Literature and the Touch of the Real

Literature and the Touch of the Real

by Gail Kathleen Hart
     
 

Literature and the Touch of the Real argues that Saussurean linguistic theory that has become the dominant view of language cannot sustain any kind of nonstructuralist analysis of literature. Criticism has moved increasingly toward history and politics, but it has neither forged nor adopted a philosophy of language suited to its new purposes. There is, therefore,…  See more details below

Overview

Literature and the Touch of the Real argues that Saussurean linguistic theory that has become the dominant view of language cannot sustain any kind of nonstructuralist analysis of literature. Criticism has moved increasingly toward history and politics, but it has neither forged nor adopted a philosophy of language suited to its new purposes. There is, therefore, pressure to bring to bear on literary and cultural studies a philosophy of language that will enable "literary criticism to make contact with the real," in Stephen Greenblatt's recent words, by showing how language grasps material reality through a process of practical consciousness and social activity.

The book offers a detailed account of the constitutive contradictions of Saussure's Course in General Linguistics that have been ignored by literary theorists. It argues that Derrida and Wittgenstein offer differently conceived, but related ways of avoiding both the neo-Saussurean view that language either is disconnected from the world or constitutes reality, on the other hand, and the neo-Realist view that literature and fiction are secondary, etiolated forms of language use, on the other. It demonstrates through a close reading of Derrida's early texts that the notorious statement "there is nothing beyond the text" does not claim that there is nothing outside of language. Rather, the broader context of this claim shows that the reduction of the world from language is in fact one of Derrida's earliest philosophical targets. By examining the polemics concerning the term "apartheid" and J.L. Austin's philosophy of speech acts, and Derrida's essays on the proper name in Shakespeare's Romeo and Juliet and James Joyce, itargues that Derrida maintains a sophisticated and critical view of the relationship among words, concepts, and things in the world that may be related to Saul Kripke's "causal" theory of reference, developed within the analytical tradition of philosophy.

The book uses the philosophy o

Read More

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780874137910
Publisher:
University of Delaware Press
Publication date:
01/01/2004
Pages:
264
Product dimensions:
6.40(w) x 9.30(h) x 0.90(d)

Customer Reviews

Average Review:

Write a Review

and post it to your social network

     

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

See all customer reviews >