IAN BALFOUR What is one to do with the writings and thinking of Paul de Man these days? We are now at a sufﬁ cient distance from the high-water mark of debates about “theory” as well as, more speciﬁ cally, the period of deconstruction being a primary mode of literary, cultural, and philosophical analysis. The days of it being de rigeur to contend with are long gone too, though that is not to say that a good many of the issues and problems raised by deconstruction are a thing of the past. To some extent, many of the “lessons” and protocols, as even Stanley Fish once argued, were folded into practices of criticism not ﬂ ying under a banner of “deconstruction,” much less the non-existent entity of “deconstructionism.” The querying of relations of form and history, the status of performative language, the stakes of rhetoric, and the force of discourse in the force-ﬁ elds of difference are relatively alive and kicking. Whatever one’s attitude to the work of Derrida, de Man, and others associ- ated with the fragile term “deconstruction,” their works remain of value to think with and through and against. We are also at a distance from
symploke – University of Nebraska Press
Published: Nov 28, 2018
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