Literature, in Theory: Tropes, Subjectivities, Responses and Responsibilities

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Jacques Derrida has argued about the difference between literature and theory that despite its institutional status, part of its institution is the right of literature to say anything. Literature cannot be defined as such, and as soon as one seeks to produce a reading of the literary, complications arise. Yet despite its institutional significance, theory remains something many wish would go away; and which, for others, is still not read, is misread, and remains to be read. Like literature, it remains as an enigmatic identity, resistant to definition, but subject to misperceptions and open to general statements that are more or less inaccurate. By examining how theory and literature are concepts and names which touch on one other in complex ways, Julian Wolfreys seeks to understand their intersections and differences. Examining a wide range of authors, from Dickens to Joyce, and engaging directly with a number of major theorists, Wolfreys takes the reader on a journey through the issues and ideas involved in reading literature, in theory.