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Reading: The Art of Judgment: Postcritique and the Particular Case


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The Art of Judgment: Postcritique and the Particular Case


Magnus Ullén

Stockholm University, SE
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The present article critiques the so-called postcritical position for refusing to acknowledge the literariness of literature. As a case in point, it considers Toril Moi’s Revolution of the ordinary: literary studies after Wittgenstein, Austin, and Cavell, which has been greeted as a pivotal specimen of postcritique. Like other practitioners of postcritique, Moi would replace literary theory with an art of judgment, based upon good faith in, rather than suspicion of, the literary text. In theory, all that is needed to practice this art of judgment is a willingness to pay close attention to the specifics of the particular case. In practice, however, the postcritical claim to go beyond ‘the hermeneutics of suspicion’ is compromised by its refusal to confront the literariness of literary text, as the present essay demonstrates by subjecting Moi’s own reading of the particular cases of Paul de Man and Norwegian terrorist Anders Behring Breivik to rhetorical analysis.
How to Cite: Ullén, M., 2020. The Art of Judgment: Postcritique and the Particular Case. Nordic Journal of English Studies, 19(4), pp.195–217. DOI:
Published on 22 Nov 2020.
Peer Reviewed


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