Advertisement

On Being Proper

A Reply to Christopher Cordner
  • Kevin Hart

Abstract

One of the troubling things about Christopher Cordner’s paper ‘F. R. Leavis and the Moral in Literature’ is working out exactly who is the accused. At times it appears to be a very large group indeed, all those not committed to a ‘traditional “humanist” conception of the value of literature, and therefore of literary criticism’ (p. 60); while at other times it seems to be a more restricted clan, those people influenced by deconstruction. The ambiguity could arise from the fact that, of all the styles of textual practice currently used in literary studies, only deconstruction is mentioned. It stands for something unnamed, perhaps unnameable — a host of improper ways of regarding literature. If Cordner allows these critical styles to languish in semi-darkness, it is because his main aim is to offer a proper way of doing literary studies. Literature, he recommends, ‘might properly be regarded as embodying moral ideas’ and literary criticism ‘might properly be an evaluative, even morally evaluative, enterprise’ (p. 60).

Keywords

Literary Study Literary Criticism Moral Evaluation Evaluative Criticism Moral Idea 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.

Preview

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

Notes

  1. 2.
    Pierre Macherey, A Theory of Literary Production, trans. Geoffrey Wall (London: Routledge & Kegan Paul, 1978), p. 16.Google Scholar
  2. 3.
    Frederick A. Pottle, ‘The Life of Boswell’, The Yale Review, 35 (1946), p. 449.Google Scholar
  3. 4.
    Jacques Derrida, Writing and Difference, trans Alan Bass (London: Routledge and Kegan Paul, 1978), p. 280.Google Scholar
  4. 5.
    Derrida, ‘Deconstruction and the Other’, in Richard Kearney, Dialogues with Contemporary Continental Thinkers: The Phenomenological Heritage (Manchester: Manchester University Press, 1984), p. 112.Google Scholar
  5. 6.
    Derrida, Schibboleth: Pour Paul Celan (Paris: Éditions Galilée, 1986)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  6. 7.
    e.e. cummings, Complete Poems 1910–1960, ed. George James Firmage, (revised edition, London: Granada, 1981), Vol. 1, p. 396.Google Scholar
  7. 8.
    John Ashbery, The Tennis Court Oath (Middletown: Wesleyan University Press, 1962), p. 33.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Palgrave Macmillan, a division of Macmillan Publishers Limited 1991

Authors and Affiliations

  • Kevin Hart

There are no affiliations available

Personalised recommendations