Yale School of Deconstruction

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A shorthand way of referring to a moment in the 1970s when the work of Jacques Derrida was taken up and experimented with by four prominent literary critics in the Department of English at Yale: Paul de Man, J. Hillis Miller, Geoffrey Hartmann, and Harold Bloom. While it is true that these authors drew inspiration from Derrida's work, it has to be said that their brand of deconstruction bears very little resemblance to Derrida's (we could also say, to adapt a phrase from Fredric Jameson—himself sometimes mistakenly included in this school because he happened to be at Yale then—that the two versions of deconstruction have much in common, indeed everything save the essentials). The Yale form of deconstruction tends to be a highly playful and erudite form of close reading, with very little interest in making either a philosophical or political point, whereas Derrida is precisely concerned with the latter.

Further Reading:

J. Arac et al. (eds.)The Yale Critics: Deconstruction in America (1983).H. Bloom (ed.)Deconstruction and Criticism (1979).

Subjects: Literary Theory and Cultural Studies.

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