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Patrick McEvoy-H alston English 46llF01 ProfessorStephenRoss 09 December 2002

Perpetuation Exclusionin TheNortonAntholosyof TheoryandCriticism and In "What is an Author" (1969)Michel Foucault makesa very serious charge against the literary criticism of his time. He argues literarycritics,who imaginethey partakein that revolutionary changes suchasthe "killing" of the author,actually"arrestthe possibilityof change"("What is an Author"r rcZ+1.The notionof the integrated importantauthor,for and instance, believes actually"preserved" these he is by critics,andhis/trerwriting still givena o'primordial status"(1625). Inspired Foucault's by challenge "the privilegesof the author" that (1625)canbe maintained evenin workswhich we would mostlikely think would undermine them,I haveexplored NortonAnthologyof TheoryandCriticismto seeif 1) a reasonable The argument be madethat this text "preseryes" greatauthor/critic;and2) if the editorsof can the of Norton,in their selection who wasandwho wasnot included,canbe fairly accused using of publisher their privilegedstatus editorsaffiliatedwith an influentialandreputable to as determine sortof criticismthatis legitimate, not "true." Specifically, papers the of the if Foucault'sI referredto for directionandinspirationaretheffore-mentioned articlein Norton, My "What is an Author," andthe collectionof essays interviewsin Knowledge/Power. and who conclusion that,especially is its because the way theNorton structured text, students of "believe" in uniqueandimportantindividualsmay not find thatthe text disturbs this conceptiono andthat,unfortunately, text doescharacterize thosewho are the certain critics--namely, "antitheory,"andthosewhos[ who arenot affiliatedwith a university--so they seem"lessthat
important," afld even disreputableand disturbed. One of the reasonsthat Foucault believes that the authol "suryives," despite attemptsto

' This particularpaper, unless otherwise, be the source all Foucaultquotations this essay. specified will of in ' Foucaultcharacterizes as"authors"thosewho "produce[. . .] a text, a booh or a work" (1631),so I conceive of the literarycritics in Norton as authors. Foucaultagrees "What is an Author?" thathenarrowlycircumscribed in in this paperwho he considers be an author;he makes (1631-32). to clearthatcritics,too, areauthors

the is "kill" it, is because conceptof the authoris useful. He writes that "[its] presence functionalin that it servesasa means classification"(1627). The Norton text, thoughit is of stuctured in the sameway Norton hasalwaysshucturcdits anthologies literature-that is, to chronologicallyby author-doesnot list convenience tadition asoneof the reasons or they maintainedtheir habitualway of shucturingtheir anthologies with this anthology. In fact thereis very little discussion the introductionof Norton asto why they stuctured their text the way in that they did; but they do proposean AlternativeTableof Contents which'tecasts the chronologicalorder,providing lists of figuresin four categories commonlyusedin studying theory'' (Norton xxxiv). This altemativeway of orderingthe text, it tums out, is besetwith potentialdifficulties, including that an altemativeordoing might have'trnavoidably deemphasize[d] historical conflicts, evolutio& anddifferences"(Nodqn xxxiv). Without overtly statingit, the editorsarecertainlyzuggesting their text's stucture is not only not that I c| ,, nj',r,' '

conservative]inthat it doesnot dilute conflicts anddifferences is dowmight vanguard. 1 it (figures)certainlydoesnot leaveus But structuring text with a listing of authors a (1626). In fact, pondering what to do with "the emptyspace by the author'sdisappearance" left presences, Norton seems be goingthe otherdirectionby creating including to moreauthorial previously"'forgotten' figures"(Norfggxxxiii). Foucault believes thatthe longstanding only if it carriedan "valoiz[ation]" (1628)of the author,the notionthat a text is "acceptable author'sname"(1629),is so entrenched we needto turn a dramatic that new direction(or revive a long lost one)to challenge Samuel it. Beckett,according Foucault, to "suppliesthis t. . .] direction: 'Whatmatterwho's speaking, someone said,whatmatterwho's speaking[?]"'(1623). That is, Foucaultsuggests we readworkswithout identiffing themasan author's,leaving that ourselves with only works (not even"their" works). This strategy couldnot be moredifferent from Norton's. The Norton text triesto includemorefiguresin their anthology criticisdrthan of




