In lieu of an abstract, here is a brief excerpt of the content:

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 the complementarity thesis has its clearest manifestation in the descriptivist model espoused by Beardsley, but it is misleading at best to tide the chapter on the complementarity thesis, as he does, "The Description Model," since his own and Margolis 's views would typically also be regarded as species of "descriptivism" in that they regard interpretations as accountable to publicly available (emergent) properties of a text, even if such interpretations are said not to be straightforwardly assessable in terms of truth or falsity. University of AucklandStephen Davies Truth and Lies in Literature: Essays and Reviews, by Stephen Vizinczey; edited by Christopher SinclairStevenson ; ? & 339 pp. Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1988, $12.95 paper. In this collection of more than fifty essays and reviews, Vizinczey treats such literary greats as Stendhal, Balzac, Kleist, Dostoevsky, and Tolstoy. Included are two moving autobiographical essays of his life in Hungary, several extracts 386Philosophy and Literature from Kleist's works, and a list of Vizinczey's own "Ten Commandments" for better writing. He also deals with contemporary nonfiction, addressing the more controversial issues of cruelty and deadi, feminism, literary criticism, antiSemitism , religion, and politics. For those who tire at the mere mention ofthe word "collection" and anticipate tedious hours of wading through a variety of classics rehashed—fear not. Vizinczey combines variety with charm and wit, being careful to ferret out and examine commentaries which render "the subject either boring or incomprehensible or both," in which "philosophies are watered down or thickened, to persuade us of the need for professional expertise" (p. 82). He reminds us in his good-humored style that we need not treat "humanity's bestcommunicators" as if they were "retarded children whose incoherent babblings must be deciphered by specialists before we can possibly understand them" (p. 82). Whynotjustskip Vizinczey's book then? Forone thing, hisenthusiasm inspires curiosity in a vast sampling of sundry works: Gogol, Nerval, Mann, Mailer, and Solzhenitsyn. He maintains our interest in even his most trenchant reviews with a playfulness thatcuts die tension ofnegativity. His criticism ofHazel E. Barnes's Sartre, for example, points out her "utterly irrelevant as well as untenable proposition that Sartre is a consistent thinker. . . . Consistency is a virtue for trains: what we want from a philosopher is insights . . ." (p. 83). One may be put off by the messianic thrust of Vizinczey's criticism. Quite simply, he praises works which "embody profound truths about human nature" (p. 140) and exposes as "devious" those works which deny the possibility...

pdf

Additional Information

ISSN
1086-329X
Print ISSN
0190-0013
Pages
pp. 385-387
Launched on MUSE
2011-10-05
Open Access
No
Back To Top

This website uses cookies to ensure you get the best experience on our website. Without cookies your experience may not be seamless.