Derrida deconstruction and literary interpretation

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derrida deconstruction and literary interpretation

On Deconstruction: Theory and Criticism after Structuralism by Jonathan Culler

From reviews of the first edition--

Academic literary crticism continues to be dominated by theory and the struggle between deconstructionist and humanist approaches to the business of reading. Jonathan Cullers On Deconstruction is a typically patient, thoughtful, illuminating exposition of the ideas of Jacques Derrida and their application to literary studies.--David Lodge, Commonweal

Culler is lucid and thorough, can move into and out of other peoples arguments without losing the sense of his own voice and argument, and can manage to seem equally at home with Freudianism, feminism, and traditional literary criticism.--Times Literary Supplement

As a practicing critic Culler has always been a deconstructor, and he approaches this topic with special immediacy and force. In On Deconstruction he offers generous summaries of numerous representative articles and a fine annotated bibliography. . . . His magisterial way of tracing particular topics and techniques through our diaspora of critical texts, and his provocative analyses, cannot fail to focus any critics thinking about deconstruction.--Modern Language Quarterly

Gifted with grace and clarity, Culler provides us with a stimulating survey of contemporary literary criticism.--Antioch Review

With an emphasis on readers and reading, Jonathan Culler considered deconstruction in terms of the questions raised by psychoanalytic, feminist, and reader-response criticism. On Deconstruction is both an authoritative synthesis of Derridas thought and an analysis of the often-problematic relation between his philosophical writings and the work of literary critics. Cullers book is an indispensable guide for anyone interested in understanding modern critical thought. This edition marks the twenty-fifth anniversary of the first publication of this landmark work and includes a new preface by the author that surveys deconstructions history since the 1980s and assesses its place within cultural theory today.

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10. Deconstruction I

Jacques Derrida: Deconstruction

Originated by the philosopher Jacques Derrida , deconstruction is an approach to understanding the relationship between text and meaning. Derrida's approach consisted of conducting readings of texts looking for things that run counter to the intended meaning or structural unity of a particular text. The purpose of deconstruction is to show that the usage of language in a given text, and language as a whole, are irreducibly complex, unstable, or impossible. Throughout his readings, Derrida hoped to show deconstruction at work. Many debates in continental philosophy surrounding ontology , epistemology , ethics, aesthetics , hermeneutics , and philosophy of language refer to Derrida's observations. Since the s, these observations inspired a range of theoretical enterprises in the humanities, [1] including the disciplines of law, [2] : 3—76 [3] [4] anthropology, [5] historiography , [6] linguistics , [7] sociolinguistics, [8] psychoanalysis , LGBT studies , and the feminist school of thought. Deconstruction also inspired deconstructivism in architecture and remains important within art, [9] music, [10] and literary criticism.

Key Concept. Img: Annie Vought annievought. Deconstruction by its very nature defies institutionalization in an authoritative definition. The concept was first outlined by Derrida in Of Grammatology where he explored the interplay between language and the construction of meaning. From this early work, and later works in which he has attempted to explain deconstruction to others, most notably the Letter to a Japanese Friend, it is possible to provide a basic explanation of what deconstruction is commonly understood to mean.

In the s the term was applied to work by Derrida, Paul de Man , J. Hillis Miller, and Barbara Johnson, among other scholars. In the s it designated more loosely a range of radical theoretical enterprises in diverse areas of the humanities and social sciences, including—in addition to philosophy and literature—law, psychoanalysis, architecture, anthropology, theology, feminism, gay and lesbian studies, political theory, historiography, and film theory. In polemical discussions about intellectual trends of the late 20th-century, deconstruction was sometimes used pejoratively to suggest nihilism and frivolous skepticism. In popular usage the term has come to mean a critical dismantling of tradition and traditional modes of thought. Examples include nature and culture , speech and writing, mind and body, presence and absence, inside and outside, literal and metaphorical, intelligible and sensible, and form and meaning , among many others.

Derrida's method consisted of demonstrating all the forms and Deconstruction denotes the pursuing of the meaning of a text.
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Deconstruction: A school of philosophy that originated in France in the late s, has had an enormous impact on Anglo-American criticism. Largely the creation of its chief proponent Jacques Derrida, deconstruction upends the Western metaphysical tradition. It represents a complex response to a variety of theoretical and philosophical movements of the 20th century, most notably Husserlian phenomenology, Saussurean and French structuralism, and Freudian and Lacanian psychoanalysis.

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