The Future of Theory / Edition 1

Paperback (Print)
Buy Used
Buy Used from
(Save 37%)
Item is in good condition but packaging may have signs of shelf wear/aging or torn packaging.
Condition: Used – Good details
Used and New from Other Sellers
Used and New from Other Sellers
from $1.99
Usually ships in 1-2 business days
(Save 95%)
Other sellers (Paperback)
  • All (24) from $1.99   
  • New (10) from $1.99   
  • Used (14) from $1.99   


Is Theory dead? Is it, as skeptics suggest, too distant from anything "real" to be useful, too sweeping in its referral of all texts to grand theses? Or is it a mask for fashion and self-promotion in academia? In this controversial manifesto, Jean-Michel Rabate addresses current anxieties about Theory and claims that it still has a crucial role to play. Acknowledging that he cannot speak about the future of Theory without taking stock of its past, Rabate starts by sketching its genealogy, particularly its relation to Surrealism, philosophy, and the hard sciences. Against this background, he proposes that Theory, like hysteria, consistently points out the inadequacies of official, serious, and "masterful" knowledge. Its role, he suggests, is to ask difficult, foundational questions, which entail revisionary readings of culture and its texts. In this way, Rabate claims, whether the theory of the moment is structuralism or globalization, Theory in its broader sense will always return, providing us with provocative and stimulating insights into what we do and how we read.
Read More Show Less

Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
"As with other books in this publisher's series, the intent is to engage the general educated public in a discussion of meaningful concepts, and Rabate succeeds excellently. For all public and academic collections." Library Journal

"This clearly written, well-documented study will serve graduate students, faculty and researchers." Choice

Library Journal
Does theory as a human activity organize consciousness, eviscerate ingenuity, supplant hysteria, or simply limn the borders of knowledge? Drawing on the works of ancient, modern, and contemporary philosophers, psychiatry's founders, and experimental literary luminaries, Rabat takes the reader through arguments for and against each of these stances. The differences between theorizing about theory and realizing theory's powers are carefully and accessibly constructed through discussions of 20th-century Western intellectual activity and publishing. Theory, Rabate decides, must be necessarily posited in the future, a future built of texts and dialogs and, since James Joyce, dialogs within texts. Moving nimbly from Thales to Heidegger, from Charcot and Freud to Barthes and Sartre, to Paglia and Derrida, Rabate realizes the very arguments he makes, forcing the reader to look ahead rather than position his or her awareness from behind or even within theory. As with other books in this publisher's series, the intent is to engage the general educated public in a discussion of meaningful concepts, and Rabate succeeds excellently. For all public and academic collections. Francisca Goldsmith, Berkeley P.L., CA Copyright 2002 Cahners Business Information.
Read More Show Less

Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780631230137
  • Publisher: Wiley
  • Publication date: 1/28/2002
  • Series: Wiley-Blackwell Manifestos Series
  • Edition description: New Edition
  • Edition number: 1
  • Pages: 176
  • Product dimensions: 6.00 (w) x 9.00 (h) x 0.65 (d)

Meet the Author

Jean-Michel Rabaté is Professor of English and Comparative Literature at the University of Pennsylvania. He has published books on Beckett, Bernhard, Pound, Joyce, Lacan, psychoanalysis, and literary theory. His recent books include The Ghosts of Modernity (1996), Joyce and the Politics of Egoism (2001), and Jacques Lacan and Literature (2001). He has also edited several collections of essays, including Writing the Image after Roland Barthes (1997), Jacques Lacan in America (2000), and The Cambridge Companion to Jacques Lacan (2002).

Read More Show Less

Table of Contents


1. Geneaology 1: Hegel's Plague.

2. Genealogy 2: The Avant-Garde at Theory's High Tide.

3. Theory, Science, Technology.

4. Theory not of Literature but as Literature.




Read More Show Less

Customer Reviews

Be the first to write a review
( 0 )
Rating Distribution

5 Star


4 Star


3 Star


2 Star


1 Star


Your Rating:

Your Name: Create a Pen Name or

Barnes & Review Rules

Our reader reviews allow you to share your comments on titles you liked, or didn't, with others. By submitting an online review, you are representing to Barnes & that all information contained in your review is original and accurate in all respects, and that the submission of such content by you and the posting of such content by Barnes & does not and will not violate the rights of any third party. Please follow the rules below to help ensure that your review can be posted.

Reviews by Our Customers Under the Age of 13

We highly value and respect everyone's opinion concerning the titles we offer. However, we cannot allow persons under the age of 13 to have accounts at or to post customer reviews. Please see our Terms of Use for more details.

What to exclude from your review:

Please do not write about reviews, commentary, or information posted on the product page. If you see any errors in the information on the product page, please send us an email.

Reviews should not contain any of the following:

  • - HTML tags, profanity, obscenities, vulgarities, or comments that defame anyone
  • - Time-sensitive information such as tour dates, signings, lectures, etc.
  • - Single-word reviews. Other people will read your review to discover why you liked or didn't like the title. Be descriptive.
  • - Comments focusing on the author or that may ruin the ending for others
  • - Phone numbers, addresses, URLs
  • - Pricing and availability information or alternative ordering information
  • - Advertisements or commercial solicitation


  • - By submitting a review, you grant to Barnes & and its sublicensees the royalty-free, perpetual, irrevocable right and license to use the review in accordance with the Barnes & Terms of Use.
  • - Barnes & reserves the right not to post any review -- particularly those that do not follow the terms and conditions of these Rules. Barnes & also reserves the right to remove any review at any time without notice.
  • - See Terms of Use for other conditions and disclaimers.
Search for Products You'd Like to Recommend

Recommend other products that relate to your review. Just search for them below and share!

Create a Pen Name

Your Pen Name is your unique identity on It will appear on the reviews you write and other website activities. Your Pen Name cannot be edited, changed or deleted once submitted.

Your Pen Name can be any combination of alphanumeric characters (plus - and _), and must be at least two characters long.

Continue Anonymously

    If you find inappropriate content, please report it to Barnes & Noble
    Why is this product inappropriate?
    Comments (optional)