Literature, Theory, and Common Sense
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Literature, Theory, and Common Sense by Antoine Compagnon
Book DescriptionIn the late twentieth century, the common sense approach to literature was deemed naive. Roland Barthes proclaimed the death of the author, and Hillis Miller declared that all interpretation is theoretical. In many a literature department, graduate students spent far more time on Derrida and Foucault than on Shakespeare and Milton. Despite this, common sense approaches to literature--including the belief that literature represents reality and authorial intentions matter--have resisted theory with tenacity. As a result, argues Antoine Compagnon, theorists have gone to extremes, boxed themselves into paradoxes, and distanced others from their ideas. Eloquently assessing the accomplishments and failings of literary theory, Compagnon ultimately defends the methods and goals of a theoretical commitment tempered by the wisdom of common sense. While it constitutes an engaging introduction to recent theoretical debates, the book is organized not by school of thought but around seven central questions: literariness, the author, the world, the reader, style, history, and value. What makes a work literature? Does fiction imitate reality? Is the reader present in the text? What constitutes style? Is the context in which a work is written important to its apprehension? Are literary values universal? As he examines how theory has wrestled these themes, Compagnon establishes not a simple middle-ground but a state of productive tension between high theory and common sense. The result is a book that will be met with both controversy and sighs of relief.
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Book DetailsISBN: 9780691070421
(229mm x 152mm x 14mm)
Imprint: Princeton University Press
Publisher: Princeton University Press
Publish Date: 6-Jul-2004
Country of Publication: United States
Books By Author Antoine Compagnon
Death of French Culture, Hardback (July 2010)
* This is an expanded and updated version of an article that originally appeared in Time Magazine, which caused a sensation in France and elsewhere. * Morrison argues that French culture no longer has the kind of international standing it once did. His discussion ranges from art and fashion to philosophy, literature and cinema.
Proust, Hardback (October 1992)» View all books by Antoine Compagnon
This book explores the formative period when Scotland acquired the characteristics that enabled it to enter fully into the comity of medieval Christendom. These included a monarchy of a recognizably continental type, a feudal organisation of aristocratic landholding and military service, national boundaries, and a body of settled law and custom.
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Author Biography - Antoine Compagnon
Antoine Compagnon is Blanche W. Knopf Professor of French and Comparative Literature at Columbia University and Professor of Literature at the Sorbonne.
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