The University of Wisconsin Press

Literature & Criticism


Directions for Criticism
Structuralism and Its Alternatives
Edited by Murray Krieger and L. S. Dembo

Articles from the Summer 1976 issue of Contemporary Literature

This collection of essays in and on recent critical theory and its backgrounds attempts to clarify what is probably one of the most complex situations in the history of literary criticism. The classifier of methodologies can look back only with nostalgia at the simplicity of his problems with the limited warfare among New Critics, biographical and historical scholars, neo-humanists, neo-Aristotelians, and old-style Freudians and Marxists. Much more confusing these days are the challenges not only to critical method but to the very assumption that there is an object or language for criticism. The baffling array of structuralisms, post structuralisms, and phenomenologies, as well as the still-lingering versions of older positions now modified to confront these revolutionary alternatives, largely continental, calls for whatever light can be shed by knowing and intelligent observer-participants.

The contributors to this volume, which appeared originally as the Summer 1976 issue of Contemporary Literature, have varying commitments and interests, but all are distinguished commentators on and makers of theory. These authors also formed the Board of Senior Fellows of the first session of the School of Theory and Criticism at the University of California, Irvine, where the journal edition was much discussed and debated.

When this book was published, Murray Krieger was University Professor of English at the University of California, at both Irvine and Los Angeles, and co-director of the School of Criticism and Theory at Irvine. Among his books are The New Apologists for Poetry, The Play and Place of Criticism, and Theory of Criticism: A Tradition and Its System.

When this book was published, L. S. Dembo was a professor of English at the University of Wisconsin–Madison and editor of Contemporary Literature, had written three books on modern American poetry, and had edited or co-edited four collections of articles published by the University of Wisconsin Press: Nabokov: The Man and His Work (1967), Criticism: Speculative and Analytical Essays (1968), The Contemporary Writer: Interviews with Sixteen Novelists and Poets (1972) with Cyrena N. Pondrom, and Doris Lessing: Critical Studies (1974) with Annis Pratt.

Media & bookseller inquiries regarding review copies, events, and interviews can be directed to the publicity department at or (608) 263-0734. (If you want to examine a book for possible course use, please see our Course Books page. If you want to examine a book for possible rights licensing, please see Rights & Permissions.)

Directions for Criticism

December 1977

LC: 77-077443 PN
182 pp.  5 1/4 x 8 1/2

ISBN 978-0-299-07390-9
Book icon
Paper Out of Stock
ISBN 978-0-299-07394-7
Shopping cart ADD TO CART
  Review cart contents
Secure checkout



Home | Books | Journals | Events | Textbooks | Authors | Related | Search | Order | Contact

If you have trouble accessing any page in this web site, contact our Web manager.

Updated 04/15/2015

© 2011, The Board of Regents of the University of Wisconsin System