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Tuesday, 12 July 2005

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Levi

Thanks for the link to the review, Scott. I find your comments about the state of literary studies more interesting than this particular book. I think you point to a very real and serious issue pertaining to how theory is used. It seems to me that you're being charitable when you trace it back to the consequences of anti-foundationalism (does anti-foundationalism really lead to this sort of a free for all?). Rather, isn't part of the problem here that many of these theories are just so damned difficult to understand due to particular stylistic idiosyncracies, that many only get them in brief glimmers. The only alternative then becomes to reference out in this way. In many instances, it becomes even more difficult to trace a clear line of argument. For instance, it takes a tremendous amount of work to determine just why subject-development, for Lacan, requires the operations of alienation and separation. There's an argument to be made, but it's spread out over a number of unpublished seminars. Or there's the whole question of trying to navigate Zizek's mess and what authorizes his particular claims or even why he's making them, what they respond to (hopefully Jodi's book will explain what specific political program he advocates, as I'm scratching my head), and how they overturn those against whom he's arguing. It's all a mess.

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