After Ontology: Literary Theory and Modernist Poetics

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Offers a reconsideration of modernism in both philosophy and literature.
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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
“There are numerous deconstructive and hermeneutical readings of Anglo-American modernism, but Melaney’s work is distinctive in combining the two in a study of poststructural aesthetics that draws upon Gadamer, Derrida, Vattimo, and Lyotard without being polemical and without denying their differences. Its breadth, philosophical concerns, and focus on ethics in the modernist text makes it a notable work.” — Joseph Kronick, author of Derrida and the Future of Literature
Melaney (English, American U., Cairo) identifies uniquely postmodern elements in hermeneutics and deconstruction in order to re-read many of the central texts in modernist literature. Illuminating points of contact between the philosophical positions of Gadamer and Derrida, he discusses Heidegger's influence on both Gadamer's ontological approach to the work of art, and Derrida's transformative approach to the cultural text as implicitly postmodern. Annotation c. Book News, Inc., Portland, OR (
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780791449585
  • Publisher: State University of New York Press
  • Publication date: 4/28/2001
  • Edition description: New Edition
  • Pages: 260
  • Product dimensions: 5.91 (w) x 8.94 (h) x 0.58 (d)

Meet the Author

William D. Melaney is Assistant Professor of English at The American University in Cairo.

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Table of Contents


Introduction: Modernism and the Crisis in Aesthetics

1. Hermeneutics and the Modern Work of Art

Section1. Gadamer's Interpretation of Kant: The Perils of Subjectivity
Section 2. Heidegger's Poetic Ontology: Art as the Truth of World
Section 3. Hermeneutics after Structure: Rethinking Modernist Time
Section 4. Vattimo's Understanding: History in Postmodern Hermeneutics

2. Deconstruction and the Modernist Text

Section 1. Derrida's Passage beyond Kant: The Silent Space of Language
Section 2. Deconstruction after Heidegger: "Double Reading" in "Restitutions"
Section 3. Nietzsche and Psychoanalysis: Toward the Other in Language
Section 4. Lyotard's Postmodern Turn: Legitimacy and the Missing Trace

3. Archeology and the Modernist Poetics

Section 1. Eliot's Postsymbolist Inter-Text: Hamlet and the Voices of Irony
Section 2. Eliot/Pound as Epic Poets: Dante and the Site of Translation
Section 3. In Search of Joyce's Ulysses: From Discourse to Semiotics
Section 4. Yeats and the Poetic Occasion: History in the Signs of Writing

4. Criticism and the Modernist Inter-Text

Section 1. Modernism as the "Completion" of Aesthetics
Section 2. Deconstruction as an Ethical Hermeneutic


Select Bibliography


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