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127

Post-Structuralism

7
terms
5
notes

Eagleton, T. (1995). Post-Structuralism. In Eagleton, T. Literary Theory: An Introduction. Blackwell, pp. 127-150

(adjective) deficient in color; wan / (adjective) lacking sparkle or liveliness; dull

130

Writing seems to rob me of my being: it is a second-hand mode of communication, a pallid, mechanical transcript of speech, and so always at once remove from my consciousness

beautiful

—p.130 by Terry Eagleton
notable
5 years, 2 months ago

Writing seems to rob me of my being: it is a second-hand mode of communication, a pallid, mechanical transcript of speech, and so always at once remove from my consciousness

beautiful

—p.130 by Terry Eagleton
notable
5 years, 2 months ago

the philosophical attempt to describe things in terms of their apparent intrinsic purpose, directive principle, or goal, irrespective of human use or opinion

131

'Teleology', thinking of life, language and history in terms of its orientation to a telos or end, is a way of ordering and ranking meanings in a hierarchy of significance, creating a pecking order among them in the light of an ultimate purpose.

—p.131 by Terry Eagleton
notable
5 years, 2 months ago

'Teleology', thinking of life, language and history in terms of its orientation to a telos or end, is a way of ordering and ranking meanings in a hierarchy of significance, creating a pecking order among them in the light of an ultimate purpose.

—p.131 by Terry Eagleton
notable
5 years, 2 months ago

(noun) an expression of real or pretended doubt or uncertainty especially for rhetorical effect / (noun) a logical impasse or contradiction / (noun) a radical contradiction in the import of a text or theory that is seen in deconstruction as inevitable

133

deconstruction shows this by fastening on the 'symptomatic' points, the aporia or impasses of meaning

—p.133 by Terry Eagleton
notable
5 years, 2 months ago

deconstruction shows this by fastening on the 'symptomatic' points, the aporia or impasses of meaning

—p.133 by Terry Eagleton
notable
5 years, 2 months ago
134

[...] there is something in writing itself which finally evades all systems and logics. There is a continual flickering, spilling and defusing of meaning--what Derrida calls 'dissemination'--which cannot be easily contained with the categories of the text's structure, or within the categories of a conventional critical approach to it. [...] A text may 'show' us something about the nature of meaning and signification which it is not able to formulate as a proposition. All language, for Derrida, displays this 'surplus' over exact meaning, is always threatening to outrun and escape the sense which tries to contain it. 'Literary' discourse is the place where this is most evident, but it is also true of all other writing: deconstruction rejects the literary/non-literary opposition as any absolute distinction. [...] the reign of post-structuralism, a style of thought which embraces the deconstructive operations of Derrida, the work of the French historian Michel Foucault, the writings of the French psychoanalyst Jacques Lacan and of the feminist philosopher and critic Julia Kristeva. [...]

—p.134 by Terry Eagleton 5 years, 2 months ago

[...] there is something in writing itself which finally evades all systems and logics. There is a continual flickering, spilling and defusing of meaning--what Derrida calls 'dissemination'--which cannot be easily contained with the categories of the text's structure, or within the categories of a conventional critical approach to it. [...] A text may 'show' us something about the nature of meaning and signification which it is not able to formulate as a proposition. All language, for Derrida, displays this 'surplus' over exact meaning, is always threatening to outrun and escape the sense which tries to contain it. 'Literary' discourse is the place where this is most evident, but it is also true of all other writing: deconstruction rejects the literary/non-literary opposition as any absolute distinction. [...] the reign of post-structuralism, a style of thought which embraces the deconstructive operations of Derrida, the work of the French historian Michel Foucault, the writings of the French psychoanalyst Jacques Lacan and of the feminist philosopher and critic Julia Kristeva. [...]

—p.134 by Terry Eagleton 5 years, 2 months ago

an act of subsuming

135

the task of the critic is to subsume them into an atemporal frame of explanation

on the distinct units that compose the structure of narrative

—p.135 by Terry Eagleton
notable
5 years, 2 months ago

the task of the critic is to subsume them into an atemporal frame of explanation

on the distinct units that compose the structure of narrative

—p.135 by Terry Eagleton
notable
5 years, 2 months ago

pertaining to or characteristic of the theories of Ferdinand de Saussure, especially the view that a language consists of a network of interrelated elements in contrast

135

Language is Barthes's theme from beginning to end, and in particular the Saussurean insight that the sign is always a matter of historical and cultural convention.

—p.135 by Terry Eagleton
notable
5 years, 2 months ago

Language is Barthes's theme from beginning to end, and in particular the Saussurean insight that the sign is always a matter of historical and cultural convention.

—p.135 by Terry Eagleton
notable
5 years, 2 months ago
137

The early structuralist Barthes still trusts to the possibility of a 'science' of literature [...] Such a scientific criticism would in some sense aim to know its object 'as it really was'; but does this not run counter to Barthes' hostility to the neutral sign? The critic, after all, has to use language too, in order to analyse the literary text, and there is no reason to believe that this language will escape the strictures which Barthes has made about representational discourse in general. What is the relation between the discourse of criticism and the discourse of the literary text? For the structuralist, criticism is a form of 'metalanguage'--a language about another language--which rises above its object to a point from which it can peer down and disinterestedly examine it. But as Barthes recognizes in Système de a mode, there can be no ultimate metalanguage: another critic can always come along and take your criticism as his object of study, and so on in an infinite regress. [...]

