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Bucknell University Press
Interference Patterns: Literary Study, Scientific Knowledge, and Disciplinary Autonomy

Interference Patterns: Literary Study, Scientific Knowledge, and Disciplinary Autonomy

by Jon Adams


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Across the academy, disciplines flock for scientific status, keen to demonstrate that their approach to their subject matter is "scientific." How might literary criticism achieve anything like this sort of methodological consonance? Looking at the history of twentieth-century attempts, from Northrop Frye's macrostructural systematizing and Roman Jakobson's microstructural analysis, through to the collapse of the structuralist project and the recent strategic embrace of evolutionary psychology and cognitive science, this book looks at what hopes remain for a "science" of literary criticism and draws on the work of such thinkers as Richard Dawkins, Hilary Putnam, Richard Rorty, and Kurt Vonnegut to investigate the consequences of adopting a scientific perspective toward literary study. With an increasing number of departments teaching "literature and science" courses, the question of what literary study stands to gain (and what it might risk) from cleaving to the sciences is especially pressing.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781611482836
Publisher: Bucknell University Press
Publication date: 06/01/2007
Pages: 268
Product dimensions: 6.40(w) x 9.30(h) x 0.80(d)

About the Author

After several years teaching at Durham, Jon Adams now holds a research position at the London School of Economics, where he works on popular science writing as part of a Leverhulme/E.S.R.C. project called "How Well Do 'Facts' Travel?" This is his first publication.

Table of Contents

Acknowledgments     7
Introduction: Interference Patterns     11
Scientism and the Unity of Knowledge     23
Making a Science of Criticism     39
Evolutionary Psychology     77
Relativism and the Unity of Culture     100
Relativism and the Commonsense Realists     127
Centralities of Language and Matter     157
Conclusion: Tessellation Patterns     199
Notes     208
Works Cited     247
Index     257

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