Recommend to your Librarian

The Idea of the Literary

Paragraph Volume 28 Issue 2

Edited by Nicholas Harrison

Paperback (Printed to Order)

In many thriving areas of critical activity, critics have come to view with suspicion such notions as literary specificity or literary autonomy, and perhaps even literature. Critics in fields such as postcolonial studies, queer theory and feminist theory have re-examined - and attacked - the groundings of a traditional literary canon, and have raised questions about the basis and benefits of literary study. These intellectual shifts have taken place in a political and institutional context where those studying and teaching literature have repeatedly come under pressure to justify their activities.

Show more


Preface, Nicholas Harrison
Who Needs and Idea of the Literary? Nicholas Harrison
Performing Metaphors: The Singularity of Literary Figuration, Derek Attridge
Qu'est-ce que la literature pense? (Literary Thinking), Alain Badiou
The Facticity of the Literary Work, Jean Bessière
Musical Thinking: Hegel and the Phenomenology of Prosody, Simon Jarvis
Reflections on the Excess of Empire in Tayeb Salih's Season of Migration to the North, Benita Parry
Literary Misunderstanding, Jacques Rancière
A Defence of Tautology: Repetition and Difference in Wordsworth's Note to 'The Thorn', Corinna Russell
Ecrire/Writing, Assia Djebar.

About the Author

Nicholas Harrison is Head of the French Department at King's College London. He is Editor of the journal Paragraph.


Thought-provoking and considered... The articles collected here are intelligent, rewarding and timely in their soundings of the idea of the literary and its imbrications of aesthetics and world.
- Patrick Crowley, French Studies

Also in this series