Reading with Graham, A Working Paper on the Emptiness of Counter-Factual Criticism and an OOO Conception of the Text

28 Pages Posted: 26 Oct 2012

Date Written: October 25, 2012

Abstract

Graham Harman has proposed a counter-factual literary criticism based on his object-oriented ontology. I argue: 1) that this proposed practical criticism collapses into the existing process of literary culture and is therefore empty, 2) that it implies a Platonic conception of the literary text, 3) that it follows from a rejection of Lévi-Strauss’s empirical work on myth that dates back to the mid-1970s and 4) that that rejection defended an intentionalist conception of the text, rather than a mechanistic one. As a counter-proposal I examine Pandosto and The Winter’s Tale using a method inspired by Lévi-Strauss, arguing that the differences between the plots of these two texts can be attributed to different cultural constructions of the family.

Keywords: object-oriented ontology, structuralism, Harman, Lévi-Strauss, literary criticism, semiotics, texts, literature

Suggested Citation

Benzon, William L., Reading with Graham, A Working Paper on the Emptiness of Counter-Factual Criticism and an OOO Conception of the Text (October 25, 2012). Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2166887 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.2166887

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