The Confessions of the Critics shatters a certain silence. Autobiographical criticism has until now skated relatively free from the challenges that usually assail a new literary critical method. It has had this immunity from critique largely because feminists and third-world liberation fighters--such as Alice Walker, Adrienne Rich and Jane Gallop--ushered it to the North American academic stage. Other women and men, including Rigoberta Menchu, Nawal al-Sadawi, Mahasweta Devi and Malcolm X, wrote in the tradition and genre of testimonio . These and other unimpeachably militant backgrounds gave confessional criticism a certain cache among the largely liberal community of literary scholars. We have hesitated to express misgivings about a form that seemed intrinsically tied to the most vital, powerful strivings. Telling stories about one's own past is probably our culture's richest way of characterizing the effects of social injustice and developing what it takes to resist various kinds of victimage, writes contributor Charles Altieri. Confessions of the Critics provides a revealing look into the thoughts and experiences of some of the most influential and important critics of the 20th century. The writers included avoid pretention and gross self-misrepresentation, giving way to raw, sometimes embarrassing, always wholly believable emotion. Describing cumulative literary shocks and episodes of self-recognition, contributors offer insights to their ruling passions and works. Powerful sensations, emotions, recognitions and revelations make up the heart of Confessions of the Critics. It is a book that none will put aside or easily forget. Contributors: Charles Altieri, William Andrews, Michael F. Berube, Timothy Brennan, Gillian Brown, Cathy Davidson, Elizabeth Fox-Genovese, Diane Freedman, Marjorie Garber, Gerald Graff, Stephen J. Greenblatt, Michael Hill, Marianne Hirsch, Alice Yeager Kaplan, Amitava Kumar, Candace Lang, Louis Menand, Judith Lowder Newton, Linda Orr, Vincent Pecora, David Simpson, Gayatri Chakravorty Spivak, Madelon Sprengnether, Jane Tompkins, Marianna Torgovnick, H. Aram Veeser, Jeffrey Williams, Elizabeth Young-Bruehl.
TABLE OF CONTENTS
part I|94 pages
Is It Okay to Read Subjectively?
part II|90 pages
How Can a Critic Create a Self?
part III|97 pages
Just Do It!