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After the New Criticism Paperback – July 15, 1981

ISBN-13: 978-0226471983 ISBN-10: 0226471985 Edition: 1ST

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 398 pages
  • Publisher: University Of Chicago Press; 1ST edition (July 15, 1981)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0226471985
  • ISBN-13: 978-0226471983
  • Product Dimensions: 6 x 0.9 x 9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.2 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 3.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (4 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,567,525 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

About the Author

Frank Lentricchia is professor of English at the University of California, Irvine.

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Customer Reviews

3.2 out of 5 stars
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

10 of 12 people found the following review helpful By Tony Lee on April 4, 2002
Format: Hardcover
I am currently reading After the New Criticism, and while casually surfing through Amazon, thought I'd check out what some others had said about it. I was very surprised to see a reviewer from Catania, Sicily give it one and star and an adverse review.
This is a rich, condensed, and lucidly written account of a vast topic: the 20 years in American literary criticism spanning the decline of new criticism and the advent of poststructuralism. Naturally a narrative which aims at traversing so vast a terrain will have limitations and will be unable to comprehensively address each specific theorist, school and philosophy it examines. Nevertheless, to condemn the book for being "inaccurate and ... misleading" goes too far. To my mind Lentricchia does an admirable job of concisely summing up the essential positions of the major players in controversies and battles of the 60s and 70s. Far from being dated, the book historically contextualizes many of the key theoretical ideas of these decades, thus allowing students of the current critical scene to trace genealogies of influence and reaction forward to the issues that engage us today.
This book is a good beginning point for learning about critical theory in literary studies. It is no substitute for reading the theorists themselves; however it provides a useful and comprehensible map for exploring regions notable for obscurity and intellectual difficulty.
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8 of 11 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on June 20, 1997
Format: Hardcover
This book represents an awesome performance of critical thinking. It traces literary discourse back to the thirties and forties, the period of the "New Criticism", which basically meant an abstracted reading of works from their original context. The new critics were in many cases formalists in that they look for internal coherence and unity rather than references to time and place. The book includes extented discussions of modern philosophies, including existentialism and phenomenology. A synopsis would show a move from myth criticism to existentialism to structuralism and concludes with deconstruction/post-structuralism,i.e. the advent of Derrida. Lentricchia is concerned throughout with showing the limitations of all these approaches and he claims that we need to find some sort of connection between life and literature. His touchstone is "History"--the way from thought to action. Alas, he hopes Foucault will show the way, but ultimately, as he admits later, he too succumbed to kind of formalism. Anyone who is curious about modern critical discourse will profit from a reading of this magnificant book
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14 of 20 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on November 17, 1999
Format: Paperback
As Lentricchia's best-known work reaches its twentieth anniversary, its half-truths and caricatures seem more misleading than ever. For a long time this book together with Eagleton's Literary Theory served as basic introductions to undergraduates (and slow graduate students) into what was then current critical debate and the history leading up to it. How many must have been shocked to go on and later actually read the work of the critics Lentricchia caricatures only to find out how much richer and more nuanced their work was than Lentricchia had described it. And, alas, how many never went back to the originals because, so misled, they thought they now didn't need to. The disappointing intellectual life of late 90's criticism can in part be laid at the feet of Lentricchia and polemicists like him who reduced scholarly life and serious intellectual debate to comic book polemics.
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3 of 4 people found the following review helpful By A. Lowry on September 11, 2007
Format: Paperback
What "a reader" said, and then some. Lentricchia famously renounced Theory and all its devices in a "Lingua Franca" essay, but the seeds of that repentance were already evident in "After the New Criticism," a case study in ressentiment.

The book is interesting (hence 2 stars not 1), not for what it says about Bloom or de Man, but for the fact of its being so widely received as a vade mecum to lit theory. But for heaven's sake, if you want to know what de Man thought, read "The Resistance to Theory" (the essay not the book), or something else BY the man.
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