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

138Philosophy and Literature ofthe most ornery issues involved with selfhood and otherness. ForHeidegger's Dasein, the call of conscience comes from itself, not from "being-enjoined by the Other" (p. 351). Ricoeur, who is seldom critical of Heidegger, prefers a more public sense ofindebtedness. Ricoeur's endorsement ofAristotle's theory offriendship points up the position he will take regarding the work ofLévinas. In books VIII and IX of his Ethics, Aristotle described friendship as something reciprocal between two persons,joining them in intimate dialogue for the sake of living weW'vath and for others injust institutions" (p. 351). But, for Lévinas, otherness is something asymmetrical that, as radical exteriority, breaks with the sphere of immanence and intentionality. This exteriority does not encourage friendship so much as sacrifice, intense desire, or excessive responsibility. For Ricoeur the ethical theory of Lévinas sacrifices too much to some "master of justice" (p. 337) . He says that, in many ways, it is a practice ofexcess "to the point ofparoxysm" (p. 338) . But Ricoeur's own meandering practice, less candid and visceral than Levinas's, becomes excessively detached by a methodology which lacks the metaphysical audacity of his (absent) faith. Hiroshima UniversityC. S. Schreiner The Critical I, by Norman Holland; xiv and 262 pp. New York: Columbia University Press, 1992, $35.00. Norman Holland has been a thoughtful and prolific reader-oriented literary critic since his publication of TheDynamics ofLiterary Response (1968; rpt. 1989). In The Criticali, he proposes a theory of interpretation that "acknowledges the human beings who create literature and literary experiences" and that "rests on a firm foundation in current linguistics and psychology" (p. xiii). He proposes such a theory to counter the "text-centered" trends in literary theory of "New Cryptics" like Bardies, Derrida, de Man, Lacan, and Foucault, "who have been banishing my I and yours to outer chaos" (p. 210). Central to this proposal is "the idea of the human being that cognitive science has developed," in which "an identity governs a hierarchy of feedback loops, each providing the standard for the loop below it" (p. 49) . In Part One ("I-ing an Audience"), Holland develops his "model" with reference to readings by students and himself of the film The Story ofO. Part Two ("I-ing the Critics") features Holland's analysis of "text-active" criticism, in which "language is active regardless of any I directing it" (p. 103). Part Three ("I-ing the Theorists") then proceeds with something of a vengeance to discuss individual theorists and show specifically what is wrong with letting "books . . . replace die self who is reading" (p. 118). According to Holland, contemporary theory has Reviews1 39 not met the challenge of reader-response theory, including the work of Stanley Fish, Wolfgang Iser, and Holland himself. By "identity" Holland means something like the ego of post-Freudian psychoanalysis, but he develops it here in terms of the information-processing metaphors of cognitive science. Thus, "an identity experiences the stimuli that come from the world on its own terms ... if we feel coherence or satisfaction in terms of our particular identity, we accept what we are testing. If our tests give us unsatisfactory (or incoherent or painful) feelings, we defend against what is coming from outside" (p. 28). Identity responds to species-specific physiological information and, secondarily, to cultural information, the latter processed as both "code-loops," rules that "no member of this culture would normally believe [to be] otherwise," and "canon-loops," about which "different 'interpretive communities' regularly differ." Finally, at the highest level, a unique "theme and variations" identity employs "methods of interpretation that [fit] the concerns ofthat identity" (pp. 49-51 ) . The interpreting identity is both "free and determined ... a construct through this very process of perception" (p. 57). In this way, Holland opposes the text-centeredness of contemporary theory with his "common sense" view that, since "it is critics who do criticism" (p. 103), we should reexamine the actual processes by which readers read. Holland thus attempts to base his theory of reading on the authority of "'harder' disciplines than literary theory: psychoanalysis, experimental psychology, and neuroscience" (p. 57), though he grants that "this feedback metaphor drastically simplifies what we...

pdf

Additional Information

ISSN
1086-329X
Print ISSN
0190-0013
Pages
pp. 138-139
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.