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Presidential Criticism

John Sutherland, 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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... critic’ as they make their way to the annual convention of the Modern Languages Association. J. Hillis Miller 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. Harvester Press salutes ...

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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Mensonge 
by Malcolm Bradbury.
Deutsch, 104 pp., £5.95, September 1987, 0 233 98020 2
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... three bottled-at-the-place-of-origin Deconstructionists (Jacques Derrida, Barbara Johnson, J. Hillis Miller) and one sympathiser (Geoffrey Hartman), two politically-minded oppositional critics (Edward Said, Frank Lentricchia) and two unclassifiable individualists (Harold Bloom, Frank Kermode). The ninth interviewee is the daddy of academic ...

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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... still moment, away from the concerns of its particular milieu. In Reading for Our Time, J. Hillis Miller 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 its seventh ...

The Deconstruction Gang

S.L. Goldberg, 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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... departments at Yale. The book offers, not an argued defence of their line – though Professor Hillis Miller 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 open to the ordinary ‘reader’, however. The book ...

Outside the Academy

Robert Alter, 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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... École de Yale. In 1979, Harold Bloom, Paul de Man, Jacques Derrida, Geoffrey Hartman and J. Hillis Miller, 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. On one side, Derrida, as elsewhere, seized on the ...

The Annual MLA Disaster

John Sutherland, 16 December 1993

The Modern Language Association of America: Program for the 109th Convention, Vol. 108, No. 6 
November 1993Show More
The Modern Language Association: Job Information List 
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... is, of course, more trooping to some destinations than others. Stanley Fish, Elaine Showalter or Hillis Miller 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 strictly rationed – usually to 20 minutes and ...

Surplusage!

Elizabeth Prettejohn: Walter Pater, 6 February 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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... came to fascinate the postmodernist generation, and led to important essays by Harold Bloom and J. Hillis Miller. 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 read authors whole; read Plato whole; read Kant ...

Elizabeth’s Chamber

Frank Kermode, 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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... mass of De Quincey’s extant writings, one thing has a bearing on another was that of J. Hillis Miller, 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 of Gaston ...

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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... Poetics he regards as ‘woolly rhapsodising’. He quotes in silence a passage from J. Hillis Miller 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 Structuralism has come from Derrida’s chapter on ...

Paul de Man’s Abyss

Frank Kermode, 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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... ballpark he is lucidly competent. He makes bold use of digressions. The point of a long one about Hillis Miller 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 view of the negativity of knowledge, in order to ...

Wild, Fierce Yale

Geoffrey Hartman, 21 October 1982

Deconstruction: Theory and Practice 
by Christopher Norris.
Methuen, 157 pp., £6.50, April 1982, 0 416 32060 0
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... of self or subject. It would be dishonest not to mention that my own work (together with that of Hillis Miller) is placed ‘on the wild side’. It has vigour but not rigour. Norris sees it as playful and skirmishing, a kind of sacrificial scouting action. Its style matters, but what matter is that? Norris is half-grateful to find someone without ...

In Praise of History

Earl Miner, 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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... In fact we have had what are tantamount to histories of the careers to date of Derrida and J. Hillis Miller. 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 the one likely to appear earlier, will be published ...

Signposts along the way that Reason went

Richard Rorty, 16 February 1984

Margins of Philosophy 
by Jacques Derrida, translated by Alan Bass.
Harvester, 330 pp., £25, May 1983, 0 7108 0454 7
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... Heidegger did to Nietzsche, Derrida has done to Heidegger by recovering Nietzsche’s slaphappy je-m’en foutisme, his refusal to be ‘serious’ and concentrated and Thoughtful. Nobody on our side of the Channel has as yet managed to face down the later Wittgenstein. Wittgenstein has as yet had no brave, strong, parricidal sons. But even though we have ...

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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... Shelley has made him a hero to adepts of Deconstruction. In Deconstruction and Criticism(1979) J. Hillis Miller 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 its subversive counterpart’, and quoted the passage ...

Friends

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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... as a matter of renewed literary and philosophical concern. I have in mind the recent work of Hillis Miller (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 ethical criticism is in a sense a redundancy, since ...

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