Criticism After Theory From Shakespeare to Virginia Woolf  book cover
1st Edition

Criticism After Theory From Shakespeare to Virginia Woolf

  • Available for pre-order. Item will ship after April 29, 2022
ISBN 9781032244235
April 29, 2022 Forthcoming by Routledge
208 Pages

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Book Description

Language and materiality are not distinct but one and the same - history, society, the psychological subject, and the environment are systems of signs. The Politics of Form argues that criticism after theory is defined by synthesis and continuity rather than by conflict and change, rejecting claims that the legacy of high theory has been superseded New Historicism, post-colonial criticism, gender studies, environmental criticism, and archive studies by demonstrating that they all derive from it. Meisel begins with chapters on Saussure and Derrida, Bakhtin and Shakespeare, and Freud and Foucault followed by chapters on Victorian and American fiction, D.H. Lawrence and modern poetry, Virginia Woolf and Melanie Klein, and the historicist tropology of psychoanalysis. It concludes with a coda in life writing on the author's epileptic disability. Stressing the importance of shared critical labor, this volume is invaluable to students and scholars of literary criticism and literary theory.

Table of Contents


Introduction: The Durability of the Linguistic Metaphor

Chapter 1: "The Word Within": Egger, Saussure, Derrida

Chapter 2: Bakhtin, Shakespeare, and the Novel

Chapter 3: Deferred Action from Freud to Foucault

Chapter 4: Form and History from Dickens to Woolf

Chapter 5: Henry James and the Body English

Chapter 6: Sinclair Lewis and the American Language

Chapter 7: Black and Tan: DuBois, Faulkner, and The Joy Luck Club

Chapter 8: D.H. Lawrence: The Poem As Environment

Chapter 9: Mrs. Woolf, Mrs. Klein

Chapter 10: The Feudal Unconscious: Capitalism and the Family Romance

Coda: The Challenge of Temporal Lobe Epilepsy


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Perry Meisel, Professor of English at New York University for over forty years until his retirement in 2016, has written on literature, music, theory, psychoanalysis, and culture since the 1970s. His articles have appeared in The New York Times Book Review, The Village Voice, Partisan Review, The Nation, The Atlantic, Raritan, October, and many other publications. He is the author of The Myth of Popular Culture (2010), The Literary Freud (2007), The Cowboy and the Dandy (1999), The Myth of the Modern (1987), The Absent Father (1980), and Thomas Hardy (1972). He is co-editor, with Haun Saussy, of Saussure's Course in General Linguistics (2011), and co-editor, with Walter Kendrick, of Bloomsbury/Freud: The Letters of James and Alix Strachey, 1924-25 (1985). He is also editor of Freud: A Collection of Critical Essays (1981). He received his B.A. Summa cum laude from Yale in 1970. He also received his M.Phil. (1973) and Ph.D. (1975) from Yale. He is the recipient of Yale's Wrexham Prize and Thomas G. Bergin Cup and research grants from the National Endowment for the Humanities and the Spencer Foundation. He is a member of Phi Beta Kappa and PEN and has been a Fellow of the New York Institute for the Humanities and the Institute for the History of Psychiatry at Weill-Cornell Medical College.