Speculative Formalism: Literature, Theory, and the Critical Present - Diaeresis (Hardback)
  • Speculative Formalism: Literature, Theory, and the Critical Present - Diaeresis (Hardback)

Speculative Formalism: Literature, Theory, and the Critical Present - Diaeresis (Hardback)

Hardback 256 Pages / Published: 30/07/2017
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Speculative Formalism proposes a new theory of form and formalization, with particular reference to literature. Tom Eyers claims that literature works not through any kind of reflection or mimesis, nor through any overrunning of literary forms by their historical contexts or determinants. Rather, he argues that literary texts, insofar as they are able to at least partially break free from their prior determinants and refigure those determinants anew, embody a formal speculative capacity that prevents their final absorption or neutralization by those prior conditions, even as the result may well be stasis or immobility rather than, say, contestation or critique. This capacity will be shown to be as enabling of a transport outward from literature's seemingly sealed bounds of form and formalism as methods are more regularly assumed to ignore just such a transport, sealing literary language within itself. Speculative Formalism, as a theory of literary form in particular, will identify a shared incompletion across both literary language and its various outsides-materiality, history, politics, nature-that, far from preventing literature from interfacing with those outsides, rather makes such a nonmimetic reference possible, in a connective movement that puts impasses to creative use.

Publisher: Northwestern University Press
ISBN: 9780810134317
Number of pages: 256
Weight: 499 g
Dimensions: 229 x 152 x 20 mm

"This thoughtful and ambitious book takes on a host of other critics and issues in contemporary critical debate, staking out a position of its own in a powerful and resourceful discussion. Eyers is an extremely smart and well-informed young critic." --Jonathan Culler, author of Structuralist Poetics: Structuralism, Linguistics, and the Study of Literature
"Tom Eyers renews our understanding of what formalism can mean in this wide-ranging study, which engages 'the critical present' by situating an incisive critique of contemporary trends such as 'surface' or 'distant' reading within the long arc of critical and philosophical discussions of formalism and form. Threading his way through a rich archive of literary and critical texts by major figures (Ponge, Crane, Stevens; Althusser, Badiou, de Man, Jameson), Eyers recovers an understanding of form as a site of conflict, and shows us how literary self-referentiality, far from constituting a prison house of language, actually opens literature to the world." --Marc Redfield, professor of comparative literature and English at Brown University and author of The Rhetoric of Terror: Reflections on 9/11 and the War on Terror
"Tom Eyers's brilliant Speculative Formalism . . . is one of the better theory books to have appeared in recent years. . . . The book draws an important line in the sand with respect to reclaiming a space for the interpretation of literature and culture, and makes a claim for the revival of the humanities generally, which have become impoverished of late in the absence of serious hermeneutical reflection and practice." --Herman Rapaport, Wake Forest University

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