[Bibliography] [Relevant Link] [Other Theories]
Literary Criticism Databank

New Criticism
Reader Response
Structurism & Semiotics
Nation & Postcolonialism
Cultural Studies

English Literature Databank

Internet Assisted Courses

English Department 

Poststructuralism and Deconstruction
Concepts & Examples
Issues & Discussion
Relevant Links
Under Construction
First examples: animations '"Mastioska"; "Tango"
Focus: poststructuralist view of language

I. Major Concepts of Poststructuralism: Some Post-Structural Assumptions (remote)
1. The play of signifiers:  (It moves, it multiplies, it is material and exchangeable.)
The stable connection/unity of signifier and signified is challenged.  More emphasis is put on the signifier, and its play. critique of meaning

2. Anti-Humanism critique of human subject
The notion of the subject as a unity of consciousness and agent has been challenged.  e.g.

3. De-Totalization, De-Doxification:  of History and Traditional Philosophy (the former's linear causality; as forms of totalization), Doxa (common sense) and Truth

4. Self-Reflexivity & Concerns with Representation : Theory and practice are no longer separable.  Theories become more self-reflexive.

Major Theorists:

Early influences:Mikhail Bahktin

(Difference between Bahktin and Barthes in their view of referentiality)

Bahktin: The relation between art and reality is defined by chronotope.   Chronotope is the process of assimilating real time and space; it is the historical time and space artistically shaped and expressed in art.

Barthes: In the most realistic novel, the referent has no "reality."  What we called "real" is never more than a code of representation: it is never a code of execution: the novelistic real is not operable.

Roland Barthes

Michelle Foucault

Barthes and Foucault (An Outline by Allison Lin)

Theorists on Postmodernism 

II. Major Concepts of Derridian Deconstruction:
1. Lily Huang (outline of an introd); 2. "Differance" outline: 1. Kate Liu; 2. Kevin Chen
    -- language as a system of difference, the transcendental signified
    --logocentrism, phonocentrism, phalogocentrism
    --binary opposition and supplement
       *While structualists had treated binary oppositions as stable terms in a formal structure, Derrida sees
         them as organized in unstable disequilibrium (see Handout p. 89).
    --diffrance: 1. To defer, 2. To differ

II. Practice:

    A. deconstruct traditional texts
        1. reverse the binary hierarchy (finding its supplementation)'textbook 81-82
            e.g. "Young Goodman Brown"; "Prufrock" Paradise Lost
        2. find out a text's gap, or critical difference (contradictions in a text), and indeterminacy
            e. g. Wordsworth's "Afterthought" and "A Slumber did my Spirit Seal", Huckleberry Finn, Billy Budd
            indeterminacy: Scarlet Letter, "Purloined Letter"
        3. the textual unconscious (ideology)
            "Eveline" ; "Fire Sermon" from The Waste Land
    B. explain intertextuality in postmodern texts

   C. discuss Derrida's ideas as they are illustrated in a text: "Deconstructing Jeffefries." ("Snowed Up")