• In literary criticism and cultural studies, postcritique is the attempt to find new forms of reading and interpretation that go beyond the methods of critique, critical theory,
    and ideological criticism.

  • Erin Schreiner, for instance, has considered how scholars writing on the history of ideas might “learn from, and contribute to, this nascent movement towards a ‘post-critical’
    sensibility,” and proposes ways in which “the topics historians of ideas pursue can become more aligned with the concerns of post-critical theorists.

  • “[45] Finally, since critique is often synonymous with critical theory, many scholars have warned against a too-hasty retreat from various theoretical frameworks designed
    for the analysis of literature and culture.

  • “[47] Similarly, Kathryn Fleishman has explored the relevance of postcritical ideas for an understanding of contemporary US politics, arguing that “postcritique is uniquely
    positioned to help us read and resist in our current political milieu,”[48] while Maite Marciano has proposed the relevance of postcritique to the field of American Studies.

  • [39] She argues that critique remains a legitimate style of reading, with the ability to inspire social action, calling for “a different idea of paranoid reading […] that
    emphasize[s] its performative ability to convert suspicious aesthetic detachment into social action.

  • “[43] Eric Hayot points out that some postcritical readings have implicitly called for “a new messiah who will reconstitute the very structures of faith and belief that the
    death of Theory destroyed in the first place.”[44] Elsewhere, Hayot has noted that the most strident advocates of postcritique tend to be middle-aged, tenured university professors, which he argues is a problem for the development of this
    reading practice.

  • “[52] Austin’s work here has been specifically focused around developing conceptualisations of critical companionship,[53] exploring the nature of critical rhetorical styles
    in world politics,[54] the relevance of material-technological praxis to critical change-making,[55] and beyond.

  • [46] He argues that it provides both “positive language and methods from which to make a case for why the humanities matter,” implying that its methods might be adopted by
    scholars in many adjacent disciplines.

  • “[22] She argues that “claims about hiddenness and depth in literary criticism are empty” and instead encourages literary critics to write about an “encounter with the literary
    text” that is based on a “willingness to look and see, to pay maximal attention to the words on the page.

  • From Matters of Fact to Matters of Concern” argues that critique is no longer able to offer politically progressive readings of texts, since its methods have been coopted
    by right-wing interests.

  • “[35] In a response to The Limits of Critique published in PMLA in 2017, he took issue with the way that Felski’s book is overwhelmingly concerned with “faultfinding” in the
    field of literary criticism.

  • They ought to ask whether it is possible that their own psycho-biological position is governing their sense of the history of ideas, or of the political world more generally.

  • “[13] Sedgwick called on critics to abandon the “dramas of exposure” that so often motivate textual interpretation, and instead emphasize the various beneficial roles that
    texts can play within particular readers’ lives.

  • “[35] Robbins also finds “a passive aggressive tone” in the work of many postcritical scholars, along with an “extreme self-satisfaction with their beliefs, attachments, and
    feelings (which can’t be disputed) and with the comfortable perch in the world where divine providence has seen fit to place them.

  • [6] Postcritical approaches to texts are often experimental, concerned with discovering new styles, postures, and stances of reading, as well as “testing out new possibilities
    and intellectual alternatives” to the standard operations of critique.

  • He suggests that realising the truth of Felski’s claim that “aesthetic works have nothing to hide and that there is no ghost in the machine” will allow the field of literary
    studies to “reacquire the pleasures of criticism.

  • “[42] For Weiskopf, Actor-network theory is an example of the kind of theoretical framework that “run[s] counter to the impulse that drives criticism in the first place, which
    is to record the private, idiosyncratic act of figuring out for oneself what one thinks and feels about an artwork.

  • He claims that it offers practitioners both “positive language and methods from which to make a case for why the humanities matter at a moment when higher education faces
    threats from forces such a privatization and utilitarianism.

  • Tobias Skiveren, for instance, has argued that Ta-Nehisi Coates’s Between the World and Me (2015) can be read as an instance of literature serving as a “useful technology
    for – using Bruno Latour’s phrase – ‘learning to be affected’ by the lives of others.

