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Yale school


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A group of literary theorists and critics associated in the 1970s and 1980s with Yale University, formerly a bastion of the New Criticism in literary theory. The five identified members of the group were notable for their promotion of the then controversial project of deconstruction. Their partly misleading self-identification as a ‘school’ arose from the publication in 1979 of Deconstruction and Criticism, a volume that was taken as a kind of manifesto or showcase: it contained essays by Harold Bloom (Professor of Humanites at Yale), Paul de Man (Chair of Yale's Department of Comparative Literature), Jacques Derrida (who held a part-time Visting Professorship at Yale), Geoffrey H. Hartman (Professor of English and Comparative Literature at Yale), and J. Hillis Miller (Professor of English at Yale). Hartman's preface to the volume, though, distanced his own and Bloom's positions from those of the more fully committed deconstructionist styles of de Man, Derrida, and Miller. De Man's death four years later, along with Bloom's increasing intellectual distance from deconstructive approaches to literature, had the effect of breaking up this group identity. For a fuller account, consult Vincent B. Leitch, Deconstructive Criticism (1983).

Subjects: Literature.


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