Criticism of Value: Response to John Fekete

  • Alan Kennedy


The following comments grew out of an invitation to respond to John Fekete’s address delivered to a conference on Literature and Politics. The rumour that Fekete was preparing a book to be called something like Life after Deconstruction (it has just appeared as I write this as Life after Postmodernism1) set my deconstructive adrenalin pumping. I didn’t want to become an apologist for deconstruction, God knows, but on the other hand I didn’t want to find myself passed by before I had even begun to feel confident about what the limits of deconstruction might be. But then it occurred to me that possibly the possible title of that possible book could itself be resisted and be read as a statement of value, instead of as a historical description. Instead of saying that deconstruction was now behind us and that we could now get on with the living, it might be putting deconstruction ahead of life in an order of evaluation. Deconstruction first and, as for the living, let the servants do that for us.


Critical Practice Resistant Reading Autonomous Object Literary Object Border Problem 
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  1. 1.
    John Fekete (ed.), Life after Postmodernism ( New York: St Martin’s Press, 1987 ). References will be given parenthetically in the text.Google Scholar
  2. 3.
    See Michael Ryan, Marxism and Deconstruction ( Baltimore: Johns Hopkins University Press, 1982 ).Google Scholar
  3. 4.
    Jacques Derrida, ‘Plato’s Pharmacy’, Dissemination, trans. B. Johnson ( Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1981 ).Google Scholar
  4. 5.
    See M. M. Bakhtin, The Formal Method in Literary Scholarship, trans. J. Wehrle ( Cambridge, Mass.: Harvard University Press, 1985 ).Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Alan Kennedy 1990

Authors and Affiliations

  • Alan Kennedy
    • 1
  1. 1.Dalhousie UniversityCanada

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