The Theory Mess: Deconstruction in Eclipse

Hardcover (Print)
Buy New
Buy New from
Used and New from Other Sellers
Used and New from Other Sellers
from $5.55
Usually ships in 1-2 business days
(Save 93%)
Other sellers (Hardcover)
  • All (10) from $5.55   
  • New (3) from $58.81   
  • Used (7) from $5.55   


Although deconstruction has become a popular catchword, as an intellectual movement it has never entirely caught on within the university. For some in the academy, deconstruction, and Jacques Derrida in particular, are responsible for the demise of accountability in the study of literature.Countering these facile dismissals of Derrida and deconstruction, Herman Rapaport explores the incoherence that has plagued critical theory since the 1960s and the resulting legitimacy crisis in the humanities. Against the backdrop of a rich, informed discussion of Derrida´s writings -and how they have been misconstrued by critics and admirers alike -The Theory Mess investigates the vicissitudes of Anglo-American criticism over the past thirty years and proposes some possibilities for reform.
Read More Show Less

Editorial Reviews

Rapaport (U. of Southhampton) provides an account of the general reception of Jacques Derrida's work in Anglo-American academies, finding in it insight into what has been happening in critical theory there over the past three decades. He argues that the euphoria in the late 1970s that a new theoretical episteme had arrived to flush away the entrenched Englightenment humanism had by the late 1980s soured to cynicism about an overproliferation of theoretical models that come and go. Indeed his very index suggests that there are no longer subjects, only names. Annotation c. Book News, Inc., Portland, OR (
An extensive and careful evaluation, through which Rapaport performs an inestimable service.
Read More Show Less

Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780231121347
  • Publisher: Columbia University Press
  • Publication date: 1/3/2001
  • Pages: 304
  • Lexile: 1630L (what's this?)
  • Product dimensions: 6.31 (w) x 9.32 (h) x 0.69 (d)

Meet the Author

Herman Rapaport is a professor in the Department of English at the University of Southampton. His books include Is There Truth in Art? and Between the Sign and the Gaze.

Columbia University Press

Read More Show Less

Table of Contents

Co-opting Deconstruction
Theory as Postphilosophy: Rosi Braidotti, Geoffrey Hartman, Annette Kolodny
The Misconstruction of Deconstruction: Gerald Graff and Frank Lentricchia
Demonizing Deconstruction: Walter Jackson Bate, RenÇ Wellek, and David Lehman
America is Deconstruction?
A World Apart: Derrida and the Frankfurt School
1980---1987: A World of Difference
Deconstructing Otherwise: Gayatri Chakravorty Spivak
British Developments: The Influence of ÆMDULØScreenÆMDNMØ
Eclipsing Deconstruction: History of Subject-Positions I
Eclipsing Deconstruction: History of Subject-Positions II
Lurching to the Right
Social Acts and Excitable Speech
Vicious Dualisms
Deconstruction of the Social Relation I: Heidegger and Sex
Deconstruction of the Social Relation II: Derrida's Itineraries
Derrida and the Political
Reconceiving the Theory Mess

Read More Show Less

Customer Reviews

Be the first to write a review
( 0 )
Rating Distribution

5 Star


4 Star


3 Star


2 Star


1 Star


Your Rating:

Your Name: Create a Pen Name or

Barnes & Review Rules

Our reader reviews allow you to share your comments on titles you liked, or didn't, with others. By submitting an online review, you are representing to Barnes & that all information contained in your review is original and accurate in all respects, and that the submission of such content by you and the posting of such content by Barnes & does not and will not violate the rights of any third party. Please follow the rules below to help ensure that your review can be posted.

Reviews by Our Customers Under the Age of 13

We highly value and respect everyone's opinion concerning the titles we offer. However, we cannot allow persons under the age of 13 to have accounts at or to post customer reviews. Please see our Terms of Use for more details.

What to exclude from your review:

Please do not write about reviews, commentary, or information posted on the product page. If you see any errors in the information on the product page, please send us an email.

Reviews should not contain any of the following:

  • - HTML tags, profanity, obscenities, vulgarities, or comments that defame anyone
  • - Time-sensitive information such as tour dates, signings, lectures, etc.
  • - Single-word reviews. Other people will read your review to discover why you liked or didn't like the title. Be descriptive.
  • - Comments focusing on the author or that may ruin the ending for others
  • - Phone numbers, addresses, URLs
  • - Pricing and availability information or alternative ordering information
  • - Advertisements or commercial solicitation


  • - By submitting a review, you grant to Barnes & and its sublicensees the royalty-free, perpetual, irrevocable right and license to use the review in accordance with the Barnes & Terms of Use.
  • - Barnes & reserves the right not to post any review -- particularly those that do not follow the terms and conditions of these Rules. Barnes & also reserves the right to remove any review at any time without notice.
  • - See Terms of Use for other conditions and disclaimers.
Search for Products You'd Like to Recommend

Recommend other products that relate to your review. Just search for them below and share!

Create a Pen Name

Your Pen Name is your unique identity on It will appear on the reviews you write and other website activities. Your Pen Name cannot be edited, changed or deleted once submitted.

Your Pen Name can be any combination of alphanumeric characters (plus - and _), and must be at least two characters long.

Continue Anonymously
Sort by: Showing 1 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted July 7, 2001

    Modern humanities for mere humans

    I suppose the author needed a hook to get the book published, so he billed it as a provocative defense of the controversial author Derrida. The book does make the relevant points defending Derrida and explaining why such a defense is necessary and desireable. In so doing, the book provides the reader a lightning tour of Derrida's work, something surprisingly hard to find otherwise in concise and comprehensive form. But best of all and least billed by book jacket and other reviewers, The Theory Mess gives a historical review of the past thirty years' development of such things as critical theory and 'social studies'. The reader should have some tolerance and facility with postmodern writing styles to easily read this book, but of its sort, it is highly readable and admirably concise. Overall, an outstanding read for the not-quite-beginner looking for an overview of the field, a more technical and less argumentative alternative to Bloom's 'Closing of the American Mind'.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
Sort by: Showing 1 Customer Reviews

If you find inappropriate content, please report it to Barnes & Noble
Why is this product inappropriate?
Comments (optional)