Buy New
  • List Price: $46.95
  • Save: $2.35 (5%)
Temporarily out of stock.
Order now and we'll deliver when available.
Order now and we'll deliver when available. We'll e-mail you with an estimated delivery date as soon as we have more information. Your account will only be charged when we ship the item.
Ships from and sold by
Gift-wrap available.
Have one to sell? Sell on Amazon
Flip to back Flip to front
Listen Playing... Paused   You're listening to a sample of the Audible audio edition.
Learn more
See this image

Is There Truth in Art? Paperback – December 19, 1996

ISBN-13: 978-0801483530 ISBN-10: 0801483530 Edition: 1st

Buy New
Price: $44.60
9 New from $30.21 26 Used from $2.08
Amazon Price New from Used from
"Please retry"
"Please retry"
$30.21 $2.08


Save up to 90% on Textbooks
Rent textbooks, buy textbooks, or get up to 80% back when you sell us your books. Shop Now

Product Details

  • Paperback: 248 pages
  • Publisher: Cornell University Press; 1 edition (December 19, 1996)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0801483530
  • ISBN-13: 978-0801483530
  • Product Dimensions: 9.1 x 5.9 x 0.8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 8.8 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #3,839,716 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews


"Rapaport calmly and thoroughly engages the relation between Heidegger and art. This is an area that deserves further study, and Rapaport's book is an innovative contribution to it."—Choice, Vol. 34, No. 10, June 1997

More About the Author

I am a chair professor of English at Wake Forest University and have just published The Literary Theory Toolkit: A Compendium of Concepts and Methods with Wiley-Blackwell.

The Toolkit is based on thirty years of actual teaching in the undergraduate classroom and is part of a successful series published by Wiley- Blackwell in which readers can get quick and reliable introductions to a wide variety of topics. You can read this book straight through or just skip to the sections whose topics interest you. I tried to make the explanations as accessible as possible and I offer lots of very short, original interpretations of literary works to show how the critical concepts could be applied.

There is considerable variety in this book, and an attempt was made to cover literary works from all historical periods, which means that I attempted to preserve the traditional canon of English works while augmenting them with newer developments in literary writing.

The first chapter provides the big picture, as it were, of critical theory mainly from the mid-twentieth century on. Major schools and trends are integrated into this overview, which stresses the well known paradigm shift within English to identity politics and social constructionism. How and why things developed the way they did in the field of English is a major feature of this chapter.

Chapter two is on approaches to studying narrative that I've found very useful in the classroom and covers a wide range of possible literary texts for study, some canonical, others more recent (Morrison, Gordimer, Rushdie).

Chapter three concerns poetry and touches on medieval, metaphysical, eighteenth century, Victorian, modern, and postmodern approaches to poetry writing (for example, language poetry).

Chapter four is on performance and touches on topics such as traditional theatre, epic theatre, guerrilla theatre, theories of acting, self-fashioning, performance art, the happening, and video.

Chapter five takes a look at theories from a systems perspective, because this makes the theories much more logical and easier to understand than by way of talking about "schools" in which one merely defines a theory as a set of arbitrary doctrines.

Chapter six, finally, provides four major approaches to studying social theories that have become foundational for literary study. These four approaches are basic to a political understanding of literary works and include study of the public sphere (Habermas, Laclau and Mouffe), ideology critique, theories of power, and theories of the social relation (crucial to identitarian politics).

Essentially the aim of writing this text was to provide reliable introductions to general literary critical/theoretical study that aren't merely introductory (simplistic in a way that goes over things everyone already knows)and that therefore can serve as a text in which there are multiple points of departure for further inquiry. Also, care was taken to include materials that I know from experience work well for students in the classroom, whether in a large lecture/seminar format or in a small class format.

Naturally, given how massive the field of English has become, there are many topics that couldn't be included or developed at great length (for example, aesthetic theory). Whereas I discuss post-colonialism, global studies, feminism, and so on, I think we would have to agree that these studies are so vast and detailed that they really require separate toolkits all by themselves, given the complex internal debates, multi-faceted social orientations, and particular concepts and methodologies.

Naturally, I'd be interested in hearing from readers and those who use this book in class about how it fared as a learning tool. - hr

Customer Reviews

5.0 out of 5 stars
5 star
4 star
3 star
2 star
1 star
See the customer review
Share your thoughts with other customers

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

8 of 8 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on April 22, 1997
Format: Paperback
The question posed by Herman Rapaport, in the title of this book, is intended both seriously and ironically. It is not Rapaport's purpose to debate
whether or not truth resides in art. The title points rather to his belief that truth needs to be reconceptualized in the light of continuing efforts to deconstruct and to discredit the notion
of truthfulness in art. The question of art's truthfulness persists because truth in art is neither an entity or content that has been injected into the work, nor a transcendental concept or ground that exists outside it. Moreover, when used in relation to art, Rapaport says, truth means something quite different from conventional definitions of the term. Indeed, a central question that informs the book is the return of truth at the far side of its deconstruction.
IS THERE TRUTH IN ART? includes chapters on atonal music, environmental art, modern German and French poetry, contemporary French fiction, experimental French film, and a photograph taken by the National Socialists during the destruction of the Warsaw ghetto. Determining how truth can be said to occur in these examples, Rapaport maintains, requires analysis in each instance. He draws chiefly on the thinkers who have radically reformulated questions about truth-Nietzsche, Heidegger,Derrida, and Lévinas-and uses their writings to explore the works under analysis.
JOHN G.HANHARDT,director of the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, says about this book that it is "A superbly crafted collection of essays that link such works as Richard Long's installation pieces, Paul Celan's poems, and Marguerite Duras's films in an incisive assessment of modern and contemporary art's relevance to philosophy and our times".
Read more ›
Comment Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback. If this review is inappropriate, please let us know.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again

Customer Images