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"You couldn't use terms like 'text' in an English course without incurring the disapproval of some crusty old moralist..." "In a postmodern world, literature is just another text..." "Forget depth: think surface! ...everything is a text." In this brilliantly provocative and comprehensively informative introductory text, Niall Lucy shows the student how postmodern literary theory derives from a late eighteenth-century romantic tradition. In that tradition the literary was conceived as inseparable from the literary theoretical. But for postmodernism, Lucy argues, what was once the romantic space of the literary becomes a general plane of human existence. There, concepts of identity, origin and truth are seen as multiple and structureless assemblages rather than as grounds for understanding human "being" and culture. Lucy uses the work of Hobbes, Johnson, Rousseau, Kant, Nietzsche, Freud, and Heidegger to historicize his analysis. Levi-Strauss, Barthes, Baudrillard, Derrida, Kristeva, Lyotard, Deleuze and Guattari, and Hassan are among the more recent theorists with whom he engages.
His discussion embraces not only "theorists" but also"'writers", including Acker, Auster, Barth, and Pynchon. Lucy's concluding response to the fascinating range of problems and issues he reveals is to propose a pragmatic and ethical, poststructuralist solution.
Niall Lucy teaches in the School of Humanities at Murdoch University. He is the author of Debating Derrida (1995), as well as numerous articles on poststructuralism and postmodernism.