Just Being Difficult?

Just Being Difficult? : Academic Writing in the Public Arena

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Description

Is academic writing, particularly in the disciplines of literary theory and cultural studies, needlessly obscure? The claim has been widely circulated in the media and subject to passionate debate, but it has not been the subject of serious discussion. Just Being Difficult? provides learned and thoughtful analyses of the claim, of those it targets, and of the entire question of how critical writing relates to its intended publics and to audiences beyond them. In this book, a range of distinguished scholars, including some who have been charged with willful obscurity, argue for the interest and importance of some of the procedures that critics have preferred to charge with obscurity rather than confront in another way. The debate on difficult writing hovers on the edges of all academic writing that seeks to play a role in the public arena. This collection is a much-needed contribution to the discussion.
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Product details

  • Hardback | 240 pages
  • 152 x 229 x 21.34mm | 467g
  • Palo Alto, United States
  • English
  • First
  • 0804747091
  • 9780804747097

Flap copy

Is academic writing, particularly in the disciplines of literary theory and cultural studies, needlessly obscure? The claim has been widely circulated in the media and subject to passionate debate, but it has not been the subject of serious discussion. Just Being Difficult? provides learned and thoughtful analyses of the claim, of those it targets, and of the entire question of how critical writing relates to its intended publics and to audiences beyond them.
In this book, a range of distinguished scholars, including some who have been charged with willful obscurity, argue for the interest and importance of some of the procedures that critics have preferred to charge with obscurity rather than confront in another way. The debate on difficult writing hovers on the edges of all academic writing that seeks to play a role in the public arena. This collection is a much-needed contribution to the discussion.
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Back cover copy

"This collection is a remarkable and rational contribution to a passionate contemporary debate. Is academic writing unjustifiably obscure? The claim has been widely made in media ranging from the Wall Street Journal to The New Republic and Philosophy and Literature. Just Being Difficult? offers a thoughtful, generally unpolemical, stimulating, and learned series of analyses of the claim, of those its targets, and of the entire question of how critical writing relates to its intended public and the audiences beyond it." --Richard Terdiman, University of California, Santa Cruz
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Table of contents

Introduction: Dressing Up, Dressing Down 1 JONATHAN CULLER AND KEVIN LAMB Part 1. In Search of a Common Language; or, Language Debates and the History of Philosophy 1. Difficult Style and "Illustrious" Vernaculars: A Historical Perspective 15 MARGARET FERGUSON 2. Hume's Learned and Conversable Worlds 29 ROBIN VALENZA AND JOHN BENDER 3. Bad Writing and Good Philosophy 43 JONATHAN CULLER 4. The Metaphysics of Clarity and the Freedom of Meaning 58 JOHN MCCUMBER Part 2. Institutions, Publics, Intellectual Labor 5. Feminism's Broken English 75 ROBYN WIEGMAN 6. The Resistance of Theory; or, The Worth of Agony 95 REY CHOW 7. Styles of Intellectual Publics 106 MICHAEL WARNER Part 3. Modernist Poetics and Critical Badness 8. On Difficulty, the Avant-Garde, and Critical Moribundity 129 PETER BROOKS 9. Difficulty in Modern Poetry and Aesthetics 139 ROBERT KAUFMAN 1O. Bad Writing 157 BARBARA JOHNSON Part 4. Address to the Other: Ethics and Acknowledgment 11. The Morality of Form; or,What's "Bad" about "BadWriting"? 171 DAVID PALUMBO-LIU 12. The Politics of the Production of Knowledge:An Interview with Gayatri Chakravorty Spivak 181 STUART J. MURRAY I3. Values of Difficulty 199 JUDITH BUTLER
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Review quote

"This collection is a remarkable and rational contribution to a passionate contemporary debate. Is academic writing unjustifiably obscure? The claim has been widely made in media ranging from the Wall Street Journal to The New Republic and Philosophy and Literature. Just Being Difficult? offers a thoughtful, generally unpolemical, stimulating, and learned series of analyses of the claim, of those its targets, and of the entire question of how critical writing relates to its intended public and the audiences beyond it." -Richard Terdiman,University of California, Santa Cruz
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About Jonathan Culler

Jonathan Culler is Senior Associate Dean of the College of Arts and Sciences and Class of 1916 Professor of English and Comparative Literature at Cornell University. Kevin Lamb is a graduate student in the English Department at Cornell University.
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12 ratings
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3 33% (4)
2 8% (1)
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