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Kurt Fosso and Jerry Harp on J. Hillis Miller’s Virtual Reality of Reading

Date: December 2, 2008

In his recent book, On Literature (2002), J. Hillis Miller recounts his curious intuition, active in him since he was a young reader, that literary works precede their being written down; his perception or sense is that the text pre-exists in some Platonic realm. This idea is a curious one coming from one of our “arch-deconstructionist” critics, one of the leaders of a “movement” much devoted to critiquing the traditional metaphysics of presence typified by Plato’s doctrine of Forms. In what sense might this Platonic realm or script “exist” for a deconstructonist like Miller? Professors Kurt Fosso and Jerry Harp will present several possible answers along with examples of their relevance to the reading and meaning of literary texts.

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