chapter  6
28 Pages

Edward Said

The work of Edward Said represents “ practical criticism” in a new, powerful and, above all, oppositional mode. Said’s has been the skeptical voice inside literary theory, constantly reminding it of how impractical its habitual strategies are, since they serve (like the older “ practical criticism” associated with I. A. Richards) to split literature and criticism off from wider social practices. By conceiving of “ literariness” or “ the aesthetic” as isolatable affects open to formal theorizing, critics have marginalized both literature and themselves; and by failing to see the way in which literature - and criticism - are intercalated in a wider field of power and action, they have consciously or unconsciously served the interests of ruling-class power. Said writes against critical modes which, like deconstruction, have a tendency to substitute a pure theoretical consciousness for a critical or oppositional one.