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The title essay in this book does not engage in a debate with the polemical opponents of literary theory; to Paul de Man, the resistance to theory is inherent in the theoretical enterprise itself, and the real debate is with its own methodological assumptions and possibilities. The core of his argument in this essay (and in those that follow) lies in the old opposition bet The title essay in this book does not engage in a debate with the polemical opponents of literary theory; to Paul de Man, the resistance to theory is inherent in the theoretical enterprise itself, and the real debate is with its own methodological assumptions and possibilities. The core of his argument in this essay (and in those that follow) lies in the old opposition between theoria and aesthesis - terms that embody, on the one hand, a linguistic, specifically rhetorical approach to literature and, on the other, a phenomenological, aesthetic, or hermeneutic approach - and all the implications those two modes carry with them. The resistance to theory, says de Man, is a resistance to the use of language about language; it is a resistance to reading, and a resistance to the rhetorical or figurative dimensions of language. The six related essays in The Resistance to Theory were written by de Man in the few years that preceded his death in December 1983. Undertaken to find out why the theoretical enterprise is blind to, or "resists," the radical nature of reading, the essays share not only a theme but also the pedagogical intent that is central to most of his work. These concerns, implicit in the title essay, are openly argued in "The Return to Philology." Each of the remaining essays is devoted to a specific theorist: Michael Riffaterre, Hans Robert Jauss, Walter Benjamin, and Mikhail Bakhtin. The Resistance to Theory also includes a 1983 interview with de Man conducted for Italian radio, and a complete bibliography of his work. Wlad Godzich's foreword tells how de Man's late work was conceived and organized for publication, and discusses some of the basic terms in his discourse. "Indispensable. . . . There is resistance to 'theory' and also confusion about its status with reference to both philosophy and criticism. De Man's defense of theory is subtle but uncompromising, and highly personal in its 'aporetic' conclusion." - Frank Kermode, Columbia University Paul de Man was Sterling Professor of Comparative Literature at Yale University. His books include Blindness and Insight (1971; revised edition, Minnesota, 1983), Allegories of Reading ( 1980), and The Rhetoric of Romanticism (1984).


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The title essay in this book does not engage in a debate with the polemical opponents of literary theory; to Paul de Man, the resistance to theory is inherent in the theoretical enterprise itself, and the real debate is with its own methodological assumptions and possibilities. The core of his argument in this essay (and in those that follow) lies in the old opposition bet The title essay in this book does not engage in a debate with the polemical opponents of literary theory; to Paul de Man, the resistance to theory is inherent in the theoretical enterprise itself, and the real debate is with its own methodological assumptions and possibilities. The core of his argument in this essay (and in those that follow) lies in the old opposition between theoria and aesthesis - terms that embody, on the one hand, a linguistic, specifically rhetorical approach to literature and, on the other, a phenomenological, aesthetic, or hermeneutic approach - and all the implications those two modes carry with them. The resistance to theory, says de Man, is a resistance to the use of language about language; it is a resistance to reading, and a resistance to the rhetorical or figurative dimensions of language. The six related essays in The Resistance to Theory were written by de Man in the few years that preceded his death in December 1983. Undertaken to find out why the theoretical enterprise is blind to, or "resists," the radical nature of reading, the essays share not only a theme but also the pedagogical intent that is central to most of his work. These concerns, implicit in the title essay, are openly argued in "The Return to Philology." Each of the remaining essays is devoted to a specific theorist: Michael Riffaterre, Hans Robert Jauss, Walter Benjamin, and Mikhail Bakhtin. The Resistance to Theory also includes a 1983 interview with de Man conducted for Italian radio, and a complete bibliography of his work. Wlad Godzich's foreword tells how de Man's late work was conceived and organized for publication, and discusses some of the basic terms in his discourse. "Indispensable. . . . There is resistance to 'theory' and also confusion about its status with reference to both philosophy and criticism. De Man's defense of theory is subtle but uncompromising, and highly personal in its 'aporetic' conclusion." - Frank Kermode, Columbia University Paul de Man was Sterling Professor of Comparative Literature at Yale University. His books include Blindness and Insight (1971; revised edition, Minnesota, 1983), Allegories of Reading ( 1980), and The Rhetoric of Romanticism (1984).

