Derek Attridge

in Reading and Responsibility

Published by Edinburgh University Press

Published in print May 2010 | ISBN: 9780748640089
Published online March 2012 | e-ISBN: 9780748652112 | DOI:

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This chapter was written for an MLA panel on ‘Critical Jargon’ and takes up the question of the responsibility of the writer to his or her readers. Most of those who use the word ‘jargon’ would probably acknowledge, at least after calm reflection, that it is not a neutral term, objectively naming a certain kind of discourse. A truly jargon-free text would have to be a text that did not depend on a limited context for its intelligibility. Jargon is an instance of jargon, or at least of the properties for which jargon is condemned. The responsible use of jargon, and language-as-jargon, takes them into account in the fullest possible manner. Lucidity can never be lucidity for all and for ever, but can only be a sensitivity to context, a responsibility to the other, a recognition of difference, heterogeneity, mediation; something not very far removed from jargon, in other words.

Keywords: jargon; lucidity; heterogeneity; mediation; difference

Chapter.  4941 words. 

Subjects: Literary Theory and Cultural Studies

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