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10 January 1991
Victorian Subjects 
by J. Hillis Miller.
Harvester, 330 pp., £30, December 1990, 0 7450 0820 8
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Tropes, Parables, Performatives: Essays on 20th-Century Literature 
by J. Hillis Miller.
Harvester, 266 pp., £30, December 1990, 0 7450 0836 4
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... There are up to ten thousand American academics who could claim the job description ‘literary critic’ as they make their way to the annual convention of the Modern Languages Association. J.HillisMiller is one of the handful who matter. Like those mystic few who know the Coca Cola formula, such people shouldn’t be allowed to travel on the same plane. The collective loss would be irreparable ...

Absent Authors

John Lanchester

15 October 1987
Criticism in Society 
by Imre Salusinszky.
Methuen, 244 pp., £15, May 1987, 0 416 92270 8
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by Malcolm Bradbury.
Deutsch, 104 pp., £5.95, September 1987, 0 233 98020 2
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... leading academic literary critics, eight of whom are involved in one way or another in the new movements: three bottled-at-the-place-of-origin Deconstructionists (Jacques Derrida, Barbara Johnson, J.HillisMiller) and one sympathiser (Geoffrey Hartman), two politically-minded oppositional critics (Edward Said, Frank Lentricchia) and two unclassifiable individualists (Harold Bloom, Frank Kermode). The ...

Waiting for the Dawn to Come

Rachel Bowlby: Reading George Eliot

11 April 2013
Reading for Our Time: ‘Adam Bede’ and ‘Middlemarch’ Revisited 
by J. Hillis Miller.
Edinburgh, 191 pp., £19.99, March 2012, 978 0 7486 4728 6
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... sight at the window frames a moving image that takes the watcher elsewhere; and takes the novel, for that still moment, away from the concerns of its particular milieu. In Reading for Our Time, J.HillisMiller is moved to comment more than once on this passage about a spectator alone with a view. To readers familiar with Miller, it will come as no surprise. In a literary journey that has now reached ...
22 May 1980
Deconstruction and Criticism 
by Harold Bloom, Paul de Man, Jacques Derrida, Geoffrey Hartman and J. Hillis Miller.
Routledge, 256 pp., £8.95, January 1980, 0 7100 0436 2
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... in the case of Professor Derrida, a strong influence and occasional presence) in some of the literature departments at Yale. The book offers, not an argued defence of their line – though Professor HillisMiller does occasionally fall into something like argument between one fundamental assertion and the next – but rather five individual exhibitions of it in action. The exhibitions are not really ...
13 February 1992
Authors and Authority: English and American Criticism 1750-1990 
by Patrick Parrinder.
Macmillan, 392 pp., £40, August 1991, 0 333 43294 0
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A History of Modern Criticism 1750-1950. Vol. VII: German, Russian and Eastern European Criticism, 1900-1950 
by René Wellek.
Yale, 458 pp., £26, October 1991, 0 300 05039 9
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... of criticism. There is good evidence to support his scepticism at his home institution in the so-called École de Yale. In 1979, Harold Bloom, Paul de Man, Jacques Derrida, Geoffrey Hartman and J.HillisMiller, all at the time Yale colleagues, put together a kind of manifesto entitled Deconstruction and Criticism. There were certain affinities among the five but the differences were more striking ...
16 December 1993
The Modern Language Association of America: Program for the 109th Convention, Vol. 108, No. 6 
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The Modern Language Association: Job Information List 
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... shifts in Lang’s Metropolis as regiments of labelled attendees troop from one room to another. There is, of course, more trooping to some destinations than others. Stanley Fish, Elaine Showalter or HillisMiller can fill a ballroom. Other speakers (particularly those consigned to unsocial hours) will address half-empty partitioned areas the size of broom cupboards. Time for all but keynote speakers is ...


Elizabeth Prettejohn: Walter Pater

27 January 2020
The Collected Works of Walter Pater, Vol. III: Imaginary Portraits 
edited by Lene Østermark-Johansen.
Oxford, 359 pp., £115, January 2019, 978 0 19 882343 8
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The Collected Works of Walter Pater, Vol. IV: Gaston de Latour 
edited by Gerald Monsman.
Oxford, 399 pp., £115, January 2019, 978 0 19 881616 4
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Walter Pater: Selected Essays 
edited by Alex Wong.
Carcanet, 445 pp., £18.99, September 2018, 978 1 78410 626 3
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... more insidiously damning essay of 1930. His openness to relativist thinking, so repugnant to Eliot, came to fascinate the postmodernist generation, and led to important essays by Harold Bloom and J.HillisMiller. Wolfgang Iser’s study of Pater was crucial to the genesis of reception theory at the University of Konstanz in the 1960s.Pater reportedly told his students that ‘the great thing is to ...
9 May 1991
The Infection of Thomas De Quincey: A Psychopathology of Imperialism 
by John Barrell.
Yale, 235 pp., £18.95, May 1991, 0 300 04932 3
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... irresistible concerns. Hitherto, the most serious modern attempt to understand how, in the considerable mass of De Quincey’s extant writings, one thing has a bearing on another was that of J.HillisMiller, in his book, The Disappearance of God, which was published in 1963, before Miller took his deconstructionist turn. The critical avant-garde was at that moment phenomenological, in the manner ...

