Date of Award

8-10-2021

Degree Type

Thesis

Degree Name

Master of Arts (MA)

Department

English

First Advisor

Dr. Calvin Thomas

Second Advisor

Dr. Paul Schmidt

Third Advisor

Dr. Chris Kocela

Abstract

Deconstruction’s widely accepted death has been closely associated with the death of its primary methodology: the practice of close reading, which has fallen into disfavor over the past three decades due to its association with formalism. The New Historical and political modes offer themselves as having inherited the important, iconoclastic features of deconstruction and at the same time offering a correction to its perceived faults. Three major figures in this turn, Stephen Greenblatt, Judith Butler, and Gayatri Spivak describe their work in accordance with this narrative of inheritance and correction. In this essay, I look at deconstruction’s relationship to formalism and political literary criticism and argue that deconstruction plays an active and indispensable role in our current discussions of the history of formalism and the ethics of literary interpretation.

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