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The Emperor Redressed, The Emperor Redressed, 0817307788, 0-8173-0778-8, 978-0-8173-0778-3, 9780817307783, , , The Emperor Redressed, 0817357947, 0-8173-5794-7, 978-0-8173-5794-8, 9780817357948, , , The Emperor Redressed, 0817387919, 0-8173-8791-9, 978-0-8173-8791-4, 9780817387914,

The Emperor Redressed
Critiquing Critical Theory
Edited by Dwight Eddins

Trade Cloth
1995. 240 pp.
Price:  $39.95 s
Quality Paper
2014. 238 pp.
Price:  $29.95 s
E Book
2014. 238 pp.
Price:  $29.95 d

It took less than two decades for the complex of social science paradigms known as poststructuralist theory to become the prevailing orthodoxy in American literary criticism. Bound by a common antihumanism and an imperative to resolve the aesthetic into the linguistic, the political, and/or the psychological, variants of deconstruction, Marxism, feminism, and Lacanian psychology coalesced into a sort of imperial court that banished other critical discourses to the margins.

The essays in this volume represent a collective questioning of the poststructuralist ascendancy, and of the assumptions involved therein, by a group of prominent scholars and critics. Assembled at the University of Alabama for the 1992 symposium from which this book takes its title, these scholars were charged with the task of examining the truth-value, methodology, practice, and humanistic status of poststructuralist theories and with speculating on what their conclusions portend for the future of theory. Some of the deficiencies “uncovered” in the emperor’s apparel include the failure of poststructuralist theory to answer to the complexities of literary experience, its tendency to be self-ratifying, its betrayal of the feminist achievement, its conflation of style and logic, its attempt to impose apocalyptic finalities on history’s open-endedness, and its ignorance of much in current language philosophy.


A superb collection of essays, one that is both timely, without being, like white bread, time limited, provocative, without being surly, cantankerous, or precious. As a whole the collection is noteworthy for the consistently high intellectual quality of its contributions and for the general lucidity with which its several arguments are presented.
—James L. Battersby, author of Reason and the Nature of Texts and Unorthodox Views: Reflections on Reality, Truth, and Meaning in Current Social, Cultural, and Critical Discourse

"A uniformly strong group of contributors. All of those involved are prominent voices in the national debate. The theme of the volume is the peculiar combination of social activism and poststructuralism that has come to dominate college literature programs across the country and that its devotees think of simply as literary theory."
—John M. Ellis, author of Literature Lost: Social Agendas and the Corruption of the Humanities

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