do othertexts,andgivesthemeach, the way by


eachauthor'ssectionandwith the announce

perhaps "gravity [. . .] of detailstheyprovideof their lives,if not canonical status, the 'fundamental' (1635). authors" than]mediate class] [rather [second the Foucaultargues if we arecuedto exploreatext asthatof an author{#iU reaO that the it work with a morerespectful attitudethanwe might haveotherwise; will not be "accorded givento ordinary,fleetingwords" (1621). Eachauthor's, in momentary section Norton attention
[r\i .i i* t

is introduced by the author's name, date of birth, ffid, if deceased, date ofperf death. the

to is Beginninga sectionwith the author'snameandbirth/death dates a way to cuethe reader imaginethe worksthat follow it ascombining constitute largerentity,the author. The the to author'snameanddatesarea muchlargerfont sizethanthatusedto inscribetheir worksin the

to the text. This is a familiar printing strategy, it is alsoonewhich encourages reader think but of the authorasmoreimportantthananyof his/herworks. Followingthe author'snameand dates, headnotes in order,we the beginwith a biographyof the author. Provided chronological parents, learnfirst aboutthe distinctivecharacteristics the author'sbirthplace, schooling, and of


thena description the changing, evolvinginterests the author'scareer a writer/critic. The as of of biographical essays follow the headnotes, areprovidedin chronological that too, order. Because datais providedto situateeverywork providedin the text within the contextof the author'slife, againit is difficult to resistassembling individualworks,the parts,into a single,unified the whole. that Foucaultargues integnty,unity, is oneof the cornerstone concepts keepsalive that the notion of the author. "Evolutior," a key word for the editorsof Nortonf "it**t li", r{to

twice compliment their structuring their work, is a word that Foucaultflagsasonewhich of serves, stitchingtogether by singular(isolated?) worksinto an author'sco{pus, p"tp"tuatethe [o notionof the author. "Any unevenness Foucault writes,]of productionfby thosewho believe [,


in the notionof an author, will be] ascribed changes to caused evolution"(1630). Evolution, by for Foucault,is reminiscent personality of It the development. bringsto mind biography, development a uniquepersona, an author,andNorton'sheadnotes authorgroupings of of and work to encourage viewing workslooking for evolutionor development overtime within a singleauthor,notjust between historicalperiods. The division or fragmentation an individualauthorandhisftrerworksinto different of categories, occupylngseparate within the text, is a potentialway of structuring "islands"of pages
L''. , i " 'fudt"xt

that the editorsof Nortonconceive asladenwith difficulties. It is "[o]ne of the of

risks" Gjorton xxxiv) that suggested itself whenthey considered what form their alternative structure shouldtake. Their concern--if true, avery legitimateone--isthat it would leadto repeating articles;but it might alsohavehelpedchallenge ideaof an authoror an individual the asintegrated, a whole. But I amnot surethatthe editorsof Nortonwant the ideaof the as personchallenged.At times,by the way they charactenze integrated fragmentation, seerns it theypreferunity over fragmentation. instance, editorscharacterize For Foucault'seffortsto the (1621).In casewemistakethis avoid"appeal[ing] to'tnrth'or'selves"l)|.. .] asfragmentary" for a compliment, notethat the editorsvalorizetheir own headnotes emphasizingthat they we by "pictur[e] the historyof theorynot asa stringof isolated pearlsbut asa mosaicin which each work fits into largerframesof ongoingdiscussions arguments'o and Norton xxxiv). Maybeso, but hadthey wantedto challenge reader'sconception an author,they might haveneeded the to of preferthat their theoriesandtheir figureslack the aesthetic integration mosaiccomposition a v provides. Foucault, "Two Lectures," in may be conceived an advocate fragmentation. as for He objectsstronglyto attempts unitediscourse.He proposes creation a "disordered to the of and fragmentaS' (85) genealogy help oppose to theoretical unity. Still, it would be misleading to


