The Lateral Dance: The Deconstructive Criticism of J. Hillis Miller

Critical Inquiry 6 (4):593-607 (1980)

Miller undermines traditional ideas and beliefs about language, literature, truth, meaning, consciousness, and interpretation. In effect, he assumes the role of unrelenting destroyer—or nihilistic magician—who dances demonically upon the broken and scattered fragments of the Western tradition. Everything touched soon appears torn. Nothing is ever finally darned over, or choreographed for coherence, or foregrounded as magical illusion. Miller, the relentless rift-maker, refuses any apparent repair and rampages onward, dancing, spell-casting, destroying all. As though he were a wizard, he appears in the guise of a bull-deconstructer loose in the china shop of Western tradition. Vincent B. Leitch, associate professor of English at Mercer University, is the editor of Robert Southwell's Marie Magdalens Funeral Teares and The Poetry of Estonia: Essays in Comparative Analysis. Sections of the present essay will appear in his The Poetics of Deconstruction, which offers a critical history and anatomy of deconstructive criticism
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DOI 10.1086/448068
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