  • Felski, for instance, views critique as comprising “symptomatic reading, ideology critique, Foucauldian historicism,” as well as “various techniques of scanning texts for
    signs of transgression or resistance.”[19] In response, she offers various other frameworks for reading, including those centered on recognition, enchantment, shock, and knowledge.

  • Using the philosophy of Ludwig Wittgenstein, Toril Moi argues that it is possible to overcome the traps of critique by understanding that “there is no need to think of texts
    and language as hiding something.

  • Principles and practice At its heart, postcritique seeks to find ways of reading that offer alternatives to critique.

  • At other times, it might focus on issues of reception, explore philosophical insights gleaned via the process of reading, pose formalist questions of the text, or seek to
    resolve a “sense of confusion.

  • “[2] A postcritical reading of a literary text might instead emphasize emotion or affect, or describe various other phenomenological or aesthetic dimensions of the reader’s

  • [49] Similarly, Ismail Muhammad has considered some of the applications that postcritical practices might have within the field of the visual arts, particularly art criticism.

  • This project seeks to repurpose the tools of postcritical reading to address what it takes to be key failures within the field of IR theory, including the charge that IR is
    “contributing to today’s post-truth era and its panoply of socio-political abuses.

  • Postcritical reading approaches have also been adopted by scholars working in the fields of sociology,[56] social justice,[57] Social science,[58] critical race studies,[59]
    and religious studies.

  • As Rita Felski and Elizabeth S. Anker put it in the introduction to Critique and Postcritique, “the intellectual or political payoff of interrogating, demystifying, and defamiliarizing
    is no longer quite so self-evident.

  • “[25] Rita Felski, in The Uses of Literature, reads Manuel Puig’s Kiss of the Spider Woman as “an exercise in aesthetic re-education,”[26] and C. Namwali Serpell has outlined
    a phenomenological, postcritical reading of Jim Thompson’s The Killer Inside Me (1952) that exposes the limitations of purely ideological interpretations of the novel.

  • [46] Together with its adoption in literary studies and cultural theory, postcritical practices have also been taken up by other Humanities scholars.

  • There are also a range of earlier critics who have been labelled as important precursors to this mode of literary criticism.

  • [16] Felski builds on such ideas to expose the many limitations associated with critique.

  • [14] Rita Felski has argued that Sedgwick’s account of reparative reading calls for “a stance that looks to a work of art for solace and replenishment rather than viewing
    it as something to be interrogated and indicted.


