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The Critical Double, The Critical Double, 0817307109, 0-8173-0710-9, 978-0-8173-0710-3, 9780817307103,

The Critical Double
Figurative Meaning in Aesthetic Discourse
by Paul Gordon

Trade Cloth
1994. 200 pp.
978-0-8173-0710-3
Price:  $34.95 s

Over 25 centuries ago, the Greek philosopher and sophist Protagoras equated his famous notion of “man ids the measure of all things” with another that declared “on every question there are two opposing answers, including this one.” The purpose of The Critical Double is to demonstrate that this second Protagorean notion constitutes one of the fundamental principles of aesthetic and rhetorical theory.
 
This work formulates, for the firs time, a succinct model for the deconstructive analysis of aesthetic discourse. While the stated purpose of this work is to redefine a critical methodology, its originality lies in its emphasis on the notion of duality, or doubling, as the essential way to distinguish aesthetic from other forms of discourse.
 
The first two chapters, on metaphor and rhetoric respectively, establish a solid basis for this model, for theories of metaphor and rhetoric have almost always been clearly marked by their emphasis on duality. The remaining six chapters all develop this model in their respective contexts.

Paul Gordon is Assistant Professor of English at the University of Colorado at Boulder. J. Hillis Miller is Professor of English at the University of California-Irvine.

“It is a significant addition to the critical literature and its publication as an affirmation of the 20-plus-year-old tradition of deconstruction is, in a small way a political act, much for the good, Gordon’s work givers ample evidence that although important new revisions have crept into the critical enterprise, notable the New Historicism and Cultural Studies, the theoretical turn that literary studies took tow decades ago is alive and well.”
—Henry Sussman, SUNY-Buffalo

The Protagorean notion that truth can move in contradictory directions is a central problem for contemporary theory. Gordon exfoliates the ancient and self-subverting paradox of the dissoe logoi with care and skill. The Critical Double is an altogether admirable book of criticism.
—John P. Hermann, The University of Alabama

 


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