Stanley Cavell and the Claim of Literature
Stanley Cavell is widely recognized as one of America's most important contemporary philosophers, and his legacy and writings continue to attract considerable attention among literary critics and theorists. Stanley Cavell and the Claim of Literature comprehensively addresses the importance of literature in Cavell's philosophy and, in turn, the potential effect of his philosophy on contemporary literary criticism.
David Rudrum dedicates a chapter to each of the writers that principally occupy Cavell, including Shakespeare, Thoreau, Beckett, Wordsworth, Ibsen, and Poe, and incorporates chapters on tragedy, skepticism, ethics, and politics. Through detailed analysis of these works, Rudrum explores Cavell's ideas on the nature of reading; the relationships among literary language, ordinary language, and performative language; the status of authors and characters; the link between tragedy and ethics; and the nature of political conversation in a democracy.
About the Author
David Rudrum is a senior lecturer in English at the University of Huddersfield. He is the editor of Literature and Philosophy: A Guide to Contemporary Debates and the coeditor of Supplanting the Postmodern: An Anthology of Writings on the Arts and Culture of the Early 21st Century.
"David Rudrum's impressive book... is likely to be the standard reference on Cavell's readings of literature within the English-speaking world for a considerable time. [An] elegant book that, one hopes, will bring Cavell to the attention of many new readers."
"The great merit of Stanley Cavell and the Claim of Literature is the manner [in which] Rudrum puts together numerous leading theories and approaches, sorts through them distinctly, and acknowledges their genuine driving insights. It is a thoughtful, gracefully written book."
"The critical readings that Cavell has published are set against deep observations relating to structuralism, poststructuralism, New Historicism, psychoanalytic criticism, and new textualism."
"Rudrum responds to the philosophical, literary, and literary-philosophical writings of Stanley Cavell in a deeply Cavellian manner. Rudrum's book is deeply compelling in its own right. It claims our attention, even while permitting Cavell also to register his claims on us."
"This is an original and exciting book, true to Cavell's trailblazing work in the Emersonian categories both of instruction and of provocation."
"Engaging with Stanley Cavell’s readings of Thoreau, Shakespeare, Beckett, Wordsworth, Poe, and Ibsen, David Rudrum shows that literary texts—for Cavell and for us—have a distinctive power to persist in their forms of questioning and thus to unsettle us persuasively. Yet in doing this they are also addressing and enacting the plights of subjects in worldly situations, not evaporating those situations into empty textual figures. Juxtaposing Cavell’s practices of reading against those of structuralism, poststructuralism, New Historicism, psychoanalytic criticism, and New Textualism, among others, Rudrum traces how Cavell’s critical writings, like other major writings, philosophical and literary alike, include 'an aesthetics of themselves,' so that in their densities of attention they demonstrate practices and possibilities of understanding the human as both constitutively incomplete and capable of productive attention. I cannot think of a better way of articulating the claim that literature makes on us."
Other Titles in LITERARY CRITICISM / Semiotics & Theory
Other Titles in Literary theory