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August 21, 1998
9780801841378
English
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v2.1 Reference

What's Wrong with Postmodernism?

Critical Theory and the Ends of Philosophy

In What's Wrong with Postmodernism Norris critiques the "postmodern-pragmatist malaise" of Baudrillard, Fish, Rorty, and Lyotard. In contrast he finds a continuing critical impulse—an "enlightened or emancipatory interest"—in thinkers like Derrida, de Man, Bhaskar, and Habermas. Offering a provocative reassessment of Derrida's influence on modern thinking, Norris attempts to sever the tie between deconstruction and American literary critics who, he argues, favor endless, playful, polysemic interpretation at the expense of systematic argument.

As he explores leftist attempts to arrive at an accommodation with postmodernism, Norris addresses the politics of deconstruction, the issue of men in feminism, Habermas' quarrel with Derrida, narrative theory as a hermeneutic paradigm, musical aesthetics in relation to literary theory, and various aspects of postmodern debate. A chapter on Stanley Fish brings several of these topics together and offers a generalized statement on the function of current criticism.

About the Author

Christopher Norris is professor of English at the University of Wales at Cardiff. He is the author of many books including The Deconstructive Turn and Spinoza and the Origins of Modern Critical Theory.

Reviews

"If I had to recommend one book on postmodern theory, this would be it."

- Gregory Meyerson - English Literature in Transition

Endorsements

"Norris is the most philosophically astute of all British literary theorists, and increasingly one of the most politically important, subjecting the jaded skepticisms of our time to a scintillating critique."

- Terry Eagleton, Linacre College, Oxford

"The text is a pleasure to read, unlike so many on the topic... Norris's scholarship is sound and the book is provocative."

- Mark Poster, University of California, Irvine

"With his characteristic exemplary clarity, Norris deploys a series of careful, precise and finely-honed arguments for a continuation of the relevance of critique, for a vigilant awareness of the political stakes involved in philosophy and criticism, and for the sheer necessity of hard but rewarding intellectual work."

- Tom Docherty, University College, London
Johns Hopkins University Press
Parallax: Re-visions of Culture and Society
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