William Empson: The Critical Achievement

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Cambridge University Press, Mar 18, 1993 - Literary Criticism - 319 pages
William Empson (1906SH84) was one of the twentieth century's most distinctive critical voices, and left a profound mark upon Anglo-American literary culture. This book is the first full study of Empson's literary criticism in its various aspects, taking account of recent developments in critical theory and of Empson's complex SH at times deeply antagonistic SH attitude towards those developments. In their diversity of viewpoint and critical approach the nine essays reflect this sturdy resistance to fashionable trends of 'Eng. Lit.' opinion. Topics include the relations between Empson and Derrida's approaches to the issue of textual 'undecidability', and Empson's prominent (if unwilling role) in the shaping of English as an academic discourse. Christopher Norris's extended introduction charts the ground and offers a major revaluation of Empson's place in the theoretical tradition.
 

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Contents

Empsonian honesty and the beginnings
121
Empson Leavis and the challenge of Milton
143
an ambiguous character of
156
Empson and the meanings
170
Empson
196
de Man reading Empson
213
Fool and pharmakon
243
William Empsons cosmicomics
269
the Sheffield years
294
References
308
Index
316
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