One can put a precise date on it. On October 21, 1966 Jacques Derrida gave his lecture La Structure, le Singe et le Jeu dans les Discours des Sciences Humaines at the International Colloquium on Critical Languages and the Sciences at Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore. Derrida had travelled from France with Roland Barthes and Jacques Lacan, two of the other foundational figures in the rise to dominance of what would thereafter be misleadingly called "theory". Initially derided as higher Froggy nonsense, the new approach took off like wildfire among the younger American faculty. And here. ("The Review", Times, p. 9)-
- "Beyond the Critic as Cultural Arbiter" |STEPHEN BURN | The Web has organized reading audiences and changed the nature of the way new works are evaluated. This frees the critic to engage in more serious tasks.
- "With Clarity and Beauty, the Weight of Authority" | KATIE ROIPHE | Now, maybe more than ever, the critic has one important function: to write well.
- "The Intellectual at Play in the Wider World" | PANKAJ MISHRA | Literatures elsewhere offer a capacious mode of intellectual inquiry, one that can seamlessly accommodate insights offered by history, philosophy and ethnography.
- "The Will Not to Power, but to Self-Understanding" | ADAM KIRSCH | A serious critic is one who says something true about life and the world, not one who spins arguments merely to shape tastes.
- "Translating the Code Into Everyday Language" | SAM ANDERSON | The contemporary critic has to be an evangelist — implicitly or explicitly — not just for a particular book or author, but for literary experience itself.
- "From the Critical Impulse, the Growth of Literature" | ELIF BATUMAN | Negative criticism is particularly exciting, because once limitations are identified, we glimpse how to transcend them.