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Jonathan Loesberg

Related: theory - literature


Pierre Bourdieu's theoretical project begins--not precisely chronologically, but with an intrinsic logic--as the attempt to formulate a method of sociological and anthropological analysis that mediates between simply reproducing the perceptions of the culture studied and a scientific codification of those perceptions that gives them objective shape, but not a shape that corresponds to anything in the workings of that culture.

Driven by the exigencies of that project, Bourdieu has ended up defining a series of concepts and concerns that has recently revivified among literary critics and theorists an interest in the sociology of literature. In particular, most centrally in Distinction: A Social Critique of the Judgment of Taste, he has offered a powerful explication of "taste," in all its meanings from choices in art through choices in dress, furniture, and the like, to taste in food, both as a unified subject matter and as a method for producing and reproducing power differences among social classes. -- http://direct.press.jhu.edu/demo/elh/60.4loesberg.html


  • Aestheticism and Deconstruction: Pater, Derrida, and De Man - Jonathan Loesberg [Amazon US] [FR] [DE] [UK]

    Considered an exemplar of "Art-for-Art's Sake" in Victorian art and literature, Walter Pater (1839-1894) was co-opted as a standard bearer for the cult of hedonism by Oscar Wilde, and this version of aestheticism has since been used to attack deconstruction. Here Jonathan Loesberg boldly uses Pater's important work on society and culture, Studies in the History of the Renaissance (1873), to argue that the habitual dismissal of deconstruction as "aestheticist" fails to recognize the genuine philosophic point and political engagement within aestheticism. Reading Jacques Derrida and Paul de Man in light of Pater's Renaissance, Loesberg begins by accepting the charge that deconstruction is "aestheticist." He goes on to show, however, that aestheticism and modern deconstruction both produce philosophical knowledge and political effect through persistent self-questioning or "self-resistance" and in the internal critique and destabilization of hegemonic truths. Throughout Loesberg reinterprets Pater and reexamines the contributions of deconstruction in relation to the apparent theoretical shift away from deconstruction and toward new historicism. --Book Description via amazon.com

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