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What Is Neostructuralism? (Theory and History of Literature)
By Manfred Frank, Sabine Wilke
Publisher: Univ of Minnesota Pr | 480 Pages | 1989 | ISBN : 0816616027 | PDF | 28 Mb
Summary: Avanti has it right
See Avanti's review. It's not hyperbole. It's simply accurate. Frank will probably be of little use to readers who have not yet read any neostructuralist, but for anyone who has read the original authors and believes they (or at any rate, Derrida) have something to say that is genuinely new but, just because it's new, seems shapeless, Manfred is made to order. He doesn't translate neostructuralism into the thoughts that preceded it. He helps readers ask about those thoughts questions that lead to neostructuralism.
Summary: A master narrative
This is simply one of the best overall discussions of the historical foundations, justifications and assumptions of neo(post)structural thought and its thinkers.
Frank is an encyclopedic researcher, in the German tradition, who commands the full range of modern and post-modern history and ideas and is wonderfully capable of explaining them lucidly and without fear of expressing his own cogent and often compellingh theoretical point of view (Deleuze will never be the same after you read lectures 22-25).
The book is laid out in lecture form which makes it relatively easy to work through as each chapter requires about an hour or so to read. This is a fine book for students who have a grounding in philosophy and want to really get an idea of the state of things from a master.
One last point, dulcis in fondo, is Martin Schwab's long and lucid foward which offers well reasoned background and outlines of the ideas and people who populate the book, it is almost by itself worth the cover price.
Summary: For Post-Docs and above only...
I *tried* to read this book when I was a German lit. graduate student at Rice U. I'm a lot better read now than I was then, but it doesn't change my opinion that this book is well-nigh unreadable. This book is strictly for professionals, post-PhD types...a scholarly book meant only for other scholars and NOT for the general reader! Nor, even, for most serious graduate students. The only folks I can think of who might have the luxury to read this book (or gain much from doing so) are well-established PhD's with tenure. I sold my copy in disgust to my local 1/2 Price Bookstore and it sat on their shelves for months and months...don't know if they ever sold it or just quietly got rid of it... If you're a graduate student in any kind of Lit. program or Intellectual History program, do yourself a favor and skip this one. It's far too dense, too obtruse, and you have a lot better things to do with your time than try to scale these heights. This book for me became emblematic of what I feel is the over-emphasis on THEORY THEORY THEORY at the expense of reading / appreciating / enjoying real, honest to God LITERATURE. Honestly, you're better off spending your time absorbing literary works DIRECTLY yourself than wading thru a theory tome like this one. I'm not going to say theory isn't important, or that it can't sometimes be fun (Roland Barthes, Terry Eagleton, etc), BUT...well, this book definitely wasn't that...fun, I mean. I'm sure this book is brilliant in its own way, as the other reviewer touches on...but...anyway, I remember being very put off and frustrated with this text! >>NOTE: my admonition goes DOUBLE for any *undergraduates* who might consider picking this book up...Also, while I do read German, I only read this in translation I can't say if the original German version is any better.<< I will close by advising this: Try to tackle the literary foothills and minor peaks first before tackling the literary Alps, or in the case of this book, the Himalayas / Mt. Everest!
Summary: On the third hand...
Frank's sympathetic and critical engagement with recent French thought (which is all too often received in a violently polarized fashion) is an insightful, thorough, and groundbreaking engagement with contemporary problems in philosophy, literary theory, and culture in general. Rather than merely taking sides, Frank engages his French counterparts (he, himself, is a literary scholar and philosopher) to discover where their apparently obscure and extreme writings might inform more traditionally humanistic enterprises and where French theory might itself stand in need of criticism and deeper reflection. Frank's dialogue is further singular in its breadth and depth of learning, contextualizing present-day debate within the thinking of Romanticism. How many engaged in the debate with poststructuralism know, for example, that Schleiermacher had developed a semiotics a century in advance of Saussure? Highly recommended for anyone who wants to read a reasonable voice and vault over the horns of an apparent dilemma in thought.