Sunday Book-Thought 145

It has been apparent for some time that literary theory is in something of a cul-de-sac. Derrida has written little of substance for years; de Man produced his most stunning effects by dying and leaving an unsavoury past to be unearthed; Marxism is licking its wounds after the collapse of the post-capitalist bureaucracies. The pathbreaking epoch of Greimas and the early Kristeva, the Althusserians and avant-garde film theorists, radical Barthes and reader-response theory, now lies a couple of decades behind us. Few truly innovative theoretical moves have been made since; the new historicism, for all its occasional brilliance, is theoretically speaking a set of footnotes to Foucault. It is as though the theory is all in place, and all that remains to be done is run yet more texts through it.
Terry Eagleton, Figures of Dissent: Reviewing Fish, Speivak, Žižek and Others (London: Verso, 2005), p. 135.

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