By Jeffrey J. Williams
That includes interviews with nineteen best U.S. literary and cultural critics, Critics at paintings bargains a different photograph of contemporary advancements in literary reports, serious idea, American experiences, homosexual and lesbian reports, philosophy, and different fields. It offers informative, well timed, and infrequently provocative observation on a large diversity of issues, from the nation of conception this day and the clients for cultural reports to the position of public intellectuals and where of political activism. those conversations additionally elicit illuminating and occasionally superb insights into the private lives of its participants. separately, every one interview provides an important evaluation of a critic's paintings. Taken jointly, they supply an evaluation of literary and cultural stories from the institution of concept and its diffusion, in recent times, into a number of cultural and identification stories. as well as the interviews themselves, the amount contains precious brief introductions to every critic's paintings and biography. Interviewees: ok. 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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Extra resources for Critics at Work: Interviews 1993-2003 (Cultural Front)
22 STANLEY FISH Fish: No, I don’t think it’s a problem. It seems to me that it has pro duced, in the people that I see, very vigorous and brilliant investiga tions of issues, questions, texts, and bodies of materials that were sim ply not available or were not on our radar screen before. No one can any longer master it all. You can keep up to some extent, but you can’t really keep up, and after a while you have to decide that you’re going to stay with some topics and issues and be resigned to the fact that some very intelligent people down the hall are doing good work, but you know very little about it and really couldn’t engage in an informed conversation with them.
And it comes accom panied with all kinds of little sayings and attitudes, and in a way I con sider it part of my work continually to puncture these balloons. Williams: To close, what are you working on now? Sometimes your STANLEY FISH 27 work is characterized, as far as these tags go, as dealing with “inter pretive communities,” but you’ve obviously done a lot since tackling that. Fish: In the past few years I’ve been elaborating an argument that has been consistently misunderstood. Essentially it makes three points: (1) if by theory you mean the attaining of a perspective unattached to any local or partisan concerns, but providing a vantage point from which local and partisan concerns can be clariﬁed and ordered, the theory quest will always fail because no such perspective is or could be available; (2) the unavailability of that supracontextual is in no way dis abling because in its absence you will not be adrift and groundless; rather you will be grounded in and by the same everyday practices— complete with authoritative exemplars, understood goals, canons of evidence, shared histories—that gave you a habitation before you began your fruitless quest for a theory; and (3) nothing follows from 1 and 2.
Kaplan: Who shall remain nameless . . Davidson: Who shall remain nameless . . Kaplan: We bonded over a writer that everyone admired . . Davidson: And who should have been the model for our kind of writ ing. And we both thought she was fake and superﬁcial. And we bonded. ” Kaplan: That broke the ice: we ﬁnally got to where we were saying what we really thought. Torgovnick: We felt that we needed another person because we were traveling too much and it was hard for us to meet. Kaplan: Three is a hard number.
Critics at Work: Interviews 1993-2003 (Cultural Front) by Jeffrey J. Williams