Pleasure and Change: The Aesthetics of Canon

Overview


The question of the canon has been the subject of debate in academic circles for over fifteen years. Pleasure and Change contains two lectures on this important subject by the distinguished literary critic Sir Frank Kermode. In essays that were originally delivered as Tanner Lectures at Berkeley in November of 2001, Kermode reinterprets the question of canon formation in light of two related and central notions: pleasure and change. He asks how aesthetic pleasure informs what we find valuable, and how this ...
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Pleasure and Change: The Aesthetics of Canon

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Overview


The question of the canon has been the subject of debate in academic circles for over fifteen years. Pleasure and Change contains two lectures on this important subject by the distinguished literary critic Sir Frank Kermode. In essays that were originally delivered as Tanner Lectures at Berkeley in November of 2001, Kermode reinterprets the question of canon formation in light of two related and central notions: pleasure and change. He asks how aesthetic pleasure informs what we find valuable, and how this perception changes over time. Kermode also explores the role of chance, observing the connections between canon formation and unintentional and sometimes even random circumstance. Geoffrey Hartmann (Yale University), John Guillory (New York University), and Carey Perloff (director of the American Conservatory Theatre) offer incisive comments on these essays, to which Kermode responds in a lively rejoinder. The volume begins with a helpful introduction by Robert Alter. The result is a stimulating and accessible discussion of a highly significant cultural debate.
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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher

"A refreshing departure from the nasty academic jousting that often passes for a debate about the canon.... [Kermode's] reasoned advocacy is a reminder why literature and criticism are equipment for living."--Bookforum

"Most impressive and satisfying.... It addresses the heritage and the literary culture of our time with greater subtlety than any other writing I know."--Charles Rosen, Times Literary Supplement (International Books of the Year 2004)

"Kermode's wit and impressive breadth of reference make Pleasure and Change a compelling contribution to a debate that shows no sign of approaching a resolution."--Adam Smyth, Times Literary Supplement

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780195309355
  • Publisher: Oxford University Press, USA
  • Publication date: 4/28/2006
  • Series: Berkeley Tanner Lectures Series
  • Edition description: New Edition
  • Pages: 112
  • Product dimensions: 7.40 (w) x 5.00 (h) x 0.30 (d)

Meet the Author

Sir Frank Kermode is Professor Emeritus, University of Cambridge.

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Table of Contents

Introduction, Robert Alter
Pleasure and Change
1. Pleasure, Frank Kermode
2. Change, Frank Kermode
Comments
3. The Passing of the Canon, Geoffrey Hartman
4. It Must Be Abstract, John Guillory
5. The Artist and the Canon, Carey Perloff
Reply to Commentators
6. On the Comments of the Discussants, Frank Kermode
Index

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