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Literary theory, dead

Finally, someone has noticed that post-modern literary theory is dead or dying. This, from the Christian Science Monitor: "Postmodern literary theory is now transforming itself so rapidly that Marxist, feminist, deconstructionist, and psychoanalytic critics (and others) are flocking back to the drawing board in droves as they search for new approaches to writing and teaching.

Indeed, some academics say that postmodern theory is on the way out altogether and that the heady ideas that once changed the way literature is taught and read will soon be as extinct as the dodo and the buggy whip." All this is laughable, if it weren’t so serious in its consequences. Thousands of students have been mislead into
not reading great works of literature because it was said that it was all meaningless mumbo-jumbo. They missed some good and grand things, beautiful things, human things. Oh, but that’s OK because the purveyors of this nonsense now have tenure and they’ll just go and find some other kind of drivel that will seem oh-so-new and oh-so-sophisticated, in preparation for misleading another legion of undergraduates. We should exile them all to Paris where they can sit around left bank coffee houses pretending to talk with one another in their wild and whirling words which signify nothing, for they are too old to learn. They will never wonder or know or be able to hear words like these (and that is their curse):
"Beauty dead, black Chaos comes again." Or, "Speak of me as I am. Nothing extenuate,/Nor set down aught in malice." Or, "Thy father slew my father; therefore die."

Discussions - 3 Comments

Could it be that the authors who denied that there was an author finally figured out the contradiction? Could it be that the postmodernists who rejected the idea of truth itself finally figured out that we shouldn’t listen to THEM as their "truth" is just as valid or invalid as any other truth? Peter Kreeft is a great philosopher who exposes the inanities of this academic bunch with their high-falutent jargon that no one can nor would want to read. Also, look for the short, but excellent book, "Who’s to Say?" by Melton (???). They’ll go onto their latest fashionable intellectual trends pulling their flunkie graduate students along with them as well as trickle down to publications like the New York Times who embrace this mealy-minded crap. I’ll take Shakespeare, Homer, and Tolkien and a nice cup of hot chocolate today, thanks.

As one who is suffering through the second of two semesters of shoveling these equine feces while in pursuit of honors in my English degree (although I will be able to regain my equilibrium by writing a senior thesis on either G.M. Hopkins or Flannery O’Conner), I must say that the death of PoMO Theory is news to me. The problem is that these pseudo-intellectuals filter who is admitted to graduate programs in the humanities (and thereby who will teach the humanities in the future), so we can only expect worse from the academy, not better, because the new generation will only be made up of such people as did not realize that they were being taught by lunatics. Through their postitions, they have the power to ensure the indoctrination of all of our professionals, especially our lawyers. For example: in order to get into the "elite" English programs (Yale, Berkley, etc) one is almost required to state a research interest in "Queer Theory" (I will not give the readers of this forum nightmares about the contents of said theory). This means that the English courses that every future lawyer or journalist (at least such as attend universities with the sort of reputations that open the doors to high-level careers) will take will be indoctrination sessions (read the NYT editorial on "Career Girls" from last weekend to see how these people use their classrooms).

Our universities have become fora for the elaborate self-justifications of tremendously disturbed people (quite literally: how else to explain the fact that the most cutting-edge theory is interested in viewing the entire world from the perspective of a psycho-sexual disorder?). O Tempora! O Mores! However, there is hope if one can every so often take Fr. George William Rutler’s advice and quiet down with a good cigar and St. Francis de Sale’s Treatise on the Love of God. I recommend also G.K. Chesterton, Jacques Maritain, C.S. Lewis, and, above all, the Saints (esp: Paul, Augustine, Thomas Aquinas, Alphonsus di Liguori, Jean Marie Vianney, Robert Bellarmine Therese of the Child Jesus, and Gregory the Great) to counteract the adverse effects of exposure to contemporary academic drivel.

The amazing thing about postmodernist "scholarship" is that it’s so empty, a computer can create a plausible looking example. Seriously. This Postmodernism Generator compiles a different essay each time you load it. It’s only good for a real laugh one time, though, because you’ll never get anything comprehensible from it.

Dan, old friend, good to hear that you’re out there and still playing Socrates to academia’s biggest sophists. Keep up the good work!

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