Literature against Itself: Literary Ideas in Modern Society

Overview

Since its first publication more than fifteen years ago, Literature Against Itself has achieved wide recognition as the first major critique of post-1960s cultural radicalism—and still, one of the best. In it, Gerald Graff argues that the reigning strategies for defending literature now end up by trivializing it, and he analyzes why and how they have gone wrong. He charges that our leading literary critics, whether they claim to be traditionalists or innovators, have taken positions that ultimately undermine the ...

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Overview

Since its first publication more than fifteen years ago, Literature Against Itself has achieved wide recognition as the first major critique of post-1960s cultural radicalism—and still, one of the best. In it, Gerald Graff argues that the reigning strategies for defending literature now end up by trivializing it, and he analyzes why and how they have gone wrong. He charges that our leading literary critics, whether they claim to be traditionalists or innovators, have taken positions that ultimately undermine the authority of art, literature, and criticism itself. "An extraordinarily important book, biting and cogent on every page."—Robert Boyers, Salmagundi. "In this recoil from the current anarchy of interpretation, Graff has affirmed that 'literary thinking is inseparable from social and moral thinking."'—New York Times Book Review. "A wonderfully trenchant and illuminating inquiry… the shrewdness and cogency of his commentary are constantly arresting."—Virginia Quarterly Review.

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Editorial Reviews

CHOICE
Indispensable.
New York Times
In this recoil from the current anarchy of interpretation, Graff has affirmed that ëliterary thinking is inseparable from social and moral thinking.
New York Times Book Review
In this recoil from the current anarchy of interpretation, Graff has affirmed that ëliterary thinking is inseparable from social and moral thinking.
Salmagundi
An extraordinarily important book, biting and cogent on every page.
— Robert Boyers
The New York Times
In this recoil from the current anarchy of interpretation, Graff has affirmed that ëliterary thinking is inseparable from social and moral thinking.
Virginia Quarterly Review
A wonderfully trenchant and illuminating inquiry...the shrewdness and cogency of his commentary are constantly arresting.
Read More Show Less

Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781566630979
  • Publisher: Dee, Ivan R. Publisher
  • Publication date: 8/28/1995
  • Edition description: 1st Elephant pbk. ed
  • Edition number: 1
  • Pages: 276
  • Product dimensions: 5.82 (w) x 8.36 (h) x 0.73 (d)

Meet the Author

Gerald Graff is George M. Pullman Professor of English and Education at the University of Chicago. His other books include Beyond the Culture Wars, Professing Literature, and The Myth of Cultural Decline.

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Table of Contents

Acknowledgments
Preface to the 1995 Edition
1 Culture, Criticism, and Unreality 1
2 The Myth of the Postmodern Breakthrough 31
3 The Politics of Anti-Realism 63
4 English in America 103
5 What Was New Criticism? 129
6 How Not to Talk about Fictions 151
7 How Not to Save the Humanities 181
8 Babbitt at the Abyss 207
Notes 241
Index 257
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