By Barbara Johnson
This Reader collects in one quantity essentially the most influential essays written by way of Barbara Johnson over the process her thirty-year occupation as a pioneering literary theorist and cultural critic. Johnson completed renown early in her profession, either as a super pupil of the Yale college of literary feedback and because the translator of Jacques Derrida's Dissemination. She went directly to prepared the ground in extending the insights of structuralism and poststructuralism into newly rising fields now significant to literary reviews, fields akin to gender reviews, African American reports, queer thought, and legislation and literature. attractive versions of severe examining and writing, her essays domesticate rigorous wondering of universalizing assumptions, admire for otherness and distinction, and an appreciation of ambiguity.
Along with the vintage essays that demonstrated her position in literary scholarship, this Reader makes on hand a range of Johnson's later essays, brilliantly lucid and politically trenchant works exploring multilingualism and translation, materiality, ethics, subjectivity, and sexuality. The Barbara Johnson Reader bargains a old consultant throughout the metamorphoses and tumultuous debates that experience outlined literary examine in contemporary a long time, as considered by means of one among severe theory's such a lot astute thinkers.
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Additional resources for The Barbara Johnson Reader: The Surprise of Otherness
Rousseau condemns writing as destruction of presence and as disease of speech. He rehabilitates it to the extent that it promises the reappropriation of that of which speech allowed itself to be dispossessed. But by what, if not already a writing older than speech and already installed in that place? (141–42) In other words, the loss of presence has always already begun. Speech itself springs out of an alienation or différance that has the very structure of writing. It would seem, though, that it is precisely through this assumption of the necessity of absence that Rousseau ultimately succeeds in reappropriating the lost presence.
2) Does Balzac simply regard ideal beauty as a lost paradise and castration as a horrible tragedy? (3) If Barthes is really attempting to demystify the ideology of totality, and if his critical strategy implicitly gives a positive value to castration, why does his analysis of Balzac’s text still seem to take castration at face value as an unmitigated and catastrophic horror? In order to answer these questions, let us take another look at Balzac’s story. To regard castration as the ultimate narrative revelation and as the unequivocal cause of Sarrasine’s tragedy, as Barthes repeatedly does, is to read the story more or less from Sarrasine’s point of view.
It is in fact Barthes’s very attempt to pluralize the text which thus restricts his perspective; however “disrespectfully” he may cut up or manhandle the story, his reading remains to a large extent dependent on the linearity of the signifier and thus on the successive unfoldings of the truth of castration to Sarrasine and to the reader. Sarrasine’s ignorance, however, is not only a simple lack of knowledge but also a blindness to the injustice that is being done to him and that he is also potentially doing to the other.