The Work of Literature by Derek AttridgeThe Work of Literature by Derek Attridge

The Work of Literature

byDerek Attridge

Paperback | September 23, 2017

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What is distinctive about the cultural practice called "literature"? How does it benefit individuals and society? How do literary works retain their importance and their capacity to give pleasure over decades and centuries? What constitutes responsible criticism? These are some of thequestions addressed in this book, which develops the arguments put forward in Derek Attridge's influential study The Singularity of Literature (2004). Beginning with an extended cross-examination in the form of an interview addressing a range of topics relating to the work of literature (understoodboth as the activity of the writer and as the text itself) and the practices of literary reading and literary criticism, it asks what it means to "do justice to" a work of literature, provides a full account of the concept of singularity, considers the problematic power of criticism, and advances anaccount of the role of context in the writing and reading of literary works. In other chapters it explores the issue of cultural difference in responses to literature, discusses the working of metaphor, questions the attribution of knowledge to literary works, and addresses the topics of affect andhospitality. The book follows through the consequences of regarding the singular and inventive work of literature as an event that takes place anew each time it is read, providing an opening to an otherness excluded by prevailing cultural norms and habits of thought and feeling. Although the focus of the book ison literature, the arguments are relevant to all the arts, and engage with the thought of major aesthetic theorists in a number of traditions.
Derek Attridge is author or editor of twenty-three books. On eighteen journal editorial boards. Work translated into Spanish, Chinese, Arabic, Portuguese, Italian, Polish, etc. Publications range across many areas, including poetic form, literary theory, and Irish and South African writing. After obtaining degrees in his native South A...
Title:The Work of LiteratureFormat:PaperbackDimensions:336 pagesPublished:September 23, 2017Publisher:Oxford University PressLanguage:English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:0198798903

ISBN - 13:9780198798903


Table of Contents

IntroductionPart I1. The Singularity of Literature: A Cross-examinationWhat is 'literature'?The literary eventLiterary inventionTerminological questionsMedia, periods, and genresOtherness and ethicsThe aesthetic traditionSources and parallelsPolitics and ideologyAnd to conclude...Part II2. JusticeDoing justiceAn example: Dickinson's 'As imperceptibly as Grief'Signature and counter-signature3. SingularityUnpacking singularitySingularity and ethicsA singular invention: Donoghue's Room4. CriticismCritical power: the criticCritical power: the poetMuldoon's The Loaf and the limits of commentary5. ContextThe context of creationThe context of readingPresent reading and historical context6. CultureInventiveness and cultural distanceReading The Yacoubian BuildingResponsible reading across cultures7. MetaphorPerforming literatureMetaphor and metaphoricityMetaphor and the reader8. KnowingWhat do literary works know?Ways of knowing and thinkingLiterature's secrets9. AffectLiterary affect: McCarthy's Blood MeridianAffect and formPleasure in reading10. HospitalityThe double law of hospitalityHospitality as ethicsInvention, grace, and lifeHospitality and literary criticismReferencesIndex