The Resistance to Theory


Paul de Man
Foreword by Wlad Godzich

Explores reasons why the theoretical enterprise is blind to, or “resists,” the radical nature of reading, in six essays that offer a new level of critical and cultural understanding in reference to the works of Jauss, Riffaterre, Benjamin, and Bakhtin.

In a brilliant collection of essays, de Man explores his views, that, the resistance to theory is inherent in the theoretical enterprise itself, and the real debate is with its own methodological assumptions and possibilities.

“Indispensable. . . . There is resistance to ‘theory’ and also confusion about its status with reference to both philosophy and criticism.” -Frank Kermode, Columbia University

Paul de Man was Sterling Professor of Humanities at Yale University, where he taught comparative literature. He also taught at Harvard, Cornell, and Johns Hopkins, and held a chair in comparative literature at the University of Zurich. His books include: Blindness and Insight (1971, revised edition, Minnesota, 1983), Allegories of Reading (1980), and The Rhetoric of Romanticism (1984). Two additional posthumous titles are forthcoming from Minnesota: Aesthetic Ideology and Romanticism and Modernism: Essays 1953-70.

Wlad Godzich teaches comparative literature at the Universite de Montreal and at the University of Minnesota, is director of the Center for Humanistic Studies at the University of Minnesota, and is co-editor, with Jochen Schulte-Sasse, of the series Theory and History of Literature.

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