- Paperback: 376 pages
- Publisher: Penguin Books (February 1, 1993)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 0140170782
- ISBN-13: 978-0140170788
- Product Dimensions: 7 x 1 x 5 inches
- Shipping Weight: 8 ounces
- Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars See all reviews (2 customer reviews)
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,584,292 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Wild Orchids and Trotsky: Messages from American Universities Paperback – February 1, 1993
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From Library Journal
This collection of autobiographical essays, written by those whom Roger Kimball calls "tenured radicals" ( Tenured Radicals , LJ 4/1/90), attempts to open lines of communication regarding the new liberal arts education. The 11 articles and two interviews (with Edward Said and Harold Bloom) represent a group of prominent writers of the new PC (politically correct) humanities departments, which are (according to the authors) maligned by conservatives such as Dinesh D'Souza ( Illiberal Education , LJ 3/15/91), David Lehman ( Signs of the Times , LJ 3/1/91), and the National Endowment for the Humanities. Instead of discussing the decline of humane learning owing to the advance of multicultural studies, feminism, deconstruction, or other ills, the authors explain that a new humanism is emerging as an international doctrine without boundaries by nations or other groupings. This is an interesting compilation of personal testimonies on a controversial subject. The lead article alone, by Richard Rorty, makes this a worthy addition to humanities collections.
- Arla Lindgren, St. John's Univ., New York
Copyright 1992 Reed Business Information, Inc.
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Top Customer Reviews
Judith Frank teaches both noncanonical and canonical writers. William Kerrigan cites a theory explosion in the study of English in the 1970's. In historical scholarship Kerrigan began to notice that footnotes were thinning. Kerrigan's response to the theory explosion is to love literature and learning and nothing else.
Michael Berube observes that to be engaged by theory is to be engaged by conflict among theories. Berube was liberated by Baktinian emphasis on narrative discourse. Wittgenstein held that the meaning of a word is its use in the language. For Derrida all utterances are dependent on context. Canonicity and neglect are historically significant phenomena according to Berube. He cites the cases of Thomas Pynchon and Melvin Tolson.
Harold Bloom believes that Aristotle ruined Western literary criticism. At one time Bloom read Emerson and Freud concurrently and exclusively. He teaches Freud and Shakespeare. Bloom has said that Updike is a minor novelist with a major style. Bloom has taken over an idea of the agonistic from Burckhardt and Nietzsche.
Susan Fraiman notes that women have been virtually excluded from the canon. A feminist scholar, Susan Fraiman is now teaching at the University of Virginia English department in the midst of a demographic shift in the academy. Edith Wharton has now emerged as an author in her own right, not as a lesser Henry James.
The question is who gets to decide what counts as quality. It is contended there is no evidence that the faculty has abandoned traditional texts. Formerly out groups do not Balkanize themselves in the academy. Eve Kosofsky Sedgwick says gay- lesbian studies is haunted by the suicides of adolescents. Sedgwick speaks of a sort of visceral identification with some kinds of writing. Students have bones to pick with the teachers and each other in the gay and lesbian courses.
Houston Baker Jr. thinks that rap may create new room for new people. Rap is the poetry of youth. It uses the collage style. J. Hillis Miller contends that Matthew Arnold feared anarchy because he experienced it in himself. Arnold always gives the reader the tools to dismantle affirmations. Richard Poirier opines that getting to work in the field of Emerson studies means being actively involved with words.
This is a significant opportunity for the lay reader to look at the current state of literary studies.