Why must critics unmask and demystify literary works? Why do they believe that language is always withholding some truth, that the critic's task is to reveal the unsaid or repressed? In this book, Rita Felski examines critique, the dominant form of interpretation in literary studies, and situates it as but one method among many, a method with strong allure-but also definite limits. Felski argues that critique is a sensibility best captured by Paul Ricoeur's phrase "the hermeneutics of suspicion." She shows how this suspicion toward texts forecloses many potential readings while providing no guarantee of rigorous or radical thought. Instead, she suggests, literary scholars should try what she calls "postcritical reading": rather than looking behind a text for hidden causes and motives, literary scholars should place themselves in front of it and reflect on what it suggests and makes possible. By bringing critique down to earth and exploring new modes of interpretation, The Limits of Critique offers a fresh approach to the relationship between artistic works and the social world.
Publisher: The University of Chicago Press
Number of pages: 232
Weight: 386 g
Dimensions: 218 x 142 x 20 mm
"Timely, well-written, and compelling. This is that rare book that offers persuasive answers to a question many literary scholars are asking today, yet also promises to open new conversations that will continue into the future. The Limits of Critique should be required reading for all lovers of literature."--Mary Poovey, New York University
"A major theorist with a lively prose and an equally lively use of metaphor, Felski has always been where the action is. She has now written a book that will get all of us to take another look at what we've been doing. The Limits of Critique will shock some and elate others. No one will feel neutral, and no one can afford not to read this book."--Wai Chee Dimock, Yale University