decon artistry

Doug Henwood dhenwood at
Thu Jan 6 07:25:42 PST 2000

Dennis R Redmond wrote:

>We could all use a little infection by deconstruction, it's good for
>building up your ideological immune system.

Angela sent me these blurbs for Thomas Keenan's Fables of Responsibility, about which she's very enthusiastic herself. Just ordered my own copy.

Spivak: "brilliant and lucid book...begins with a theory of reading and ends with a stunning analysis of the conditions for political action... The readings of Marx, Foucault, and Aesop would themselves be enough to recommend [it]"

Zizek: "Are not serious responsibility and political committment possible only if one presupposes a firm universal set of values? And is the lesson of deconstruction not that any such set is always contingent, worm-eaten by its opposite, dispersed, violently imposed short, not obligatory? Against this cliche, Keenan's book sets the record straight once and for all. The absence of unambiguous universal standards is the precondition of ethical responsibility: it forces us to engage ourselves fully, without any metaphysical alibi. The lesson of deconstruction is not that we are not responsible since we are merely 'spoken by' the Text, but, on the contrary, that every apparently neutral position already hinges on an unacknowledged ethico-political choice. ..."

Butler: "...brilliant engagement... The return to Marx astonishes and promises, a clear tour de force."


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