Ordinary Language Criticism: Literary Thinking after Cavell after Wittgenstein

Overview


Marking a return of literary study from the remote reaches of abstraction to the realm of the immediate, the particular, and the real in which language and literature truly live, the essays in this volume articulate a productive, new critical approach: ordinary language criticism. With roots in the ordinary language philosophy derived especially from Wittgenstein in the early twentieth century, and in the ideas of American pragmatic philosophy propounded and extended by Stanley Cavell, this approach seeks to ...
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Overview


Marking a return of literary study from the remote reaches of abstraction to the realm of the immediate, the particular, and the real in which language and literature truly live, the essays in this volume articulate a productive, new critical approach: ordinary language criticism. With roots in the ordinary language philosophy derived especially from Wittgenstein in the early twentieth century, and in the ideas of American pragmatic philosophy propounded and extended by Stanley Cavell, this approach seeks to return criticism to its grounds in the natural language we all speak; to expose the terms of our engagement with narratives, arguments, and concepts-what Wittgenstein and Cavell call the "criteria" of our writing and reading.

Resisting master formulations and overarching theories, Ordinary Language Criticism does not so much dismiss the excitement of the last two decades of literary theorizing as it reminds us of the excitement of the shared common enterprises to which theory may still contribute. In this, the volume and the model it offers have wide implications for the academy, in which a widespread ersatz-sophistication has shorted the circuit between literary works and the real lives of those reading and teaching them.

With a definitive introduction by editors Kenneth Dauber and Walter Jost, and elaborations and practical examples by major figures such as Cavell himself, Martha Nussbaum, Marjorie Perloff, Anthony Cascardi, and Charles Altieri, among others, this volume clearly shows and explains how ordinary language criticism differs from current trends and what it exactly it can accomplish in theory and practice. These essays prove that by attending more faithfully to what we actually do when we read, we can make reading more productive--can reveal how extraordinary and rich, how really sophisticated, the ordinary actually is.

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher

"This is a major collection, one of the most exciting works in literary criticism I have read in a great while. The editors have drawn together a wide-ranging, stellar group of essays that elaborate and complicate their Introduction in fascinating ways. I would go out and buy a copy immediately, if only to refer to it more conveniently in future work." --Clare Cavanagh, Associate Professor, Slavic Literatures, Northwestern University
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780810119604
  • Publisher: Northwestern University Press
  • Publication date: 6/28/2003
  • Series: Rethinking Theory Series
  • Edition description: New Edition
  • Pages: 353
  • Product dimensions: 6.00 (w) x 9.00 (h) x 0.70 (d)

Meet the Author


Kenneth Dauber is a professor of English at the State University of New York at Buffalo. He is the author of The Idea of Authorship in America.
Walter Jost is an associate professor of English at the University of Virginia. He has recently completed a book entitled Rhetorical Investigations: Studies in Ordinary Language Criticism.
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Table of Contents


Introduction: The Varieties of Ordinary Language Criticism, by Kenneth Dauber and Walter Jost
1. Wittgenstein's Philosophizing and Literary Theorizing, by Austin E. Quigley
2. Stanley Cavell's Redemptive Reading: A Philosophical Labor in Progress, by Edward Duffy
3. The Window: Knowledge of Other Minds in Virginia Woolf's To the Lighthouse, by Martha C. Nussbaum
4. Ordinary Language Brought to Grief: "Home Burial," by Walter Jost
5. Reading, Writing, Re-Membering: What Cavell and Heidegger Call Thinking, by Stephen Mulhall
6. The Grammar of Telling: The Example of Don Quixote, by A. J. Cascardi
7. The Shadow of a Magnitude: Quotation as Canonicity in Proust and Beckett, by William Flesch
8. The Self, Reflected: Wittgenstein, Cavell, and the Autobiographical Situation, by Garry L. Hagberg
9. Cavell's Imperfect Perfectionism, by Charles Altieri
10. The Poetics of Description: Wittgenstein on the Aesthetic, by Marjorie Perloff
11. In Which Henry James Strikes Bedrock, by Ralph M. Berry
12. "The Accomplishment of Inhabitation": Danto, Cavell, and the Argument of American Poetry, by Gerald L. Bruns
13. Cavell and Hölderlin on Human Immigrancy, by Richard Eldridge
14. Moonstruck, or How to Ruin Everything, by William Day
15. Beginning at the Beginning in Genesis, by Kenneth Dauber
Afterword, by Stanley Cavell
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