also falls rather off the mark. To its credit the book is crisply writtten and well organized, but remains fundmanetally unconvincing. It is useful to see the other side write and get an argument against one’s common assumptions, but in this case the counter-argumnent leaves me with further support for pomo and theory as liberating element for critical reading and thinking.

Worse than: The Future of Theory by Jean-Michel Rabate
Better than: Slavophile Thought by Susanna Rabow-Edling

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