Illustration | Book, Essay
- Book description:
Positioning himself in the slippery divide between two highly charged critical approaches--deconstruction and cultural studies--J. Hillis Miller explains why the split occurred and offers, for the first time, an eloquent analysis of the goals and methods of cultural studies. Miller's Illustration is an intellectual adventure that transgresses the boundaries of critical theory to reveal the ideological forces at work. The result, art critic Norman Bryson concludes, "is an extraordinary performance." In a positive, constructive way, Miller describes cultural studies as, primarily, a means of contextualizing works of art. Relating the assumptions behind this approach to recent social, political, and technological changes, he shows how cultural studies is itself subject to its context and thus perhaps misguided insofar as it portrays art objects as "mere illustration." In particular, Miller considers new forms of electronic research in the humanities which, with their vast, homogenizing effect on data, can compel a critic to reconfigure information--in fact, to create the context that he or she means simply to identify. To illustrate this phenomenon, Miller investigates one topic of importance for cultural studies: the relation of verbal and visual forms in multimedia works. Drawing examples from Twain, Gorey, Mallarme, James, Ruskin, Heidegger, Dickens, and Turner, he shows how neither word nor image takes priority in such collaborations; nor is either a mere representation of a pre-existing reality. The transformations wrought by cultural artifacts on their contexts, Miller contends, must be identified through detailed and vigilant "rhetorical" readings if the force of a work of art is tobe passed on into the current cultural situation. And for the new form these readings take, the reader-critic must in turn assume responsibility.
- Book Authors:
- Joseph Hillis Miller, Jr. ( born March 5, 1928 ) is an American literary critic who has been to a great extent influenced by—and who has to a great extent influenced—deconstruction.Hillis Miller was born in Newport News, Virginia. He is the boy of J. Hillis Miller, Sr. , a Baptist curate, university professor and decision maker who served as the president of the University of Florida. Miller graduated from Oberlin College ( B.A. summa semen laude, 1948 ) and Harvard University ( M.A. 1949, Ph.D. 1952 ) . Miller is married and has three kids.
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