Difference Unbound: The Rise of Pluralism in Literature and Criticism

Difference Unbound: The Rise of Pluralism in Literature and Criticism

by Stamos Metzidakis



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Difference Unbound: The Rise of Pluralism in Literature and Criticism by Stamos Metzidakis

This is the first book to examine the precise relationship between pluralism and the production of Western literature and criticism from the eighteenth century to the present. It underscores the historical rather than exclusively epistemological reasons behind what is here called "the rise of literary pluralism." This rise entails, on the one hand, the modern day phenomenon of an ever-increasing number of readings of both canonical and contemporary works of verbal art; and, on the other, our ever-growing body of literature written with an eye towards different types of characters, situations, forms and styles. Reviewing a wide range of authors and thinkers-from German, French and English Romantics to Anglo-American and European poststructuralist theorists-it shows how and why the current literary emphasis on difference derives from an unquestioned allegiance to the notion of cultural pluralism. While never denying the value of the latter, it seeks instead to analyze the oftentimes unquestioned implications of this historically-situated belief within the specific realm of literary studies.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9789051837674
Publisher: Brill Academic Publishers, Inc.
Publication date: 02/29/2000
Pages: 250

About the Author

Stamos Metzidakis is Professor of French and Comparative Literature at Washington University in Saint Louis. He is the author of two other books, Repetition and Semiotics: Interpreting Prose Poems (1986) and Understanding French Poetry: Essays for a New Millennium (1994, 2nd edition 2001), which he co-authored and edited. In addition, he has edited special issues of the widely read journal L’ Esprit créateur on André Breton and prose poetry, and published over seventy other book chapters, articles and reviews on a wide range of topics. Currently he is finishing two new book manuscripts, Recollecting French America: A Personal Chronology and Des lignes et des lettres: essais néo-formalistes in French.

Table of Contents

Mary Ann Caws: Preface
Stamos Metzidakis: Author’s Note on the Second Edition

The “Problem” of Literary Pluralism

Changing Approaches: From Texts to Readers (and back)
Recent Approaches to Critical Pluralism
The Prose Poem’s Deconstruction of Literariness

Modern Literary Quests for Originality
The Modern Promotion of Different Forms
Breton’s Theory and Practice of Originality

Critical Progress
Progress and Modern Literature
Towards a “Fin de siècle” Criticism
Two Modern Types of Progress
Trans-historical Reasons for Critical Progress

Conclusion: Re-viewing Pluralism and Literature

Index of Names Cited
Index of Concepts

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