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384Philosophy and Literature especially women, that arises when we "will to exercise the power that we already happen to be" (p. 114). The processes of the self as a struggle for domination define the center of the Lawrentian vision and mark an intuitive alliance with Nietzsche's theory of will to power. The concluding chapter, "God and Nietzsche's Madman," takes its cue from the tale of our "murdering of God" (from Gay Science) in order to recapitulate succincdy the course of these incisive and perspicacious arguments from the perspective of a final Nietzschean theme: that all our poetic inventions and philosophical concepts "should be measured against life itself" (p. 150). Rice UniversityMichael Winkler Literary Interpretation: Current Models and a New Departure , by Torsten Pettersson; 132 pp. Âbo, Finland: Abo Academy Press, 1988, $14.00. Pettersson's discussion of current models of literary criticism is clear, concise, and accurate—but slight. Deploring the lack of detailed examples in others' theoretical works, he bases his own argument mainly on a discussion of four critics' accounts of Gray's Elegy. Pettersson rejects the complementarity thesis, according to which there is only one true interpretation of a given work, differing interpretations being acceptable only insofar as they might be conjoined without loss of significance into a consistent whole. Against this view he concludes that several critics each writing at the same time and with similar assumptions, interests, and purposes, each working within the same tradition of criticism and each taking account of the known facts ofthe author's life, can produce differing interpretations which are mutually contradictory or are contrary in a way which counts against their satisfactoiy combination. Also attacked is the creation model of criticism, according to which the work is constituted by, and does not stand independendy of, the interpretations offered ofit. He notes that this model has no satisfactory way ofaccounting for the differential value and acceptability ofinterpretations; neither can it explain how an interpretation might be rejected on the basis of a noninterpretational reference to properties of the work being interpreted. Pettersson favors an inferential model of criticism. Literaiy works are, in Margolis's terms, culturally emergent entities which are interpreted in terms of their implied significance. The implications which may be drawn from any given text are indefinitely many, but the implications to be considered in an acceptable interpretation are constrained by the context (which might be) specified by the work and by the conventions oflinguistic usage. Such interpretations Reviews385 are neither true nor false, since different, noncombinable interpretations might be equally implied by a given text; they are to bejudged as plausible, acceptable, convincing, or whatever. In a final chapter Pettersson argues that the radical and reformist mode of deconstructive criticism relies on this same inferential approach. He sees this fact as strengthening his claim that the inferential model characterizes the "outermost frame" of the discipline of literary criticism. The treatment of the philosophical issues takes much for granted. Pettersson does not consider in detail the arguments which might be offered in support of the complementarity and creation models of criticism; neither does he mention the many objections faced by an account, such as Margolis's, of the type which he prefers. The consideration of the deconstructive model is equally cursory. Moreover, the detail of his own contribution is obscure. He allows that in ordinary discourse the point ofa speaker's utterance usually is made manifest both by the context of utterance and the conventions ofusage, but he does not indicate whether the wider range of implications generated by a literary text depends upon a lack of specificity in the context determined by the text, or in conventions of discourse which differ from those that obtain ordinarily. And his account of literary criticism allows no place for a legitimate concern with that which the author specifically intended, as opposed to the many interpretations which otherwise might be put upon the text. He acknowledges the case in which interpretations are equally acceptable in being consistent with that which an author might have intended, but pays no account to those cases in which independent knowledge of authorial intentions is available. Finally, a terminological point: Pettersson righdy notes that...

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Additional Information

ISSN
1086-329X
Print ISSN
0190-0013
Pages
pp. 384-385
Launched on MUSE
2011-10-05
Open Access
No
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