Doing Things With Texts

Overview

“One of the most respected literary scholars alive, . . . Abrams stands for understanding and conciliation, calling for a kind of humanism that can embrace the good in all literary theories.” —Washington Post
This volume brings together for the first time influential essays and reviews by one of our most important literary critics. Spanning three decades, the essays concern themselves with the most central development themes in recent criticism, from the New Criticism to the much-debated “Newreading” and “New ...

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Overview

“One of the most respected literary scholars alive, . . . Abrams stands for understanding and conciliation, calling for a kind of humanism that can embrace the good in all literary theories.” —Washington Post
This volume brings together for the first time influential essays and reviews by one of our most important literary critics. Spanning three decades, the essays concern themselves with the most central development themes in recent criticism, from the New Criticism to the much-debated “Newreading” and “New Historicism.” Two other essays discuss the emergence of the remarkably influential modern view that a work in the fine arts is an autonomous object, and another offers an extraordinary overview of the history of criticism from Plato and Aristotle to Jacques Derrida and Paul de Man.

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
The author, a literary traditionalist, is under whelmed by fashionable deconstructionists like Jacques Derrida or ``Newreaders'' Harold Bloom and Stanley Fish. By treating works of art as self-sufficient objects, these critics often fail to grasp the meanings that a poem, story or novel generates as a human document, Abrams charges. In a group of essays and reviews geared to the serious student or scholar, the Cornell professor emeritus pulls the rugs out from under his opponents by analyzing ``art-for-the-sake-of-art'' criticism from a sociological standpoint, tracing its roots to 18th-century connoisseurship and the codification wd. ok? (not in web 3 or 9)/I think it should be codification/gs of literature. Throughout, Abrams ( The Mirror and the Lamp ) engages in dialogue with Coleridge, Matthew Arnold, Wordsworth, Aristotle, Wittgenstein and Milton. (Nov.)
Library Journal
Fischer pulls together 17 essays published by Abrams over the last 30 years, including the famous ``Types and Orientations of Critical Theories'' and ``The Deconstructive Angel.'' The essays focus primarily on the history of literary criticism and Abrams's response to different critical theories, especially philosophical analysis, structuralism, and, more recently, deconstruction. While Abrams is often at odds with the theories he discusses, his treatment is always balanced and his exposition clear. The collection is valuable not only for its lucid explanations but as a history of recent debates among critical circles.-- T.L. Cooksey, Armstrong State Coll., Savannah, Ga.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780393307474
  • Publisher: Norton, W. W. & Company, Inc.
  • Publication date: 10/1/1997
  • Edition description: Reprint
  • Pages: 448
  • Product dimensions: 5.50 (w) x 8.30 (h) x 1.10 (d)

Meet the Author

M. H. Abrams (Ph.D. Harvard) is Class of 1916 Professor of English, Emeritus at Cornell University. He received the Phi Beta Kappa Christian Gauss Prize for The Mirror and the Lamp and the MLA’s James Russell Lowell Prize for Natural Supernaturalism. He is also the author of The Milk of Paradise, A Glossary of Literary Terms, The Correspondent Breeze, and Doing Things with Texts. He is the recipient of Guggenheim, Ford Foundation, and Rockefeller Postwar fellowships, the Award in Humanistic Studies from the Academy of Arts and Sciences (1984), the Distinguished Scholar Award by the Keats-Shelley Society (1987), and the Award for Literature by the American Academy of Arts and Letters (1990). In 1999 The Mirror and the Lamp was ranked twenty-fifth among the Modern Library’s "100 best nonfiction books written in English during the twentieth century."

Michael Fischer is vice president for Academic Affairs and Dean of the Faculty and professor of English at Trinity University. He was dean of the College of Arts and Sciences and professor of English at the University of New Mexico in Albuquerque. His research and teaching have focused on English romanticism, the history of ideas about literature and philosophy, and defenses of the humanities.

Michael Fischer is vice president for Academic Affairs and Dean of the Faculty and professor of English at Trinity University. He was dean of the College of Arts and Sciences and professor of English at the University of New Mexico in Albuquerque. His research and teaching have focused on English romanticism, the history of ideas about literature and philosophy, and defenses of the humanities.

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