Wednesday, June 11, 2008

Cusset, Francois. "French Theory's American Adventures." CHRONICLE REVIEW June 13, 2008.

All "traveling theories," as the late Edward Said once called them, carry with them . . . a risk, for they have always involved a disconnection from a specific context and reconnection with a new one — in this case, disconnection from a certain Continental notion of writing, from the horizon of Marxism and revolution, and from a timely critique of semiology and the linguistic turn — and reconnection with many American traditions like textual ontology and literary irony, best represented by the New Critics of the 1940s, against the "fallacies" of psychology and intentionality. Reconnection too with the American tradition of pragmatism. Reconnection with a historical tradition of subversive counterreadings, a quintessentially American tradition that started with the founding fathers and their reinterpretation of the Bible. Reconnection again, much closer in time, with the bold new analysis of schizophrenia, therapy, and marginality inaugurated in the 1950s by the likes of Gregory Bateson or R.D. Laing. Reconnection may not be the right term: What should be said here is that there is a historical convergence of the two branches, French and American, Foucault and Bateson, Deleuze and Ralph Waldo Emerson, Derrida and Robert Penn Warren. . . . Read the rest here:

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