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The Limits of Critique
The Limits of Critique | Rita Felski
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Why must critics unmask and demystify literary works? Why do they believe that language is always withholding some truth, that the critics task is to reveal the unsaid or repressed? In this book, Rita Felski examines critique, the dominant form of interpretation in literary studies, and situates it as but one method among many, a method with strong allurebut also definite limits. Felski argues that critique is a sensibility best captured by Paul Ricoeurs phrase the hermeneutics of suspicion. She shows how this suspicion toward texts forecloses many potential readings while providing no guarantee of rigorous or radical thought. Instead, she suggests, literary scholars should try what she calls postcritical reading: rather than looking behind a text for hidden causes and motives, literary scholars should place themselves in front of it and reflect on what it suggests and makes possible. By bringing critique down to earth and exploring new modes of interpretation, The Limits of Critique offers a fresh approach to the relationship between artistic works and the social world.
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Read for my dissertation...and made me very paranoid about whether I'm critiquing in my writing! Instead of reading with suspicion and detachment, trying to ferret out the secrets or expose the gaps in a book, Felski advocates for a postcritical reading that embraces affect and the cocreation of meaning between text and reader. Will work perfectly in my chapter about the emotional aspects of immersion not being opposed to scholarly reading!