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Reviews319 from home to see the world, prompdy gets lost and spends the rest ofthe book trying to find his way home. What we have is a proto-modernist novel which employs free indirect speech to impel us through the gallery of Spirit's forms in which we too, at last, will find ourselves. We are to be caught up in the story of Spirit's growth and identify with the characters who pass before us as truncated versions of the Spirit whose forms they are. If we consider the Phenomenology in this light, we may be less likely to misconstrue what Hegel is doing. The book is well-written, full of fascinating quotations, and fun. This last should not put off die serious minded. It is the height of art to take the most serious matters in playful fashion and a mistake to equate the useful widi the dull. At the end of the book, the author notes that ". . . as far as systematic application of literary theory to philosophy as a whole is concerned, everything remains to be done" (p. 131). On the contrary, after Philosophical Tales not everything remains to be done. Middlesex PolytechnicJeffrey Mason Tracing Literary Theory, edited by Joseph Natoli; xxii & 371 pp. Urbana: University of Illinois Press, 1987, $34.95 cloth, $14.95 paper. TracingHterary Theory is a valuable collection ofessays that will benefit experts as well as newcomers to the theory scene. The editor, Joseph Natoli, and each ofhis eleven contributors have provided thorough, detailed pieces of work that cogently summarize major trends and astutely examine central dieorists and critics. Natoli begins widi a preface that helpfully surveys the shape of the volume as a whole. Via the writings of Mikhail Bakhtin, he explains that Tracing Literary Theory is intended to testify to the "carnivalesque" heterogeneity of theoretical discourse. In his introduction, Natoli once again adroidy invokes Bakhtin in order to oudine the multiple challenges to departmental and disciplinary boundaries that theory at its most adventurous mounts. Natoli nicely succeeds in showing the interanimations between "theory" and "literature," persuasively concluding that "literature expands theory and theory in turn enables us to hear more of what has been unheard in literature" (p. 23). Natoli's essayists cover a wide range of subjects: structuralism, hermeneutics, history and postmodern theory, sociocritical and Marxist approaches, deconstruction , phenomenology, "uncanny criticism" (the Yale School ofdeconstructionists ), speech act theory, psychologies of reading, feminist criticism and theory , and semiotics. Each contributor is to be commended for succincdy 320Philosophy and Literature introducing complex material and providing ample suggestions for further reading and research. Several of the essays are particularly rewarding, largely because they effectively highlight a clear point of view even as they undertake the basic task of explaining a specific theory. A. C. Goodson comments illuminatingly on the "modernist milieu" from which both New Criticism and structuralism emerged, deftly exploring the key roles that I. A. Richards and Roman Jakobson played; Albert Divver sketches die origin and impact of hermeneutics , and deals insightfully with the strengths and limits of the work of E. D. Hirsch and Hans-Georg Gadamer; and Gregory Colomb treats the burgeoning field of semiotics, paying special attention to such influential figures as Michael Riffaterre and Umberto Eco. The essays by Irene Harvey and Richard A. Barney, both of which guide readers through the mazes of deconstruction , are also informative. The same can be said, too, for Herman Rapaport's inquiry into phenomenology, which includes keen analyses of Husserl , Sartre, Heidegger, and Merleau-Ponty, and for CarolynJ. Allen's overview of feminist work, which is especially enlightening in its account of recent examinations of "sexual difference" and film theory. While Tracing Literary Theory is generally a strong collection, it does suffer from certain shortcomings. Some of the essays are unduly dependent upon summary, and these suffer in comparison to others that simultaneously review and criticize the subject at hand. In addition, the book, though wide-ranging up to a point, dismayingly neglects to consider important areas, notably the innovative theoretical forays in Afro-American literature and criticism that have been launched by Houston Baker, Robert Stepto, and Henry Louis Gates. Tracing Literary Theory also places surprisingly litde emphasis on the...

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Additional Information

ISSN
1086-329X
Print ISSN
0190-0013
Pages
pp. 319-320
Launched on MUSE
2011-10-05
Open Access
No
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