30 review for The Resistance to Theory (Theory and History of Literature)

  1. 5 out of 5

    Leif

    Two things. One: Wlad Godzich is a deft hand at the gloriously helpful introduction. Read the man, love the man, hate the man, whatever, he'll still have written a capable, understandable, and suitably wide-ranging introduction for a book few others could tackle with the same friendly acumen. Two: fuck the haters, Paul de Man knocks it out of the park. End of story. Two things. One: Wlad Godzich is a deft hand at the gloriously helpful introduction. Read the man, love the man, hate the man, whatever, he'll still have written a capable, understandable, and suitably wide-ranging introduction for a book few others could tackle with the same friendly acumen. Two: fuck the haters, Paul de Man knocks it out of the park. End of story.

  2. 5 out of 5

    Wm

    I do not have a strong enough grounding in philosophy -- or even literary criticism -- to fully assess this work. But as a way of dipping my toes back in to this kind of thing it worked and worked well. All of the essays are, obliquely, a defense of theory (or at least a claim that theory inevitably is produced by the strange thing that is literary discourse) and are concerned with pedagogy, but, of course, what that really means with de Man is close engagement with certain critics and streams o I do not have a strong enough grounding in philosophy -- or even literary criticism -- to fully assess this work. But as a way of dipping my toes back in to this kind of thing it worked and worked well. All of the essays are, obliquely, a defense of theory (or at least a claim that theory inevitably is produced by the strange thing that is literary discourse) and are concerned with pedagogy, but, of course, what that really means with de Man is close engagement with certain critics and streams of thoughts, and I like that as abstruse as some of the prose gets, his arguments are grounded in the aforementioned concerns and in illustrative readings. I particularly enjoyed his essay on Bakhtin as well as the title essay. The greatest services he does, though, is to show how this theory turn in literary studies, which seemed so disjunctive (or at least was often portrayed as such) from how literary studies was down before is neither that far apart from nor that different with the close reading of New Criticism or the core aesthetic and linguistic and poetic issues/questions that go back to Kant.

  3. 5 out of 5

    Burcu

    TOC Foreword: The Tiger on the Paper Mat Wlad Godzich ix The Resistance to Theory 3 The Return to Philology 21 Hypogram and Inscription 27 Reading and History 54 "Conclusions": Walter Benjamin's "The Task of the Translator" 73 Dialogue and Dialogism 106 An Interview with Paul de Man Stefano Rosso 115 Bibliography of Texts by Paul de Man Tom Keenan 122 Index 131 TOC Foreword: The Tiger on the Paper Mat Wlad Godzich ix The Resistance to Theory 3 The Return to Philology 21 Hypogram and Inscription 27 Reading and History 54 "Conclusions": Walter Benjamin's "The Task of the Translator" 73 Dialogue and Dialogism 106 An Interview with Paul de Man Stefano Rosso 115 Bibliography of Texts by Paul de Man Tom Keenan 122 Index 131

  4. 5 out of 5

    Clark Henderson

  5. 4 out of 5

    Obaid

  6. 4 out of 5

    Nate

  7. 4 out of 5

    Lisa Schneider

  8. 4 out of 5

    Marine liong

  9. 5 out of 5

    Jackie

  10. 5 out of 5

    Dave

  11. 4 out of 5

    Alan Alibozek

  12. 4 out of 5

    Sajjad Saberi

  13. 4 out of 5

    Vera Y.

  14. 4 out of 5

    Will

  15. 4 out of 5

    Jostein Saxegaard

  16. 5 out of 5

    Genjiro

  17. 4 out of 5

    stuart

  18. 4 out of 5

    Avie Flanagan Vaughan

  19. 5 out of 5

    Roger Whitson

  20. 4 out of 5

    Lily

  21. 5 out of 5

    Zachary Johnson

  22. 5 out of 5

    murkuo

  23. 4 out of 5

    C. Meade

  24. 4 out of 5

    Charles

  25. 5 out of 5

    Corey

  26. 5 out of 5

    Allison Black

  27. 4 out of 5

    Uma

  28. 4 out of 5

    Rick

  29. 5 out of 5

    nick

  30. 5 out of 5

    Peter G. Epps

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