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.
Table of Contents
Acknowledgments, References, Preface to the 2004 Edition, 1. Introduction: The Peculiar Language of Literature, 2. Nature, Art, and the Supplernent in Renaissance Literary Theory: Puttenham's Poetics of Decorum, 3. Romanticism and the Language of Nature: The Project of Wordsworth's Preface, 4. Language as HistoryIHistory as Language: Saussure and the Romance of Etymology, 5. Literature as Imitation: Jakobson, Joyce, and the Art of Onomatopoeia, 6. Literature as Deviation: Syntax, Style, and the Body in Ulysses, 7. Unpacking the Portmanteau; or, Who's Afraid of Finnegans Wake?, 8. Deconstructing Digression: The Backbone of Finnegans Wake and the Margins of Culture, Works Cited, Index
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.