Literary Meaning: Reclaiming the Study of Literature

Hardcover (Print)
Buy New
Buy New from
Used and New from Other Sellers
Used and New from Other Sellers
from $22.00
Usually ships in 1-2 business days
(Save 74%)
Other sellers (Hardcover)
  • All (1) from $22.00   
  • Used (1) from $22.00   


"In this clearly written and accessible book, (Wendell) Harris sets out to expose the inadequacies of current methods and trends in literary criticism. . . . The book's greatest strength is its lucid presentation of critical works, which are then shown to be compromised by fallacies and flaws".-- CHOICE.
Read More Show Less

Editorial Reviews

Harris (English, Penn. State U.) juxtaposes contemporary debates and disagreements over authorial intent, arguing for the importance of seeking authorial intended meaning and discussing the limits within which such interpretation is possible. Annotation c. Book News, Inc., Portland, OR (
From the Publisher
”In recent years, many observers have noted the thinness and monotony of poststructuralist dogma. No one, however, has done a more assiduous job of pushing intellectual debris out of the way that Wendell Harris in Literary Meaning. This book is at once plain and sophisticated, hard-hitting and constructive. How different our field would be if Harris were required reading for graduate students!”

-Frederick Crews,author of Skeptical Engagements

β€œLiterary Meaning is an erudite and well-written book. It clearly presents the arguments of an array of thinkers, whose work is seen in terms of the schools to which they appeal. Rather than dismiss current theory, Harris traces it to its crucial flaws.”

-Gary Saul Morson,Frances Hooper Professor of the Arts & Humanities, Northwestern University

Read More Show Less

Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780814735251
  • Publisher: New York University Press
  • Publication date: 1/1/1996
  • Pages: 248
  • Product dimensions: 5.55 (w) x 8.80 (h) x 0.96 (d)

Meet the Author

Wendell V. Harris is Professor of English and former department head at The Pennsylvania State University. His most recent books are Interpretive Acts: In Search of Meaning (1988) and Dictionary of Concepts in Literary Criticism and Theory (1992).

Read More Show Less

Table of Contents

Introduction 1
1 The Great Dichotomy 9
2 Hermeticism 20
3 Fallacies of Hermeticism 50
4 Hermeticism and Science 65
5 Hermeneutics 90
A Note on the New Pragmatism 127
6 The Pretensions of Theory, the Necessity of Pluralism, and Terminological Promiscuity 132
7 Historical Scholarship and Literary History 157
A Note on New Historicism 175
8 Professionally Speaking: Rhetoricity and Mimesis in the Classroom 179
9 Publishing the (Highly) Perishable 205
Works Cited 224
Index to Terms 235
Index of Names 238
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)