By Jeffrey J. Williams
That includes interviews with nineteen top U.S. literary and cultural critics, Critics at paintings bargains a special photograph of contemporary advancements in literary stories, serious idea, American experiences, homosexual and lesbian reports, philosophy, and different fields. It presents informative, well timed, and sometimes provocative observation on a extensive diversity of issues, from the nation of concept at the present time and the customers for cultural stories to the position of public intellectuals and where of political activism. those conversations additionally elicit illuminating and infrequently fabulous insights into the private lives of its individuals. separately, every one interview provides an important review of a critic's paintings. Taken jointly, they supply an evaluate of literary and cultural stories from the institution of conception and its diffusion, in recent times, into a variety of cultural and id reports. as well as the interviews themselves, the quantity contains precious brief introductions to every critic's paintings and biography. Interviewees: okay. Anthony Appiah, Lauren Berlant, Cathy Davidson, Morris Dickstein, Stanley Fish, Barbara Foley, Nancy Fraser, Gerald Graff, Alice Kaplan, E. Ann Kaplan, Robin D.G. Kelley, Paul Lauter, Louis Menand, Richard Ohmann, Andrew Ross, Eve Kosofsky Sedgwick, Jane Tompkins, Marianna Torgovnick, and Alan Wald.
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Additional info for Critics at Work: Interviews 1993-2003 (Cultural Front)
I’m struck by the fact that you and a number of other ﬁgures associated with theory, like Green blatt and Harold Bloom, were trained at Yale. It would be hard not to see what you do as a response to the kind of graduate school forma tion you had. Fish: Well, I can only think in terms of my own trajectories, which do not include all of the changes that have occurred in criticism. Actually, someone who might be better as an example for answering this ques tion is my wife, Jane Tompkins, who’s always changing and abandons ﬁelds as soon as she’s conquered them, whereas I have pretty much done the same kinds of things and asked the same kinds of questions for forty years now, although the materials have changed.
Outside academic channels, she has published 36 Views of Mt. Fuji (Dut ton-Penguin, 1993); Closing: The Life and Death of an American Fac tory, with photographs by Bill Bamberger (Norton, 1998); and the anthology The Book of Love: Writers and Their Love Letters (Pocket, 1993). , as she mentions here. Alice Yaeger Kaplan was born in 1954 in Minneapolis but also attended boarding school in Switzerland, an experience that con tributed to her lifelong passion for French. S. prosecutor at the Nuremberg trials, another formative inﬂu ence that, as she speculates in French Lessons, ﬁgures in her schol arly focus on World War II fascism.
There wasn’t anything yet called literary theory. Wimsatt was like Kingsﬁeld in The Paper Chase. He was ﬁerce. I found my colleagues in the class so much more able to respond to the questions and so much more alert to the con cerns of literary criticism. I couldn’t ﬁgure it out. My wife and I used to go to New York a lot to hear jazz music and one time we went there we dropped into a bookstore and I found this book written by Wimsatt and Brooks, Literary Criticism: A Short History. I looked at it, and there were all of the topics and all of the dis cussions and all of the questions.