Friday, January 30, 2009

ARIADNE'S THREAD by J. Hillis Miller

This is a wonderful, challenging, provocative book written in what must be the most readable prose of any of the major deconstructionists. Ariadne's Thread is deconstruction at its very best, transforming the act of reading and interpreting texts into an intellectual adventure, a hermeneutical high-wire act. "Constantly risking absurdity," Miller rarely stumbles. He pushes as far into his chosen texts as he can, and then he pushes farther. The extended considerations of character in Meredith's The Egoist and of relationships in Elective Affinities are startling and illuminating, and the ultimate, climactic reading of "Death and the Compass" is clever to the point of comedy (albeit very dark comedy, as befits Borges). Miller's shorter readings of Nietzsche, Joyce, Wittgenstein, etc. are never less than interesting. A very good book.

1 comment:

BRIAN OARD said...

I have no idea why this brief single-paragraph recommendation of a rather obscure work of theoretical literary criticism is the most-often viewed post on all of Mindful Pleasures, but I must have said something right...