The Division of Literature: Or the University in Deconstruction

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Overview

The inclusion of literary study is a distinctive trait of the modern, scientific university. But this legitimation of a "division of literature" has been from the beginning a tenuous, ambivalent, and divisive affair. Why and to what effect? These questions guide Peggy Kamuf's analysis of the complex history of literary study in the modern university and orient her critical reading of developments from the French Revolution through the nineteenth century and beyond in Europe. She then turns to one of the most troubling works in the American literary canon - Melville's The Confidence-Man - to show how academic literary history has avoided confronting the implications of works in which meaning is never solely confined within a past. By engaging a future readership to which it applies for credit, Kamuf argues, literature cannot serve as a stable object of study. It locates, rather, a site of "the university in deconstruction."
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780226423241
  • Publisher: University of Chicago Press
  • Publication date: 2/28/1997
  • Edition description: 1
  • Pages: 268
  • Product dimensions: 6.00 (w) x 9.00 (h) x 0.61 (d)

Meet the Author


Peggy Kamuf is the Marion Frances Chevalier Professor of French and Comparative Literature at the University of Southern California. She has written, edited, or translated many books, by Derrida and others, and is coeditor of the series of Derrida’s seminars at the University of Chicago Press. 
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Table of Contents

Acknowledgments
Introduction: Catachresis and Institution 1
1 The University Founders 41
2 The Rhetoric of Ruin 57
3 The Walls of Science 75
4 Peguy and the Event of History 101
5 The University in Deconstruction 133
Prologue: The Impasse of Literary History 163
Prologue: Melville's Credit Card 167
Epilogue: A Future for It 223
Notes 229
Index 255
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