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Hi Dan,

You might enjoy my own critique of Harman's essay, which focuses on his peculiar proposal for critical practice:


I argue that his proposal, in effect, collapses into the ordinary processes of literary culture. For example, why bother making shorted versions of Moby Dick when abridged versions of that, and many other texts, already exist? And, sure, we can imagine setting Pride and Prejudice being recast in aristocratic Paris, as Harman suggested, but is that any stranger than taking Heart of Darkness and turning it into a movie about the Vietnam war? Harman's proposed 'experiments' are nothing of the sort, really. They're simply what happens in the course of literary culture.

Hey Bill,

I've actually been reading your posts not just on this article but OOO in general (part of my education in OOO). Your insights into the limitations of what seems to me a version of Rorty's "redescription" as applied to literary texts (and for something other than pragmatic purposes)strike me as sound. GH has responded (thoughtfully and in a friendly way) at his blog, so I'm probably going to come back with my own response to that in a few days, where I might take up some of the points you make. Don't you think Harman might agree with what you say here and simply recommend we double down on these efforts in a more systematic way?

I found out about your piece from Harman, Dan. I subscribe to his posts and correspond with him occasionally. I sent my own post to him, but he hasn't responded in any way. So I don't know what he thinks of my comments.

Is there a quick read that'll tell me about Rorty's "redescription"? As you know, I'm big on description, and think we need more of it. Lot's more.

Contingency, Irony, and Solidarity, perhaps in particular "Private Irony and Liberal Hope."

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  • Daniel Green is a literary critic and sometime fiction writer. His reviews, critical essays, and fiction have appeared in a variety of publications, both online and in print. He has a Ph.D focusing on postwar American fiction and an M.A. in creative writing.

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