Literary Criticism

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Hostage of the Word

Readings into Writings, 1993–2013

John Schad is Professor of Modern Literature at University of Lancaster. He is the author of Someone Called Derrida. An Oxford Mystery (2007) and the co-editor of Crrritic! (2011). His next book, The Late Walter Benjamin, comes out in 2012 with Continuum.

Hostage of the Word brings together a number of John Schad’s very best uncollected essays, interleaved with a selection of autobiographical poems and a striking new work that brings together both critical and creative modes of writing. Hostage thus plots the intriguing trajectory of Schad’s very distinctive work over the last twenty years – a trajectory that moves from a series of essays that juggle Christian, Marxist and Derridean intuitions, through a radically literary engagement with Deconstruction, to a daringly critical-creative mode of writing. In this exciting new field, as in the more established world of literature and religion, Schad is an idiosyncratic and sometimes audacious pioneer. Hostage is to be published simultaneously in hardback and paperback to accommodate adoption on critical-creative courses at both undergraduate and postgraduate levels.

Hardback ISBN: 978-1-84519-494-9
Hardback Price: £50.00 / $69.95
Release Date: January 2013
Paperback ISBN: 978-1-84519-495-6
Paperback Price: £19.95 / $34.95
Release Date: January 2013
Page Extent / Format: 192 pp. / 229 x 152 mm
Illustrated: No


Not Here – By Way of a Foreword [2013]

Waiting in ‘Unhope’: Negation in Thomas Hardy’s Early Poetry [1993]

(No. On the un-birth of…) [unpublished poem]

The End of the End of History: Graham Swift’s Waterland [1993]

The Divine Comedy of the Sign: Tennyson’s In Memoriam [1993]

‘Hostage of the Word’: Postructuralism’s Gospel Intertexts [1996]

(Waking Day. On the birth of...) [unpublished poem]

Reading the Long Way Round: Vanity Fair [1996]

Why Wait for an Angel? Pynchon’s The Crying of Lot 49 [1997]

(When Did You Last See Your Father? On the death of …)

Philosophy/Architecture’: Thomas Hardy’s A Laodicean [2001]

(Movement. On the death of…) [unpublished poem]

Coming Back to “Life”: Leavis Spells Pianos [2004]

(Emperor and Doll. On the birth of...) [unpublished poem]

Someone called Derrida [2007]

Our Lives, Mrs Dalloway [2013]

A History of Bewilderment at Bedevilment: Or How Literary Criticism has Approached Fateful Condition of Literature [2013]

Still Not Here – By Way of an Afterword [2013]



In this compelling mixture of criticism, poetry, life-writing, theology and theoretical reflection, John Schad shows himself once again to be among the most illuminatingly unconventional, and boldly experimental critics of our time.
Terry Eagleton

Schad reads as he dreams, or dreams as he reads.
Derrida Today

The modern theoretical re-evaluation of literature has given way to a renewed interest in religious questions. The religiously inflected critical inquiry of writers such as Geoffrey Hartman, Luce Irigaray, J. Hillis Miller, Terry Eagleton, and John Schad has developed this tradition.
The Blackwell Companion to the Bible in English Literature

As an admirer and an attentive follower of Schad’s work, I thought I knew what to expect in Hostage of the Word…but Hostage gives us much more than a new historical vantage point on his earlier writing. The book constitutes an outstanding work in its own right and provides further evidence, if any were needed, for the importance of what Schad has to say. Furthermore, in its careful plotting of a particular trajectory, it reveals (and complicates) a great deal about Schad’s own story…. Hostage confirms Schad’s role as one of the leading critical voices of our time.
The Glass, Journal of the Christian Literary Studies Group,

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