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After the Critique of Lyric

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  23 October 2020

Extract

Lyric studies has been new before. Many students of lyric will remember Chaviva Hošek and Patricia Parker'S 1985 COLlection of essays, Lyric Poetry beyond New Criticism, as a previous occasion for reevaluating the course of lyric studies. Hošek and Parker's ambitious volume measured the distance between New Critical and later theories of interpretation: “structuralist and post-structuralist, feminist, psychoanalytic, Marxist, semiotic, reader-response” (7). Features highlighted by then-recent theory—the difference dramatized by intertextuality, for example, or the impossibility, as opposed to transparency, of many putative forms of address in lyric—revealed what had been repressed and implied by Western academic assumptions about poetry earlier in the twentieth century; Hošek and Parker gathered an ambitious representation of such modifications of canonical lyric reading. Familiar units of Western literary vocabulary such as “apostrophe” continued to be used, but observation of their destabilizing causes and effects and reflection on their inner contradictions helped to break the illusion of the verbal icon's centripetal force. Parker notes in her introduction that the question “What would enable future work on the lyric?” remains as open as ever at the end of their project (16). So now that another twenty-two years have passed, how is lyric studies differently new, as gauged by the 2006 MLA convention's focus on lyric?

Type
Theories and Methodologies
Copyright
Copyright © 2008 by The Modern Language Association of America

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