Forms of opposition in American literary criticism

Journal article


Giles, Paul. (2022). Forms of opposition in American literary criticism. American Literary History. 34(1), pp. 158-173. https://doi.org/10.1093/alh/ajab077
AuthorsGiles, Paul
Abstract

Starting from Matthew Arnold’s “The Function of Criticism at the Present Time” (1865), this essay traces the importance of reading US literature and culture in comparative terms. Paying special attention to the work of Stuart Hall, Annette Kolodny, and F. O. Matthiessen, it argues that forms of structural opposition should be seen as embedded within American literature. Rather than understanding the subject itself in merely oppositional terms, it advocates antipodal and planetary critical perspectives that serve effectively to reposition the field within a wider context, one framed in various ways by biogenetic and environmental issues that exceed national boundaries. It concludes that while there are acute dangers for political leaders in a narrowness of vision, the same thing is true for literary criticism, where an undue narrowness of scope can be intellectually debilitating.

Year2022
JournalAmerican Literary History
Journal citation34 (1), pp. 158-173
PublisherOxford University Press
ISSN0896-7148
Digital Object Identifier (DOI)https://doi.org/10.1093/alh/ajab077
Scopus EID2-s2.0-85126298623
Research or scholarlyResearch
Page range158-173
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All rights reserved
File Access Level
Controlled
Output statusPublished
Publication dates
Online22 Feb 2022
Publication process dates
Deposited09 Jun 2022
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