Context Stinks

Rita Felski
My title is a none-too-subtle provocation, though not, I should point out, a self-authored one. What word could be more ubiquitous in literary and cultural studies: more ear- nestly invoked, more diligently defended, more devoutly kowtowed to? The once commonplace but now risible notion of “the work itself” has been endlessly dissected, dismembered, and dispatched into New Critical oblivion. Context is not optional. There are, to be sure, end- less disputes between various sub elds...
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