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Let’s Hear It For Janus: Looking Behind and Ahead

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Dubrow’s Afterword identifies several achievements of the collection, notably the range of critical methods and texts it encompasses and its inclusion of both critics of earlier generations and cutting-edge work. The essay traces the ways contributors approach three keys and often overlapping subjects: authors, readers, and forms. In so doing, these studies often participate in the rejection of what is often termed “critique” in the sense of antagonistic attacks on other approaches. This collection, the Afterword suggests, gestures toward goals for the future, such as ways we can continue to approach other scholars judiciously, build bridges with creative writers, and address contemporary pedagogical challenges.

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  • DOI: 10.1007/978-3-030-71139-9_14
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  1. 1.

    For valuable assistance with this essay, I am grateful to Thomas O’Connor, Jahan Ramazani, and Jane Rickard.

  2. 2.

    Given the extent of recent and older criticism closely related to these overlapping subjects, the footnotes in this Afterword can provide at best a very limited sampling. For further bibliography on the principal issues in this volume, consult the excellent endnotes in the essays it includes and the “Works Cited” and “Bibliography” sections in some major books in the discipline, such as Leighton, On Form and Wolfson, Formal Charges.

  3. 3.

    Chapter 4, 67–90.

  4. 4.

    Informal North American expression for wasteful activity.

  5. 5.

    Dolven, Senses of Style.

  6. 6.

    Compare my emphasis on techne in Dubrow, “Foreword.”

  7. 7.

    Jannidis et al., Die Rückkehr des Autors.

  8. 8.

    Among the best discussions of the rejection and reinvigoration of form are the essays in Wolfson and Brown, Reading for Form, especially Wolfson, “Introduction”; and in Burton and Scott-Baumann, Work of Form.

  9. 9.

    Comments on Felski’s work from a range of critics may be found in the “Theories and Methodologies” section of PMLA 132, no. 2 (2017).

  10. 10.

    Kennedy and Meek, Ekphrastic Encounters.

  11. 11.

    Also see the discussions of how and why movements discredit their rivals in Graff, Professing, esp. 240–41.

  12. 12.

    Chapter 9, 173–191.

  13. 13.

    On the dangers of misrepresenting one’s predecessors, also see Dubrow, “Foreword,” ix–xvi.

  14. 14.

    Chapter 1, 1–19.

  15. 15.

    On gathering and excluding in space theory, see Casey, “Space to Place,” esp. 24–26.

  16. 16.

    Ramazani, “Lyric Poetry,” 102.

  17. 17.

    Ramazani, Transnational Poetics, 10.

  18. 18.

    Ramazani, 13.

  19. 19.

    I thank Mary Thomas Crane for useful observations on the issues in this paragraph.

  20. 20.

    On those differences see, for instance, Strier, “Formalism,” esp. 208.


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Dubrow, H. (2021). Let’s Hear It For Janus: Looking Behind and Ahead. In: Sridhar, A., Hosseini, M.A., Attridge, D. (eds) The Work of Reading. Palgrave Macmillan, Cham.

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