This cutting-edge collection of essays showcases the work of some of the most influential theorists of the past thirty years as they grapple with the question of how literature should be treated in contemporary theory. The contributors challenge trends that have recently dominated the field--especially those that emphasize social and political issues over close reading and other analytic methods traditionally associated with literary criticism. Written especially for this collection, these essays argue for the importance of aesthetics, poetics, and aesthetic theory as they present new and stimulating perspectives on the directions which theory and criticism will take in the future.
In addition to providing a selection of distinguished critics writing at their best, this collection is valuable because it represents a variety of fields and perspectives that are not usually found together in the same volume. Michael Clark's introduction provides a concise, cogent history of major developments and trends in literary theory from World War II to the present, making the entire volume essential reading for students and scholars of literature, literary theory, and philosophy.
J. Hillis Miller
Stephen G. Nichols
Michael P. Clark is Professor of English and Comparative Literature at the University
of California, Irvine, and author of Michel Foucault: Tool Kit for a New Age (1983) and
Jacques Lacan: An Annotated Bibliography (1988).
"Revenge of the Aesthetic stands as a call for further reassessment of the kind of work being done in the field of literary studies and promises to occupy a critical position in ensuing debates over the place of literature in relation to theory."—Emory Elliott, Distinguised Professor of English, University of California, Riverside
"In the landscape of theory, we have been in the throes of historicism, a variety of cultural studies, and a variety of marxisms--all reading right through the text as if texts were not material but transparent, as if they were representations of the social. That was their limit. Revenge of the Aesthetic may well mark the beginning of a revolution against such practices."—Helen Regueiro Elam, Professor of English, SUNY Albany