On Deconstruction: Theory and Criticism after Structuralism, 2nd Edition (Paperback) book cover

On Deconstruction

Theory and Criticism after Structuralism, 2nd Edition

By Jonathan Culler


331 pages

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Paperback: 9780415461511
pub: 2008-02-15
Hardback: 9781138834415
pub: 2015-07-20

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With an emphasis on readers and reading, Jonathan Culler considers deconstruction in terms of the questions raised by psychoanalytic, feminist, and reader-response criticism. On Deconstruction is both an authoritative synthesis of Derrida's thought and an analysis of the often-problematic relationship between his philosophical writings and the work of literary critics.

Culler's book is an indispensable guide for anyone interested in understanding modern critical thought. This edition marks the twenty-fifth anniversary of the first publication of this landmark work and includes a new preface by the author that surveys deconstruction's history since the 1980s and assesses its place within cultural theory today.


"Academic literary criticism continues to be dominated by 'theory' and the struggle between deconstructionist and humanist approaches to the business of reading. Jonathan Culler's On Deconstruction is a typically patient, thoughtful, illuminating exposition of the ideas of Jacques Derrida and their application to literary studies." David Lodge, Commonweal

"Culler is lucid and thorough, can move into and out of other people's arguments without losing the sense of his own voice and argument, and can manage to seem equally at home with Freudianism, feminism, and traditional literary criticism." Times Literary Supplement

"As a practicing critic Culler has always been a deconstructor, and he approaches this topic with special immediacy and force. In On Deconstruction he offers generous summaries of numerous representative articles and a fine annotated bibliography … His magisterial way of tracing particular topics and techniques through our diaspora of critical texts, and his provocative analyses, cannote fail to focus any critic's thinking about deconstruction." Modern Language Quarterly

"Gifted with grace and clarity, Culler provides us with a stimulating survey of contemporary literary criticism." Antioch Review

Table of Contents

Preface to New Edition. Preface to First Edition Introduction Chapter 1: Readers and Reading 1. New Fortunes 2. Reading as a Woman 3. Stories of Reading Chapter 2: Deconstruction 1. Writing and Logocentrism 2. Meaning and Iterability 3. Grafts and Graft 4. Institutions and Inversions 5. Critical Consequences Chapter 3: Deconstructive Criticism Bibliography. Index

About the Author

Jonathan Culler is Professor of English at Cornell University, USA.

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