The Limits Of Critique

Paperback | October 20, 2015

byRita Felski

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Why must critics unmask and demystify literary works? Why do they believe that language is always withholding some truth, that the critic’s task is to reveal the unsaid or repressed? In this book, Rita Felski examines critique, the dominant form of interpretation in literary studies, and situates it as but one method among many, a method with strong allure—but also definite limits.

Felski argues that critique is a sensibility best captured by Paul Ricoeur’s phrase “the hermeneutics of suspicion.” She shows how this suspicion toward texts forecloses many potential readings while providing no guarantee of rigorous or radical thought. Instead, she suggests, literary scholars should try what she calls “postcritical reading”: rather than looking behind a text for hidden causes and motives, literary scholars should place themselves in front of it and reflect on what it suggests and makes possible.

By bringing critique down to earth and exploring new modes of interpretation, The Limits of Critique offers a fresh approach to the relationship between artistic works and the social world.

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Why must critics unmask and demystify literary works? Why do they believe that language is always withholding some truth, that the critic’s task is to reveal the unsaid or repressed? In this book, Rita Felski examines critique, the dominant form of interpretation in literary studies, and situates it as but one method among many, a meth...

Rita Felski is the William R. Kenan Jr. Professor of English at the University of Virginia and the editor of New Literary History. She is the author of several books, including, most recently, Uses of Literature and Literature after Feminism, the latter also published by the University of Chicago Press.

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Uses of Literature
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Format:PaperbackDimensions:240 pages, 8.5 × 5.5 × 0.8 inPublished:October 20, 2015Publisher:University Of Chicago PressLanguage:English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:022629403X

ISBN - 13:9780226294032

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Extra Content

Table of Contents

Acknowledgments
Introduction

1 The Stakes of Suspicion
2 Digging Down and Standing Back
3 An Inspector Calls
4 Crrritique
5 “Context Stinks!”

In Short
Notes
Index

Editorial Reviews

“Felski’s punchy colloquial style eases our path . . . and her footnotes collect any number of easy-to-overlook gems . . . including not a few from the pages of New Literary History, the journal she has revived so impressively. . . . Her exasperation with the histrionics of critique and its bullying of literature is merited and persuasive.”