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122Philosophy and Literature The result is a detailed and comprehensive study of a considerable range of critical theories. Raval begins with an exposition and discussion of Kant's aesthetic dieory, and proceeds to discuss creativity theories, the New Criticism, theories of affective response, Phenomenological, Historicist, and Deconstructionist theories. All of this, based on a wealth of research, is often insightful, and there can be no doubt but that the attentive reader will benefit greatly from Raval's erudition. But the reader will need to be attentive. Raval's expositions are not always easy to follow — partly, I think, because he tends to borrow the sometimes opaque terminology of those that he seeks to expound. More problematic is the fact that he nowhere acknowledges the controversies which surround his various interpretations — especially of Kant, Gadamer, and Derrida. In a volume of this sort, greater effort should have been made to relate and compare the strands of scholarship which inform our understanding of these thinkers. In addition to its expository component, die book contains a wealth ofdieoretical argument on a variety of topics. At times die argument is sophisticated and sustained, but diere are disappointments. This is particularly true of Chapter Two, where the arguments are not well developed and tend tojump tangentially from point to point. And while Chapter Six is perhaps the most interesting theoretical chapter, it treats oftoo many topics (Criticism as Science; Objectivity and Interpretation; Ontology of Literary Works; Nature of Critical Disputes; Historicism; the Concept of Criticism; Logic of Critical Enquiry); and does so in a style which is at times convoluted and difficult. Raved waits until this chapter to explain his central contention that criticism is an essentially contested concept. "Being embedded in history," he argues, the concept is changeable, and that is why no one account of criticism is possible. But this restriction, it seems to me, applies to all our concepts; for they edl have some history. Raval needs to be reminded that when one asks the question "What is criticism?" one poses it in terms of a certain concept. And any answer to this question, if it is to be an answer at all, must be framed in terms of die very same concept. Certainly the concept of criticism may change, but this does not mean that it has no currency at present or that its currency cannot be explained. Raval denies that he has a theory ofcriticism, but his theory plainly is that there cannot properly be a theory. As such, he is at least as guilty as others of the "intellectual skepticism " he seeks to combat. University of Canterbury, New ZealandDavid Novitz Sartre Qf Flaubert, by Hazel E. Barnes; ? & 449 pp. Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1981, $25.00. Sartre Û? Flaubert, the first major study of Sartre's The Family Idiot, is an excellent critical introduction to an exceptionally difficult and copious work. It will be indispensable to future scholars of both Flaubert and Sartre. Reviews123 Hazel Barnes, eminent translator and scholar of Sartre's works, presents Sartre's principal arguments and analyses in clear, succinct synopses and clarifies Sartre's occasionally opaque elucidations and frequently abstruse language. She relates aspects of Sartre's mediod and ideas in The Family Idiot to his earlier works, enabling the student of Sartre to understand fully why Barnes considers this his summa. In her discussion of die works of Brombert and Culler on Flaubert, Barnes documents the importance of Sartre's work for future Flaubertian studies and rehearses it in her own book, often developing a promising Sartrean insight, extending a line of argument, or expanding the scope of an analysis. Most importandy, making use of her privileged access to Sartre's notes for the fourth volume of his unfinished work, Professor Barnes assesses the worth of Sartre's mediods and conclusions. While her judgment is mainly positive, her critical insight is keen, and she is not hesitant to reveal weaknesses as she encounters them. Of die wealth of questions Barnes attempts to answer in her careful study, one recurs repeatedly: "What kind ofbook is The Family Idiot?" Sartre called it "a true novel." Initially, but decreasingly, Barnes questions Sartre's claim to the "truth...

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Additional Information

ISSN
1086-329X
Print ISSN
0190-0013
Pages
pp. 122-123
Launched on MUSE
2011-10-05
Open Access
No
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