Catherine Belsey's A Future for Criticism PDF

By Catherine Belsey

ISBN-10: 1405169567

ISBN-13: 9781405169561

A destiny for Criticism considers why fiction provides a lot excitement, and the overlook of this factor in contemporary criticism. 

  • Offers a quick, vigorous, and available account of a brand new course for serious perform, from considered one of Britain's such a lot favorite literary theorists and critics
  • Proposes a brand new direction for destiny feedback, extra open to reflecting at the pleasures of fiction
  • Written in a transparent, jargon-free kind, and illustrated all through with various examples

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Example text

In practice, this was not only bad history (many in the original audience would have married more than once without guilt): it was also fiction as moral fable. As so often at this time, the fable illustrated the perils precisely of pleasure. In one notable instance, C. S. Lewis was ethically disturbed by the golden ivy in Edmund Spenser’s Bower of Bliss. This counterfeit vegetation represented unnatural sterility and a denial of life, Lewis insisted. indd 21 11/26/2010 7:06:31 AM Piety Classic defences In this case, as elsewhere, the specific interpretation recapitulated the general anxiety that fiction was altogether too enjoyable to deserve serious attention.

That this reading prevailed as late as the opening of the twenty-first century is the more surprising in view of the way the discipline of English had changed by that time. Moralizing truisms did not satisfy a post-war generation accustomed to challenge the convictions of their parents in every particular, and from about 1970 on we began gleefully pointing out that many of the so-called eternal verities supported by conventional readings of canonical works were in practice sexist, racist, heterosexist, and the inscription of bourgeois values.

14 What is surprising here is not so much the reading of Shakespeare’s play (Freud serenely allows that the text offers it no support) as the psychoanalytic alignment of piety with faint-heartedness. Far from encouraging a heroic dedication to virtue against all odds, the sense of guilt, Freud indicates, reduces the power of independent action. As long as Hamlet defers to the moral law, he fails to take a stand. Conscience makes cowards; it keeps us in line; obedience to law generates quiescence and conformity.

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A Future for Criticism by Catherine Belsey

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