Literature, Theory, and Common Sense - 
      Antoine Compagnon
      Carol Cosman

Literature, Theory, and Common Sense

; Carol Cosman (Oversetter)

In 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. Les mer
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In 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.
Forlag: Princeton University Press
Innbinding: Innbundet
Språk: Engelsk
Sider: 232
ISBN: 9780691070421
Format: 24 x 15 cm

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«Like everything that Antoine Compagnon writes, [this book] is intelligent, oblique, ironic, surprising the reader with unexpected shifts and reversals. It may annoy both theorists and the advocates of common sense, but if they surrender to their annoyance, they will have missed the point."--Terence Cave, Times Literary Supplement»

INTRODUCTION: What Remains of Our Loves? 1 Theory and Common Sense 4 Theory and Practice of Literature 7 Theory, Criticism, History 9 Theory or Theories 10 Theory of Literature or Literary Theory 11 Literature Reduced to Its Elements 12 CHAPTER 1: Literature 15 The Scope of Literature 17 The Comprehension of Literature: Function 19 The Comprehension of Literature: The Form of Content 21 The Comprehension of Literature: The Form of Expression 22 Literariness or Prejudice 25 Literature Is Literature 27 CHAPTER 2: The Author 29 The Thesis of the Death of the Author 30 "Voluntas" and "Actio" 33 Allegory and Philology 36 Philology and Hermeneutics 39 Intention and Consciousness 43 The Method of Parallel Passages 45 "Straight from the Horse's Mouth "48 Intention or Coherence 51 The Two Arguments against Intention 54 The Return to Intention 58 Meaning Is Not Signification 59 Intention Is Not Premeditation 63 The Presumption of Intentionality 65 CHAPTER 3: The World 69 Against "Mimesis" 70 "Mimesis" Denaturalized 73 Realism: Reflection or Convention 76 The Referential Fallacy and Intertextuality 78 The Terms of the Dispute 82 Critique of the Anti-mimetic Thesis 83 The Arbitrariness of Language 88 "Mimesis" as Recognition 92 Fictional Worlds 97 The World of Books 100 CHAPTER 4: The Reader 102 Reading Sidelined 102 The Resistance of the Reader 105 Reception and Influence 108 The Implied Reader 108 The Open Work 113 The Horizon of (Phantom) Expectation 115 Genre as a Model of Reading 116 Freewheeling Reading 117 After the Reader 121 CHAPTER 5: Style 123 Style in All Its Conditions 124 Language, Style, Writing 129 Down with Style! 131 Norm, Deviation, Context 135 Style as Thought 138 The Return of Style 140 Style and Exemplification 142 Norm or Aggregate 144 CHAPTER 6: History 146 Literary History and History of Literature 148 Literary History and Literary Criticism 151 History of Ideas, Social History 153 Literary Evolution 156 The Horizon of Expectation 157 Philology Disguised 161 History or Literature? 164 History as Literature 167 CHAPTER 7: Value 169 Most Poems Are Bad, but They Are Poems 170 Aesthetic Illusion 173 What Is a Classic? 176 On the National Tradition in Literature 180 Saving the Classic 182 The Last Plea for Objectivism 186 Value and Posterity 188 In Favor of a Tempered Relativism 191 CONCLUSION: The Theoretical Adventure 193 Theory and Fiction 194 Theory and "Bathmology" 195 Theory and Perplexity 196 NOTES 199 BIBLIOGRAPHY 211 INDEX 217
Antoine Compagnon is Blanche W. Knopf Professor of French and Comparative Literature at Columbia University and Professor of Literature at the Sorbonne.