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James Wood: What Exactly Is at Stake When We Write Literary Criticism?

Monday, November 30th, 2020

James Wood: What Exactly Is at Stake When We Write Literary Criticism?

On Deconstructing Texts and Our Comprehension Of Literature

I became taught how exactly to read novels and poems by a brilliant poststructuralist critic called Stephen Heath. We have a picture during my brain of Dr. Heath keeping a sheet of paper—the hallowed “text”—very close to their eyes, the real proximity somehow the symbolic embodiment of their examining avidity, while he threw away their favorite concern in regards to a paragraph or stanza: “what’s at stake in this passage? ” He intended one thing more specific, professionalized and narrow compared to the colloquial use would generally indicate. He designed something similar to: what’s the issue of meaning in this passage? What’s on the line in maintaining the look of coherent meaning, in this performance we call literary works? Exactly How is meaning wobbling, threatening to collapse into its repressions? Dr. Heath ended up being appraising literary works as Freud may have studied one of his true patients, where “What reaches stake for your needs in being right right here? ” would not mean “What has reached stake for you personally in attempting to improve your health or delighted? ” but almost the opposing: “What are at stake for your needs in keeping your chronic unhappiness? ” The enquiry is dubious, though certainly not aggressive.

Because of this of reading could be called de broadly constructive.