Works Cited

[‘Skiveren, Tobias (2022). “Postcritique and the Problem of the Lay Reader”. New Literary History. 53 (1): 161–180. doi:10.1353/nlh.2022.0006. S2CID 249419866.
2. ^ Anker & Felski (2017). “Introduction”. In Anker & Felski (ed.). Critique and Postcritique.
Durham: Duke University Press. p. 1. ISBN 978-0-8223-7304-9.
3. ^ Moi, Toril (2017). Revolution of the Ordinary. Chicago: University of Chicago Press. p. 180. ISBN 9780226464442.
4. ^ Jump up to:a b Felski, Rita (2008-05-16). Uses of Literature.
Oxford, UK: Blackwell Publishing Ltd. pp. 22. doi:10.1002/9781444302790. ISBN 9781444302790.
5. ^ Felski, Rita (2015). The Limits of Critique. University of Chicago Press. p. 5. doi:10.7208/chicago/9780226294179.001.0001. ISBN 9780226294032.
6. ^
Castiglia, Christopher (2013-09-01). “Critiquiness”. English Language Notes. 51 (2): 79–85. doi:10.1215/00138282-51.2.79. ISSN 0013-8282.
7. ^ Anker, Elizabeth S. and Felski, Rita (2017). “Introduction”. Critique and Postcritique. Durham: Duke University
Press. p. 2. ISBN 9780822373049. OCLC 1021102259.
8. ^ Mullins, Matthew (2018). “Postcritique”. In Di Leo, Jeffrey (ed.). The Bloomsbury Handbook of Literary and Cultural Theory. New York: Bloomsbury Academic. doi:10.5040/9781350012837. ISBN 9781350012806.
S2CID 246639378.
9. ^ Felski, Rita (2015). The Limits of Critique. Chicago: University of Chicago Press. p. 150. ISBN 978-0226294032.
10. ^ Ricoeur, Paul (1970). Freud and Philosophy. Translated by Savage. New Haven: Yale University Press. pp.
33. ISBN 0300021895.
11. ^ Ricoeur, Paul (1970). Freud and Philosophy. Yale University Press. pp. 35. ISBN 0300021895.
12. ^ Felski, Rita (2015). The Limits of Critique. Chicago: University of Chicago Press. p. 31.
13. ^ Sedgwick, Eve Kosofsky
(2003). “Paranoid Reading and Reparative Reading, or, You’re So Paranoid, You Probably Think This Essay Is about You”. Touching Feeling: Affect, Pedagogy, Performativity. Durham: Duke University Press. p. 128. ISBN 978-0-8223-3015-8.
14. ^ Sedgwick.
Paranoid Reading and Reparative Reading. p. 8.
15. ^ Felski, Rita (2015). The Limits of Critique. p. 151.
16. ^ Latour, Bruno (2004). “Why Has Critique Run Out of Steam? From Matters of Fact to Matters of Concern”. Critical Inquiry. 30 (2): 225–48.
doi:10.1086/421123. S2CID 159523434.
17. ^ Felski, Rita (2015). The Limits of Critique. p. 196.
18. ^ Felski, Rita. The Uses of Literature. p. 11.
19. ^ Felski. The Limits of Critique. p. 3.
20. ^ Felski. The Uses of Literature. p. 22.
21. ^
Jump up to:a b c d e Bewes, T. (2010-01-01). “Reading with the Grain: A New World in Literary Criticism”. Differences. 21 (3): 1–33. doi:10.1215/10407391-2010-007. ISSN 1040-7391.
22. ^ Moi, Toril (2017). “‘Nothing Is Hidden’: From Confusion to
Clarity; or, Wittgenstein on Critique”. In Felski & Anker (ed.). Critique and Postcritique. Chapel Hill: Duke University Press. p. 35. ISBN 978-0-8223-6376-7.
23. ^ Moi, Toril. From Confusion to Clarity. p. 35.
24. ^ Panagia, Davide. “Davide Panagia
reviews The Limits of Critique”. Critical Inquiry. Retrieved April 16, 2019.
25. ^ Skiveren, Tobias (2019), “On Good Listening, Postcritique, and Ta-Nehisi Coates’ Affective Testimony”, Affect Theory and Literary Critical Practice, Palgrave Studies
in Affect Theory and Literary Criticism, Springer International Publishing, pp. 217–233, doi:10.1007/978-3-319-97268-8_12, ISBN 9783319972671, S2CID 149945946
26. ^ Felski, Rita. The Uses of Literature. p. 76.
27. ^ Serpell, C. Namwali. A Heap
of Cliche. p. 154.
28. ^ Röder, Katrin (2014). “Reparative Reading, Post-structuralist Hermeneutics and T. S. Eliot’s Four Quartets” (PDF). Anglia. 132: 58–77. doi:10.1515/anglia-2014-0004. S2CID 170390846.
29. ^ Felski, Rita. The Limits of Critique.
p. 150.
30. ^ Felski & Anker. Introduction. p. 16.
31. ^ “Postcritique Avant La Lettre”. Open Space. 14 March 2019. Retrieved 2019-04-09.
