The material elements of writing have long been undervalued; but analysis of these elementssound, signature, letterscan transform our understanding of major texts. Tom Cohen argues in this book that in an era of representational criticism the role of close reading has been overlooked. Through astonishing new readings of writers such as Plato, Bakhtin, Poe, Whitman, and Conrad, Professor Cohen exposes the limitations of new historicism and neo-pragmatism, and demonstrates how the "materiality of language" challenges representational models of meaning imposed by the canon.
Table of Contents
Introduction: the legs of sense; Part I. Dialogue and Inscription: 1. Othello, Bakhtin and the death(s) of dialogue; 2. P.s.: Plato's scene of reading in the Protagoras; Part II. Parables of Exteriority - Materality in 'Classic' American Texts: 3. Too legit to quit: the dubious genealogies of pragmatism; 4. Poe's Foot d'Or: ruinous rhyme and Nietzschean recurrence (sound); 5. Only the dead know Brooklyn ferry (voice); 6. The letters of the law: 'Bartleby' as hypogrammatic romance (letters); Part III. Pre-Posterous Modernisms: 7. Conrad's fault (signature); 8. Miss Emily, c'est moi: the defacement of modernism in Faulkner (inscription and social form); 9. Hitchcock and the death of (Mr.) Memory (technology of the visible); Coda: post-humanist reading.