Anger and Dismay

Denis Donoghue

19 July 1984
Literary Education: A Revaluation 
by James Gribble.
Cambridge, 182 pp., £16.50, November 1983, 0 521 25315 2
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Reconstructing Literature 
edited by Laurence Lerner.
Blackwell, 218 pp., £15, August 1983, 0 631 13323 2
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Counter-Modernism in Current Critical Theory 
by Geoffrey Thurley.
Macmillan, 216 pp., £20, October 1983, 0 333 33436 1
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... a bit from Roland Barthes only to say he finds it impenetrable. A long paragraph from Culler’s Structuralist Poetics he regards as ‘woolly rhapsodising’. He quotes in silence a passage from J.HillisMiller as if it spoke nonsense for itself. But Gribble doesn’t make the necessary distinctions. He lumps Structuralism and Deconstruction together, forgetting that the most severe attack on ...
16 March 1989
Wartime Journalism, 1939-1943 
by Paul de Man and Werner Hamacher, edited by Neil Hertz and Thomas Keenan.
Nebraska, 399 pp., £28, October 1988, 9780803216846
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Critical Writings 1953-1978 
by Paul de Man, edited by Lindsay Waters.
Minnesota, 228 pp., $39.50, April 1989, 0 8166 1695 7
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Paul de Man: Deconstruction and the Critique of Aesthetic Ideology 
by Christopher Norris.
Routledge, 218 pp., £25, October 1988, 0 415 90079 4
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Reading de Man Reading 
edited by Lindsay Waters and Wlad Godzich.
Minnesota, 312 pp., $39.50, April 1989, 0 8166 1660 4
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... that he can dismiss as mystified, but one hardly reads him with any hope of that. Within his own ballpark he is lucidly competent. He makes bold use of digressions. The point of a long one about HillisMiller is to demonstrate that two colleagues, both deconstructionists, may have, within their sympathy, very different attitudes and styles. There is another on Adorno, registering with approval his ...
1 March 1984
A History of Japanese Literature. Vol. I: The First Thousand Years 
by Shuichi Kato, translated by David Chibbett.
Macmillan, 319 pp., £20, September 1979, 0 333 19882 4
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A History of Japanese Literature. Vol. II: The Years of Isolation 
by Shuichi Kato, translated by Don Sanderson.
Macmillan, 230 pp., £20, October 1983, 0 333 22088 9
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A History of Japanese Literature. Vol. III: The Modern Years 
by Shuichi Kato, translated by Don Sanderson.
Macmillan, 307 pp., £20, October 1983, 0 333 34133 3
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World within Walls 
by Donald Keene.
Secker, 624 pp., £15, January 1977, 0 436 23266 9
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Modern Japanese Poets and the Nature of Literature 
by Makoto Ueda.
Stanford, 451 pp., $28.50, September 1983, 0 8047 1166 6
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Low City, High City: Tokyo from Edo to the Earthquake 
by Edward Seidensticker.
Allen Lane, 302 pp., £16.95, September 1983, 0 7139 1597 8
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... we acquire a history of a movement mostly concerned to deny history, the ‘contradiction’ is plain. In fact we have had what are tantamount to histories of the careers to date of Derrida and J.HillisMiller. It will take a great deal more such history, as James observed, to make even a little literature. Plans are well underway for two histories of American literature. The shorter, and therefore ...

Keach and Shelley

Denis Donoghue

19 September 1985
Shelley’s Style 
by William Keach.
Methuen, 269 pp., £18, April 1985, 9780416303209
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Ariel: A Shelley Romance 
by André Maurois and Ella D’Arcy.
Penguin, 252 pp., £1.95, September 1985, 0 14 000001 1
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... that the triumphs of poetry are but partial and fleeting. This mixture of idealism and scepticism in Shelley has made him a hero to adepts of Deconstruction. In Deconstruction and Criticism(1979) J.HillisMiller associated Shelley in this character with ‘the co-presence in any text in Western literature, inextricably intertwined, as host and parasite, of some version of logocentric metaphysics and ...
6 August 1992
The Lyrical Ballads: Longman Annotated Texts 
edited by Michael Mason.
Longman, 419 pp., £29.99, April 1992, 0 582 03302 0
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Strange Power of Speech: Wordsworth, Coleridge and Literary Possession 
by Susan Eilenberg.
Oxford, 278 pp., £30, May 1992, 0 19 506856 4
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The Politics of Nature: Wordsworth and Some Contemporaries 
by Nicholas Roe.
Macmillan, 186 pp., £35, April 1992, 0 333 52314 8
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... its charm because it signifies not an echo of 1789 so much as a correction of it – the true spiritual revolution after the false, material and murderous revolution ushered in by 1789. Harold Bloom, HillisMiller and Paul de Man see something profoundly representative in Wordsworth’s sudden retreat from the public to the private sphere – the threshold of modernity, the moment when the political and ...


Eugene Goodheart

16 March 1989
The company we keep: An Ethics of Fiction 
by Wayne Booth.
California, 485 pp., $29.55, November 1988, 0 520 06203 5
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... nine years in the making) has appeared at a moment when ethical issues have already established themselves as a matter of renewed literary and philosophical concern. I have in mind the recent work of HillisMiller (The Ethics of Reading), Tobin Sieber (The Ethics of Criticism), Alisdair MacIntyre (After Virtue) and Barbara Hernnstein Smith (Contingencies of Value). What Booth has rediscovered is that ...
5 June 1980
Structuralism and Since: From Lévi-Strauss to Derrida 
edited by John Sturrock.
Oxford, 190 pp., £5.50, January 1980, 0 19 215839 2
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... Deconstruction and Criticism) one can see that this worry about implicit nihilism is very near to coming to the surface. In his preface, Geoffrey Hartman writes: Caveat lector. Derrida, de Man and Miller are certainly boa-deconstructors, merciless and consequent, though each enjoys his own style of disclosing again and again the ‘abysm’ of words. But Bloom and Hartman are barely ...

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