32. ^ Eagleton, Terry (2017-01-05). “Not Just Anybody”. London Review of Books. pp. 35–37. ISSN 0260-9592.
Retrieved 2019-04-18.
33. ^ Eagleton, Terry (5 January 2017). “Not Just Anybody”. London Review of Books. 39 (1).
34. ^ Jump up to:a b c d “About Post-Critique”. 2017-05-27. Retrieved 2019-04-23.
35. ^ Jump up to:a b Robbins, Bruce (2017). “Fashion
Conscious Phenomenon”. American Book Review. 38 (5): 5. doi:10.1353/abr.2017.0078. S2CID 149271533.
36. ^ Robbins, Bruce (2017-03-01). “Not So Well Attached”. PMLA. 132 (2): 371–376. doi:10.1632/pmla.2017.132.2.371. ISSN 0030-8129. S2CID 164810299.
37. ^
Robbins, Bruce (2017). “Fashion Conscious Phenomenon”. Academia. 38 (5): 2.
38. ^ Robbins, Bruce (21 January 2018). “Reading Bad”. Los Angeles Review of Books. Retrieved 2019-04-15.
39. ^ Jump up to:a b Emre, Merve (2017). Paraliterary: The Making
of Bad Readers in Postwar America. Chicago: University of Chicago Press. p. 218. ISBN 9780226473970.
40. ^ Posnock, Ross (2016). “Review of The Limits of Critique” (PDF). ALH Online Review. Series VI: 1–4.
41. ^ Schreiner, Erin (November 28, 2016).
“Ideas of Attachment: What the “Postcritical Turn” Means for the History of Ideas”. The blog of the Journal of the History of Ideas. Retrieved April 23, 2019.
42. ^ Weiskopf, Dan (2016). “Meta-Critic No. 2: How To Live In A Postcritical World, A
Review Of Rita Felski, “The Limits Of Critique””. Arts ATL. Retrieved April 23, 2019.
43. ^ Weiskopf (5 July 2016). “How to Live in a Poscritical World”.
44. ^ Hayot, Eric. Then and Now. p. 289.
45. ^ Hayot, Eric. Then and Now. p. 286.
46. ^
Jump up to:a b Mullins, Matthew. “Postcritique”. The Bloomsbury Handbook of Literary and Cultural Theory.
47. ^ Schreiner, Erin (28 November 2016). “Ideas of Attachment: What the “Postcritical Turn” Means for the History of Ideas”.
48. ^ Fleishman,
Kathryn (January 16, 2019). “The Statue and the Veil: Postcritique in the Age of Trump”. post45. Retrieved April 23, 2019.
49. ^ Marciano, Maïté (December 2018). “Review of Critique and Postcritique”. Studies in 20th and 21st Literature: 2–3 – via
Research Gate.
50. ^ Muhammad, Ismail (March 14, 2019). “Postcritique Avant La Lettre”. Open Space. Retrieved April 23, 2019.
51. ^ Schulenberg, Ulf (2019). “Marxism, Pragmatism, and Postcritique”. Marxism, Pragmatism, and Postmetaphysics. London:
Palgrave Macmillan, Cham. pp. 141–159. ISBN 978-3-030-11559-3.
52. ^ “What is Post-Critical IR?”. 2018-01-06. Retrieved 2019-04-23.
53. ^ Austin, Jonathan Luke (2019). “Doing and mediating critique: An invitation to practice companionship”. Security
Dialogue. 50 (1): 3–19. doi:10.1177/0967010618810925. hdl:10852/72249.
54. ^ Austin, Jonathan Luke (2019). “A Parasitic Critique for International Relations”. International Political Sociology. 13 (2): 215–231. doi:10.1093/ips/oly032.
55. ^ Austin,
Jonathan Luke (2019). “Towards an International Political Ergonomics”. European Journal of International Relations. 25 (4): 979–1006. doi:10.1177/1354066119842242. S2CID 150589054.
56. ^ Hennion and Grenier, Antoine and Line (2000). “Sociology of
Art: New Stakes in a Post-Critical Time”. In Quah and Sales, Stella R. and Arnaud (ed.). The International Handbook of Sociology. London: Sage.
57. ^ Anker, Elizabeth S. (2017). “Postcritique and Social Justice”. American Book Review. 38 (5): 9–10.
doi:10.1353/abr.2017.0081. S2CID 149038021.
58. ^ Jensen, Casper Bruun (2014). “Experiments in Good Faith and Hopefulness: Toward a Postcritical Social Science”. Common Knowledge. 20 (2): 337–362. doi:10.1215/0961754X-2422980. S2CID 145724802.
59. ^
“Race, Thick and Thin”. ARCADE. Retrieved 2019-04-25.
60. ^ “LIT: Literature Interpretation Theory: Special Issue on Religion, Criticism, and the Postcritical”. Campaign. Retrieved 2019-04-25.
Photo credit:’]