First published in 1988, Peculiar Language is now established as one of the most important discussions of the language of literature. This thought-provoking book challenges traditional notions of literary criticism, arguing that all attempts by writers, critics and literary theorists to define the language of literature have involved self-contradiction. Through examination of key moments in literary history, Derek Attridge demonstrates that such contradictions in accounts of literary language are embedded in our cultural concept of 'literature' and asserts that in order to appreciate the forces that determine the limits of literary language, we must look beyond the realm of the 'literary' and embrace the wider political and social sphere. Re-issued as a result of sustained critical interest in the book, this edition includes a new preface by the author.
Derek Attridge is Professor of English at the University of York, England. He is the author and editor of leading texts on fiction, poetry and literary theory.