"Achieved Unity of Meanings" Vs. "A Galaxy of Signifiers"

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GRIN Verlag, 2007 - 56 pages
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Seminar paper from the year 2003 in the subject English Language and Literature Studies - Comparative Literature, grade: Good, University of Dusseldorf "Heinrich Heine" (Anglistics), course: Contemporary Literature Theory and Criticism, 20 entries in the bibliography, language: English, comment: double spaced, abstract: "Criticism, is the overall term for studies concerned with defining, clasifying, analysing, interpreting, and evaluating works of literature."1 What I'm going to analyze in this work is not criticism, but "theoretical criticism." Theoretical criticism proposes a theory of literature, in the sense of general principles, together with a set of terms, distinctions and categories, to be applied to identifying and analyzing works of literature, as well as the "criteria"2 by which these works and their writers are to be evaluated. Since the 1970s there has been a flood of writings, Continental, American and English, proposing diverse nove l and radical forms of critical theory. Why do we need criticism? In order to understand texts or to give them the "right interpretation"3. But can one speak about a right interpretation? In order to find a plausible answer to this question, I will focus on two of the most important modern literary theories, namely New Criticism, defined as "an achieved unity of meanings"4 and Deconstruction as "a galaxy of signifiers"5, comparing the two ones by means of the consulted essays on New Criticism and Deconstruction. But before comparing the two theories, I will first introduce you into the meaning and features of both theories, presenting you some of the most important critics and their essays and critical theories referring to New Criticism and Deconstruction. I will dedicate the last two units of my paper to an ample comparison between New Criticism and Deconstruction, showing you, that there are both similarities and differences to find in the two theories, and that in spite of all the differences, the former s

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Page 20 - literary' ideas on femininity? Is it universal wisdom? Romantic psychology? We shall never know, for the good reason that writing is the destruction of every voice, of every point of origin. Writing is that neutral, composite, oblique space where our subject slips away, the negative where all identity is lost, starting with the very identity of the body writing.
Page 20 - As soon as a fact is narrated no longer with a view to acting directly on reality but intransitively, that is to say, finally outside of any function other than that of the very practice of the symbol itself, this disconnection occurs, the voice loses its origin, the author enters into his own death, writing begins.
Page 21 - In this ideal text, the networks are many and interact, without any one of them being able to surpass the rest; this text is a galaxy of signifiers, not a structure of signifieds; it has no beginning; it is reversible; we gain access to it by several entrances, none of which can be authoritatively declared to be the main one...
Page 17 - ... alogical, the thread in the text in question which will unravel it all, or the loose stone which will pull down the whole building. The deconstruction, rather, annihilates the ground on which the building stands by showing that the text has already annihilated that ground, knowingly or unknowingly. Deconstruction is not a dismantling of the structure of a text but a demonstration that it has already dismantled itself.24 The uncanny moment in interpretation, as Miller phrases it elsewhere, is...
Page 22 - Interpréter un texte, ce n'est pas lui donner un sens (plus ou moins fondé, plus ou moins libre), c'est au contraire apprécier de quel pluriel il est fait.
Page 21 - ... structure of signifieds; it has no beginning; it is reversible; we gain access to it by several entrances, none of which can be authoritatively declared to be the main one; the...
Page 20 - ... the birth of the reader must be at the cost of the death of the Author.
Page 20 - The explanation of poetry by examination of its sources is not the method of all contemporary criticism by any means; but it is a method which responds to the desire of a good many readers that poetry should be explained to them in terms of something else...
Page 19 - Dans ce texte idéal, les réseaux sont multiples et jouent entre eux, sans qu'aucun puisse coiffer les autres ; ce texte est une galaxie de signifiants, non une structure de signifiés...
Page 9 - LITERATURE is the bearer (the vehicle, but implicated) of all the modes of understanding of which words are capable ; and not only that: it also bears, sets in motion or life, certain modes which words merely initiate and symbolize.

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