“Was not their mistake once more bred of the life of slavery that they had been living?—a life which was always looking upon everything, except mankind, animate and inanimate—‘nature,’ as people used to call it—as one thing, and mankind as another, it was natural to people thinking in this way, that they should try to make ‘nature’ their slave, since they thought ‘nature’ was something outside them” — William Morris

Tuesday, December 29, 2015

Rita Felski versus Critique

Go Rita! Rita and I have been talking about this for a while.

Of course, Adorno would have wept at the contemporary record-store label version of Kritik.

Look at this part of Matthew Mullins's review:

I FIRST ENCOUNTERED what literary critics call “literary theory,” “critical theory,” or just plain “theory” in a class titled “Contemporary Literary Theory” taught by what must have been the world’s most patient professor. Each week we studied a different approach to reading, moving from formalism to structuralism to Marxism to feminism to deconstruction to postcolonialism and beyond. Every new theory presented itself as the true method of interpretation, the one that would lead me through the smoke screens and false fronts that obscured the meanings of works of literature, or what I learned to call “texts.” Structuralism was the answer to all possible questions, it seemed, until I learned about Marxism, which was supplanted by feminism and so on. “Now I’ve really got it,” I would think each week, only to be disabused of my former faith when the next theory showed me the true path to meaning.

Exactly. This isn't theoria, it's dogma or doxa, as I was pointing out, also in the LARB.

1 comment:

cgerrish said...

That essay in LARB just sold a book. I'll put it on the top of my stack for the new year.