—p.137 by Terry Eagleton 5 years, 2 months ago

The early structuralist Barthes still trusts to the possibility of a 'science' of literature [...] Such a scientific criticism would in some sense aim to know its object 'as it really was'; but does this not run counter to Barthes' hostility to the neutral sign? The critic, after all, has to use language too, in order to analyse the literary text, and there is no reason to believe that this language will escape the strictures which Barthes has made about representational discourse in general. What is the relation between the discourse of criticism and the discourse of the literary text? For the structuralist, criticism is a form of 'metalanguage'--a language about another language--which rises above its object to a point from which it can peer down and disinterestedly examine it. But as Barthes recognizes in Système de a mode, there can be no ultimate metalanguage: another critic can always come along and take your criticism as his object of study, and so on in an infinite regress. [...]

—p.137 by Terry Eagleton 5 years, 2 months ago
138

[...] All literary texts are woven out of other literary texts, not in the conventional sense that they bear the traces of 'influence' but in the more radical sense that every word, phrase or segment is a reworking of other writings which precede or surround the individual work. There is no such thing as literary 'originality', no such things as the 'first' literary work: all literature is 'intertextual'. A specific piece of writing thus has no clearly defined boundaries: it spills over constantly into the works clustered around it, generating a hundred different perspectives which dwindle to vanishing point. The work cannot be sprung shut, rendered determine by an appeal to the author, for the 'death of the author' is a slogan that modern criticism is now confidently able to proclaim. The biography of the author is, after all, merely another text, which need not be ascribed any special privilege: this text too can be deconstructed. It is language which speaks in literature, in all its swarming 'polysemic' plurality, not the author himself. If there is any place where this seething multiplicity of the text is momentarily focused, it is not the author but the reader.

—p.138 by Terry Eagleton 5 years, 2 months ago

[...] All literary texts are woven out of other literary texts, not in the conventional sense that they bear the traces of 'influence' but in the more radical sense that every word, phrase or segment is a reworking of other writings which precede or surround the individual work. There is no such thing as literary 'originality', no such things as the 'first' literary work: all literature is 'intertextual'. A specific piece of writing thus has no clearly defined boundaries: it spills over constantly into the works clustered around it, generating a hundred different perspectives which dwindle to vanishing point. The work cannot be sprung shut, rendered determine by an appeal to the author, for the 'death of the author' is a slogan that modern criticism is now confidently able to proclaim. The biography of the author is, after all, merely another text, which need not be ascribed any special privilege: this text too can be deconstructed. It is language which speaks in literature, in all its swarming 'polysemic' plurality, not the author himself. If there is any place where this seething multiplicity of the text is momentarily focused, it is not the author but the reader.

—p.138 by Terry Eagleton 5 years, 2 months ago

(noun) a painkilling drug or medicine

140

the saturation of the reading public by a 'mass', profit-hungry, anodyne culture

—p.140 by Terry Eagleton
notable
5 years, 2 months ago

the saturation of the reading public by a 'mass', profit-hungry, anodyne culture

—p.140 by Terry Eagleton
notable
5 years, 2 months ago

(adjective) of, relating to, or constituting a portent / (adjective) eliciting amazement or wonder; prodigious / (adjective) being a grave or serious matter / (adjective) self-consciously solemn or important; pompous / (adjective) ponderously excessive

147

recommend various brands of portentous mysticism as the solution to human ills

—p.147 by Terry Eagleton
notable
5 years, 2 months ago

recommend various brands of portentous mysticism as the solution to human ills

—p.147 by Terry Eagleton
notable
5 years, 2 months ago
148

[...] Derrida is clearly out to do more than develop new techniques of reading: deconstruction is for him an ultimately political practice, an attempt to dismantle the logic by which a particular system of thought, and behind that a whole system of political structures and social institutions, maintains its force. He is not seeking, absurdly, to deny the existence of relatively determinate truths, meanings, identities, intentions, historical continuities; he is seeking rather to see such things as the effects of a wider and deeper history--of language, of the unconscious, of social institutions and practices. [...]

—p.148 by Terry Eagleton 5 years, 2 months ago

[...] Derrida is clearly out to do more than develop new techniques of reading: deconstruction is for him an ultimately political practice, an attempt to dismantle the logic by which a particular system of thought, and behind that a whole system of political structures and social institutions, maintains its force. He is not seeking, absurdly, to deny the existence of relatively determinate truths, meanings, identities, intentions, historical continuities; he is seeking rather to see such things as the effects of a wider and deeper history--of language, of the unconscious, of social institutions and practices. [...]

—p.148 by Terry Eagleton 5 years, 2 months ago
150

[...] the conflict between men and women could not have been more real, the ideology of this antagonism involved a metaphysical illusion If it was held in place by the material and psychical benefits which accrued to men from it, it was also held in place by a complex structure of fear, desire, aggression, masochism and anxiety which urgently needed to be examined. Feminism was not an isolatable issue, a particular 'campaign' alongside other political projects, but a dimension which informed and interrogated every facet of personal, social and political life. The message of the women's movement, as interpreted by some of those outside it, is not just that women should have equality of power and status with men; it is a questioning of all such power and status. [...]

—p.150 by Terry Eagleton 5 years, 2 months ago

[...] the conflict between men and women could not have been more real, the ideology of this antagonism involved a metaphysical illusion If it was held in place by the material and psychical benefits which accrued to men from it, it was also held in place by a complex structure of fear, desire, aggression, masochism and anxiety which urgently needed to be examined. Feminism was not an isolatable issue, a particular 'campaign' alongside other political projects, but a dimension which informed and interrogated every facet of personal, social and political life. The message of the women's movement, as interpreted by some of those outside it, is not just that women should have equality of power and status with men; it is a questioning of all such power and status. [...]

—p.150 by Terry Eagleton 5 years, 2 months ago