ERIC Number: ED333440
Record Type: Non-Journal
Publication Date: 1990
Reference Count: N/A
Literary Theory and the Notion of Difficulty. Report Series 4.7.
The works of French literary theorists Jacques Lacan, Jacques Derrida, and Roland Barthes reflect a view of the text as the primary object of investigation for any discipline in the human sciences. Each of the three has been involved with pedagogical reforms within French cultural institutions: Derrida with the teaching of philosophy, Lacan with psychoanalytical training, and Barthes with literature teaching. In Barthes' view, reading should not be constrained by literary convention or equated with the consumption of writing, and writing should not be confined to professional writers, teachers, and intellectuals. Lacan applied Freudian principles to communication, and introduced the notion of the text as a chain of signifiers. The "true" meaning of a text, Lacan believed, was to be found in gaps in the text, which interpretation would fill. To Derrida, there is no non-metaphorical standpoint from which to perceive the order and the demarcation of the metaphorical field. Derrida's deconstruction explodes the opposition of the metaphoric and the proper in a text, so that reading requires a double reading of the text. Barthes concluded that reading could still be taught in the schools, if the function of the institutional codes was clearly identified and the accomplishments of liberal secular schooling was maintained but directed toward deciphering codes. (Forty references are attached.) (SG)
Descriptors: Cognitive Psychology, Critical Theory, Critical Thinking, Educational Philosophy, Higher Education, Language Role, Literary Criticism, Metaphors, Reader Text Relationship
Literature Center, University of Albany, Ed B-9, 1400 Washington Ave., Albany, NY 12222 ($3.00 prepaid; checks payable to the Research Foundation of SUNY).
Publication Type: Reports - Evaluative; Information Analyses
Education Level: N/A
Sponsor: National Endowment for the Arts, Washington, DC.; Office of Educational Research and Improvement (ED), Washington, DC.
Authoring Institution: Center for the Learning and Teaching of Literature, Albany, NY.