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History = politics

"...the analytical stratagies of postrstructuralist criticism can indeed open up cultural issues in exciting and disturbing ways. They are especially effective for dismantaling foundationalist and essentialist arguments, for demolishing totalizing claims, for deconstructing ideologies, for delegitimizing power, and generally for demonstrating that nearly everything called universal, timeless, and natural is really local, historically contingent, and socially constructed." (Keesey 416)

In this chapter I thought Keesey had tones of Eagleton. There seems to be a connection between our historical and social lives and the idea of politics. It brings us back to the question are political issues involved in every aspect of human lives? If it is then it would seem to make sense that it is the question to be answered in literary theory, or perhaps it is the essence of theory itself. I'm not saying I necessarily believe this I'm just asking the question.

History and politics have always kind of gone hand in hand so why not explore that idea in literature. Social issues whether local or taken from a world view always seem to be litterd with politics. Some may seem greater in importance than the other, but each has its place. What if all literature comes full circle into the arena of politics, even if the writer meant it to or not? What implications does this have on us as literary theorists?

Comments (2)

Greta Carroll:

Mara, I think the philosophical beliefs behind politics are always going to affect to some degree how and what we write. After all, the same beliefs that guide our political affiliations also guide everything else in our lives. However, I think that in most cases, it is best for authors to try to steer clear of politics, unless that is their main focus. As I point out in my blog about Eagleton, a comment he made about capitalism actually kind of mildly offended me. You can check out my reasoning here: http://blogs.setonhill.edu/GretaCarroll/2009/04/is_capitalism_really_the_reaso.html
But I think in most cases, if you want your readers to listen to you with an open mind it’s best not to throw around political ideas as best as one can leave politics out of things.


I also saw a lot of Eagleton in this essay. Eagleton says that literary theory is political and it is not just the beliefs of the theorists, but how a work can be used for political gains. With all the different criticisms, it seems that critics are trying to be fair by providing alternative ways to understanding a text; however, the theorists would probably have in the back of their minds that their theory is better and by their criticisms that they write, they are likely trying to convert you to their school of thought.

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