Postcritical Relations

Swoboda, Jessica, English - Graduate School of Arts and Sciences, University of Virginia
Felski, Rita, AS-English (ENGL), University of Virginia
Levenson, Michael, AS-English (ENGL), University of Virginia
Olwell, Victoria, AS-English (ENGL), University of Virginia

Contemporary methodological debates—critique vs. postcritique, paranoid vs. reparative reading, deep vs. surface reading, distant vs. close reading, interpretation vs. description—emphasize either a text’s structural preoccupations and ideological underpinnings or how critics relate to and engage their objects of study. Rarely, however, do these conversations address these debates’ interpersonal stakes or ask how novelists contribute to them. “Postcritical Relations” turns to art novels by Rachel Cusk, Siri Hustvedt, Zadie Smith, and Virginia Woolf and attends specifically to their accounts of characters’ interactions with various types of art: writing, installation exhibits, academic criticism, and painting. My wager is that these art novels, most especially their descriptions of characters’ aesthetic experiences, contribute to ongoing discussions on literary methodology by bringing to the fore its interpersonal implications.

PHD (Doctor of Philosophy)
postcritique, interpersonal relations, contemporary literature, art novel, aesthetic experience, argument, character, criticism, Siri Hustvedt, Rachel Cusk, Zadie Smith, Virginia Woolf
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