Material Events: Paul de Man and the Afterlife of Theory (review)

Symploke 10 (1):203-204 (2002)
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Abstract

This collection of essays links Paul de Man's late work as a literary theorist and critic to the development of the 'new materialism' as it first emerged in the late eighties and early nineties, especially in the field of literary theory. The notion of materialism that is explored in these essays is non-classical and non-foundational, which means that it stems from a special approach to language rather than to the viewer's relationship to the object-world. The contributions to this volume come from different individuals, working in different fields, who derive insight from de Man's criticism, which was strongly influenced by Jacques Derrida's deconstruction. This collection is especially interesting in its treatment of Paul de Man 's late work as an inconclusive attempt to approach the question of ideology in a fresh manner.

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William Melaney
American University in Cairo

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