And another thing…

November 23, 2008 at 8:39 pm Leave a comment

When you (a la Foucault) want to remove the author as subject, a typical move is to then privilege the text in a fashion that constitutes it the subject. This leads to at best a partial, and at worst an ahistorical reading. To the extent that Michaels quietly slips from the  subject as author to the subject as text, he misreads himself. Believing he’s found a textual affinity between naturalism and the market economy, in fact he’s found a partial reading predicated upon a tension in realism whereby it must actively partake of the world it seeks to critique. The characters and sometimes texts in respectable naturalism (naturalism deemed appropriate for scholarly interest, read Dreiser, Norris, Wharton, Crane) are frequently torn or represent the violence and appeal of capitalist modernity. The Gold Standard is intended as a kind of gotcha for critics who would read naturalism in opposition to the dominant mode of production. In fact it reveals what we already knew, that the politics of critical realism are dialectical and complex.


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Rereading Walter Benn Michaels’ Gold Standard Ozzy WoW Ad

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