In this book, which was first published in 1983, Frank Kermode looks in particular at the revived Russian Formalism, a highly original body of literary theory that flourished in the years immediately following the Revolution, and at the work of Roman Jakobson, one of its most distinguished exponents. He discusses its modern ‘structuralist’ descendants, recalling the importance of Roland Barthes and the invigorating effect of his fertile and surprising mind. He considers also the work of Foucault, Laca and Levi-Strauss, as well as that of Jacques Derrida, which uses a novel and de(con)structive method of analysis to question to tacit assumptions on which structuralism is based. In an opening chapter, Professor Kermode surveys his relationship with the new theory, explaining that it is a relation from which he has benefited without ever feeling disposed to join a movement. These essays will be of interest to students of literature.
Acknowledgements; Prologue; 1. The English Novel, circa 1907 2. Local and Provincial Restrictions 3. The Use of the Codes 4. Recognition and Deception 5. On Reading Novels 6. Secrets and Narrative Sequence 7. Can We Say Absolutely Anything We Like? 8. Institutional Control of Interpretation 9. Instances of Interpretation: Death and Survival; Appendix: The Single Correct Interpretation; Index
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