Literary Criticism

Excellence in Scholarship and Learning



Sighs, Cries, Lies, Insults, Outbursts, Hoaxes, Disasters, Letters of Resignation, and Various Other Noises Off in These the First and Last Days of Literary Criticism ... Not to Mention the University

John Schad is Professor of Modern Literature at University of Lancaster. His most recent book, Someone Called Derrida (2007), is a real-life detective narrative centred on Jacques Derrida’s secret Oxford life. His novel, Nowhere Near London. Or, I Am Not Walter Benjamin, comes out in 2011.

Oliver Tearle is currently completing a doctoral thesis on hallucination in weird fiction at Loughborough University. He has written for (among others) Notes and Queries, Critical Sense, and the Modern Language Review. His first book, The Curtained Room, will be published by Sussex Academic Press.

The Verb to Crrritic!
Radio 3’s cabaret of the word, featuring the best poetry, new writing and performances recently included John Schad’s GodotOnSea. See:

Well this is it: the end, last gasp, final straw; in short, the concluding dark volume in a series of books some idiot called ‘critical inventions.’ Let us be like wry Oscar Wilde, said the idiot, and dream of the critic as artist, or at least as someone else, as someone other than who we had thought he was, or been taught he was. Let us, continued the idiot, set the critical dogs off the leash and see what they come back with. And here they are: no less than twenty-four press-ganged souls all huddled together for warmth; some are critics, some are poets, and some are critic-poets; among them such as Steven Connor, Jonathan Dollimore, Ewan Fernie, Mark Ford, Kevin Hart, Geoffrey Hartman, Esther Leslie, Willy Maley, and Michael Simmons Roberts.

So, twenty-four voices, twenty-four shots in the dark, or maybe shots at the dark, or possibly the head, or even the foot. But whatever, each is a shot at pushing the battered perambulator of dear old criticism so far and so fast that someone somewhere – whether in anger, derision, or pain – might just cry ‘Crritic!,’ that curse of all curses, the best of all possible anathema. But maybe, just maybe, the exclamation ‘Crritic!’ will here double as a cri de coeur, or howl of self-loathing, or scream of delight, or laugh in the night, or just a smashed-up and beaten old prayer. We shall see.

Hardback ISBN: 978-1-84519-342-3
Hardback Price: £50.00 / $69.95
Release Date: June 2011
Paperback ISBN: 978-1-84519-382-9
Paperback Price: £19.95 / $34.95
Release Date: June 2011
Page Extent / Format: 320 pp. / 229 x 152 mm
Illustrated: No


John Schad

The Lexicon of Punk Criticism
Oliver Tearle

Our Never-to-be-slighted ‘Fun’
Tony Sharpe

The Critic as Artist
John Goodby

Rage, Rage Against the Dying of Delight
Steven Connor

Mene, Mene, Tekel, Upharsin
Michael Symmons Roberts

The Writing on the Byre Beams
Helen Farish

Mark Ford

Criticism and Creativity
Graham Holderness

Broken Hallelujah
Kevin Mills

The Critic as Fiction, or Dr. King on Sheds – an Entertainment
Simon King

Days of 1989
Helen Farish

Six Children
Mark Ford

The Ghosted Interpreter
Geoffrey Hartman

The Bruise that Heidegger Built
Drew Milne

Critical Criticism’s Critique: 13 Theses, or, It is All Rubbish
Esther Leslie

Of the Falling of Stones: Notes Towards a Theory of Intuition
Harold Schweizer

Do We Live in an Age of Science and of Poetry? An Interview with Charles Olson and a Time Traveller
Peter Middleton

Turning Pages; or, The Critic as Baby
Jonathan Taylor

That Shadow
Kevin Hart

The Death of Hart Crane
Mark Ford

On Leaving
Jonathan Dollimore

Uni and Me
Willy Maley

How to Kill a Labrador (an Elegy)
Susan Bradley-Smith

Lamenting Maud’s Worth Becoming Maud
Duraid Jalili

John Schad

From Dunsinane
Ewan Fernie and Simon Palfrey

Oliver Tearle

Wow! What can one say more? After this book, academic “discourse” (note the “scared quotes”) in all its genres, not to speak of poetry, and not to speak of the distinction between creator and crritic, will never be the same again. This book fulfills, and then some, the project of John Schad’s series, “Critical Inventions”: “. . . this series seeks the truly critical critic – or, to be paradoxical, the critic as critic; the critic who is a critic of criticism as conventionally understood, or misunderstood. He or she is the critic who will dare to disturb the universe, or at least the university - in particular, the institutionalisation of criticism that is professional, university English.” The twenty-four critical creations gathered here are almost all by Britishers, two by European-born immigrants to the United States, one by an Australian. These include poems that are critical essays; autobiographies that are really critiques of the British institutionalization of literary study; critical essays that flaunt the established conventions of such essays, et cetera. The law of genre is shamelessly defied. Allusions overt and covert abound, as if to indicate that the flotsam and jetsam of the Western literary tradition is floating around the minds of these writers in strange juxtapositions, testifying, it may be, to the not entirely predictable result of much academic literary study. Perhaps the most devastating effect of this collection is to make the reader, this reader at least, feel that everything he has ever written has been unconscious parody. Read, but read at your peril. Caveat lector.
J. Hillis Miller, University of California, Irvine

Academic and poet Dr Kevin Mills, Reader in English Literature, and tutor in English and Creative Writing has won the inaugural M. Wynn Thomas Award for the best critical essay.

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