After Ontology: Literary Theory and Modernist Poetics

Albany: SUNY Press (2001)
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Abstract

This book identifies the uniquely postmodern elements in hermeneutics and deconstruction in order to reread many of the central texts in modernist literature. It is a comparative study that illuminates points of contact between the philosophical positions of Gadamer and Derrida, discussing Heidegger's influence on both Gadamer's ontological approaches to the work of art and Derrida's transformation approach to literary and philosophical texts. The poetry of Eliot, Pound and Yeats is examined within this framework, while the crucial example of Joyce is taken up in terms of the production and reception of 'Ulysses' as a seminal influence. The study concludes by suggesting that Derrida provides an ethical version of hermeneutics that departs from Gadamerian models but can be reconciled with both postmodern insights and historical research.

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William Melaney
American University in Cairo

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