Structuralism Domesticated

Frank Kermode

  • Working with Structuralism by David Lodge
    Routledge, 207 pp, £10.95, June 1981, ISBN 0 7100 0658 6

This is a collection of essays by one of our best literary critics, in fact exactly the kind of thing one would expect from him; it simply continues the good work in the manner of his last two books. Why, then, do the reviewers shy like frightened cab-horses? Because Professor Lodge not only includes about seventy-five pages of ‘structuralism’, but actually uses the word in his title, and suggests that it is possible for an English professor to get along with it. Given the mood of rancorous philistinism that at present characterises reviewing in the weeklies, Lodge is to be congratulated on his courage. It is true that he had done this kind of thing earlier, but that was in the days before the great Cambridge scandal woke critics from their undogmatic slumbers. And perhaps he could also assume that his established reputation as a novelist might, with the aid of his solid critical achievement, protect him from insult.

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