Mastering Discourse: The Politics of Intellectual Culture

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Mastering Discourse gathers and elaborates more than a decade of thought on the problems of the intellectual in contemporary society, by one of the most distinguished critics writing on these issues today. From Derrida and Foucault to Kristeva and Irigaray, Paul A. Bové looks at the practices of literary and cultural theory, and discusses the way theorists have produced their institutional positions and politics. Examining some of the major theories developed out of and in relation to the problems of discourse, Bové analyzes the limited successes and failures of these efforts.
Mastering Discourses offers an account of why "theory" fails to deal adequately with the politics of discursive cultures and warns that unless critics take much more seriously their own disciplinary inscriptions they will always reproduce structures of power and knowledge that they claim to oppose. Moreover, Bové argues, they will not fulfill the main role of the post-enlightenment intellectual, namely: to respond effectively to the present, through new theoretical and historical formulations that address the changing world of transnational capitalism and its neoliberal ideologies.
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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher

"Bové's brilliant treatment of his subject matter . . . should appeal in its entirety to a broad spectrum of readers. Everyone engaged in some aspect of American studies, cultural studies, and criticism should feel duty bound to confront the provocative theses and painstaking analyses that Bové sets forth in this work."—Joseph Buttigieg, author of Criticism Without Boundaries: Crosscurrents in Postmodern Critical Theory

"This volume proves beyond any doubt that Bové is one of the most provocative and original critical theoreticans writing in America today. . . . [These essays] represent a body of critical writing that is at the cutting edge of the belated debate over the responsibilities of the intellectual."—William Spanos, author of Repetitions: The Postmodern Occasion in Literature and Culture

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780822312451
  • Publisher: Duke University Press Books
  • Publication date: 6/1/1992
  • Series: a boundary 2 book Series
  • Edition description: New Edition
  • Pages: 252

Meet the Author

Paul A. Bové, Professor of English at the University of Pittsburgh, is the author of Intellectuals in Power, In the Wake of Theory, and Destructive Poetics.

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Table of Contents

1 Introduction: Discourse 1
2 The Penitentiary of Reflection: Soren Kierkegaard and Critical Activity 19
3 Variations on Authority: Some Deconstructive Transformations of the New Criticism 47
4 The Metaphysics of Textuality: Marx's Eighteenth Brumaire of Louis Bonaparte and Nietzsche's Use and Abuse of History 65
5 The Ineluctability of Difference: Scientific Pluralism and the Critical Intelligence 88
6 Agriculture and Academe: America's Southern Question 113
7 The Rationality of Disciplines: The Abstract Understanding of Stephen Toulmin 143
8 Reclaiming Criticism: Willful Love in the Tradition of Henry Adams 168
9 Paul de Man: Critic against Consensus 187
10 Dante, Gramsci, and Cultural Criticism 200
11 Madness, Medicine, and the State 215
Notes 231
Index 249
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