Monday, July 16, 2007

The Diminishing Returns of Critical Self Consciousness

It's probably impossible to establish a perfect justification for a particular critical method for approaching a work of literature.

Would an acceptance of this impossibility and a willingness to conduct criticism in a less formal way make it more interesting?

I've always sort of felt that the self-conscious pursuit of a perfectly virtuous and unimpeachably correct political perspective is an impediment to justice, or at least justice in this place/time/greater historical era. Literary criticism and other veins of thought, say philosophy, aren't, as systems, as dynamic and complex as physical/social/political reality, so they would seem a good field in which to spend time establishing a better foundation for the arguments and narratives they support, but there's a limit to the value we derive from examining and/or restating the context and history of our ideas.

I have no idea what that limit might be.

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