"Institution and Interpretation" investigates the forces that shape and limit interpretive practices. Whereas the prevailing use of the term "institutions" tends to reduce their role to that of maintaining the status quo, Weber suggests that institutions are never entirely free of the need to consolidate their authority through an ambivalent process of reinstituting themselves, a process in which interpretation plays a crucial role. Interpretation thus emerges not only as an activity made possible by institutions but as an essential component of their operation.
To the book's original nine essays--addressing such topics as professionalism in criticism, the relation between psychoanalysis and hermeneutics, and the contemporary situation of the humanities--this new edition adds six essays, one of them previously unpublished. Topics discussed include the future of the university and of the humanities, Kierkegaard's notion of "repetition," Josiah Royce's conception of a "community" of interpretation, and the problematic place of reading in reader-response theory.
"Reviews of the First Edition"
"One of the primary proposals of Samuel Weber's important new book is that we must look at what institutions exclude and delimit as well as what they include and enable."
"A text of major importance and remarkable originality. For the first time, the antecedents and the complexities of the question are clearly defined and understood."
--Paul de Man, 1983
""Institution and Interpretation" recommends itself here for its rigorous appraisal of the process through which oppositions come to be instituted. . . . It provokes a rethinking of gender in all of its'contingent essentiality.'"
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