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230Philosophy and Literature which Flores tries to awaken us to the ruses of language and the duplicity of "mimetic" narrative. Flores is persuasive in his reminder that deconstruction and recuperation are not unquestionably opposed. These studies may in fact be considered both deconstructive, or at least as associating the chosen texts with deconstruction, and as recuperative, for the texts are reappropriated as both authorized by and authorizing Derrida's works, particularly Dissemination and Margins ofPhilosophy. In this respect the meditations upon "fathering" which are (despite disclaimers of totalization and centering) fundamental to each of these essays can be related to the desire to create a family of texts which share a similar absence of authority or which question authority in such a way as to point towards that explicit or implicit lack. Despite the worthiness of the project and of Flores's demonstration of an impressive range of knowledge, the book's impact is somewhat lessened by a certain predictability in proceeding, once the general approach is laid out. As Flores himself notes, "Derridean dislocation may be powerful precisely to the extent of its unpredictability, its strangeness, and above all its slowness" (p. 43). Nonetheless, by reminding the community of critics that the themes of doubtful authority are active in a major portion of the traditional canon, Flores does help to undermine widespread notions of modernity and tradition. This study should definitely be read by those interested in the applications of Derrida's work. Dartmouth CollegeJohn D. Lyons Literature and Propaganda, by A. P. Foulkes; ix & 124 pp. London: Methuen Press, 1983, $18.95 cloth, $8.95 paper. This is a book for which the old saw, "beginning with a bang and ending with a whimper," might well have been invented. The bang is a critical and in some ways original synthesis of some recent semiotic and social theories that bear on the questions of what propaganda is, how it functions, and how it can be detected . It is true that Foulkes has not brought even all the major contemporary participants in the discussion of these questions into view; he has much, for example , to say about Jacques Ellul, but very little about his fellow countrymen, poststructuralists like Foucault and Derrida or neo-Marxists like Baudrillard or Bourdieu. But, the subject is so vast, and Foulkes's compass so brief, that rather drastic selectivity is clearly necessary. The whimper begins when Foulkes turns, above all in the final three chapters, to the subject of literature. The ways literature might be propagandistic or contribute to the unveiling of propaganda Reviews231 are considered, but only in the most traditional terms and without much reference to his earlier theoretical discussion. The final chapter, which attempts to show how Arthur Miller's "The Crucible" is an anti-propagandistic play aimed at demystifying the American political atmosphere of the 1950s, could have been written by any traditional intellectual or literary historian who had bothered to become acquainted with the recent methods associated with the idea of "reader response." Foulkes's major thesis seems to be that the most insidious form of propaganda is not that associated with totalitarian regimes in which power-holders overtly manipulate and suppress their subjects' freedom of expression, but rather the "invisible" sort which manages, in any society, to become part of the "common sense" of an individual or group (pp. 2-5). This idea of propaganda invisibly ingrained in common sense has roots at least as far back as Vico and was most fully expressed by Gramsci, a lineage Foulkes does not acknowledge. But how does this invisible propaganda establish itself? Is it invisible both to powerholders and powerless? Foulkes seems to realize that the answer to the second question may well be affirmative, yet he fails to explore how this is possible as well as how, in general, invisible propaganda is produced. Had he done so he might have been led to the theories of reification put forward by twentiethcentury neo-Marxists like Luk√°cs, Benjamin, Adorno, and Bourdieu, who are oddly omitted. The best discussions in the book involve the summary and analysis of theoretical points in Ellul and the semiotics of Charles Morris which bear on the production...

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Additional Information

ISSN
1086-329X
Print ISSN
0190-0013
Pages
pp. 230-232
Launched on MUSE
2011-10-05
Open Access
No
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