"Tropics of Discourse" develops White's ideas on interpretation in history, on the relationship between history and the novel, and on history and historicism. Vico, Croce, Derrida, and Foucault are among the figures he assesses in this work, which also offers original interpretations of a number of literary themes, including the Wild Man and the Noble Savage. White's commentary ranges from a reappraisal of Enlightenment history to a reflective summary of the current state of literary criticism.
Hayden White is professor emeritus of the histories of consciousness at the University of California, Santa Cruz. He is the author of a number of books published by Johns Hopkins, including Tropics of Discourse: Essays in Cultural Criticism, The Content of the Form: Narrative Discourse and Historical Representation, and Figural Realism: Studies in the Mimesis Effect.