Norton everydecision arguethat Foucault would have"struggle[d]"("Two Lectures"85) against madein structuring of their anthology.The text asis retainsa strongsense history,ffid we know cultural that Foucaultwas ableto create critical space a himselfandcontemporary between contexts with the help of textsthatpre-date creation the "author-function."However,it is the of which for worth notingthat at leastoneanthology literary criticism,Contexts Criticism,3 of information us structures text by schools thought,provides with no biographical its of whatsoever. seethe nameof the writersof worksat the top of eachpage,but haveno idea We how they lived, etc.. We may not thenlook to seehow an essay wherethey wereborn, schooled, period?). "fits" into the writer's life (wasan essay written duringhisftrerAmericanor Parisian side-bychronologically, We areleft essentially with a work, not a collectionof worksordered but important, it otherwise would not havebeenincluded, side. We know the work is deemed thereareinsufficientcuesto promptus to imaginethatthe author'slived life, the author himAerself,is alsoimportantfor us to attend to. This otheranthologyseems comecloserthandoesNorton'sto suggesting, to "'What (1639J,And thoughit certainly nearasradical wouldnot be anything matterwho's speaking?"' (book #liit"s or self-defeating withoutmentioningthe "creators"of structuring anthology an

their text had the works,it is possible that if the editorsof theNortonanthology structured of the according their alternative to model(which subordinates importance individualsto some extentby fitting theminto categories), might havesuggested they had a lessingrained it that and conception the individual asintegrated, asboth centralin importance, the proper of and centreof discourse.Readers, beingintroduced critical theory'mightnot thenattachto to iust

criticsthe same status theymightalreadybe of accustomed abornihgtoothersortsof authors.
Though I have been arguing that the editors of Norton perpetuatethe notion of an author
3Foucault might also,of course, dislikestructuring text into unifiedcategories any kind. a of


in their anthology, will not argue I thatthis wastheir intention,nor, evenif they do showsignsof favouringintegration to over fragmentation, they would preferto avoiddealinga death-blow that the notionof an author.The opposite likely the case.FollowingFoucault's suggestion that is it, eventhosewho aim to eliminatethe "author-function" endup sustaining I havetried to can showthusfar only thatthey may be an example thosewho are"guilty'' of this unintended of perpetuation the notion of the author. However,I do not believethat the editorsareinnocent of of is in of the sortof powergames Foucault that believes inherent theperpetuation the high status ascribed authors.In partbecause they characterizetheir as"the mostwide ranging text to


as andcomprehensive of collection its kind" (xxxiii), andbecause theirpowerfulreputation a , i of I,i( publishingfirm, thoseleft out of Norton facebeingstigmatized of "lesserimport." The as with editorsmustbe well awareof this, yet they still exclude worksassociated "antitheorists" all from the text, andonly mentionthem,apparently, discreditthern. to t' ' 'i

In Foucault'sessay, "Do you think it would be muchbetter "The Eye of Power,"he asks, of to haveprisoners operating Panoptic the apparatus sittingin the centraltower,instead the and guards?" (164-65).Foucault's exist,andso long that challenge solong aspowerfulinstitutions asthey arestaffed,that the staffwill usetheir powerto perpetuate their own powerby suppressing others, worth keepingin mind whenwe consider is thosecritics thatthe editorsof Nortonhavedecided keepfrom the students Thereis an articletitled to view--theanti-theorists. "AgainstTheoqy'' the text, but this articleis not likely oneof thosewritten by authors whom in in the editorialstaff consider antitheorists. antitheorist not somuchinterested dialogue An is with literary critics: giventhe chance they would oust"imported"critical theoryfrom North Americanuniversities.Their writing is far lesscivil thanis Steven KnappandWalterBenn Michaels'article. Writers suchasAlan Bloom, Christopher Lasch,ffid CamillePagliaargue that Englishdepartments havecaughta foreigncontagion is infestingHum that {*'U*artments


across continent.Considering animosityantitheorists the the haveto critical theory,we might (despite, because understand of why the editorsof Nortondo not includeanyof theseauthors or their hugecommercial success authors) their anthology, why in the introductionof their as in and text they do not treatthemkindly. Anti-theorists at leastonecollectionof thinkerswho arenot specified their by are personal names Norton. The editors'decision not indicatethe particularindividualsthey in to may comeacross tactful,but, considering how the editors believeconstitute antitheorists the as of Norton characterizethert, is a decision it of that addsto our sense themasundistinguished, indistinguishable, ignorant--as mob of ill-informedreactionaries. Perhaps most the and a damninglabel to be tagged to with in literary circlesis 'lrncritical." And according the editors, positionturnsout to rely on unexamined--and "the antitheory debatable--theories literature of andcriticism" (1). Mind you, beingcalledignorantwouldbe damning too, andthe editors informsus that "theorydemonstrates . .] thatthereis no positionfreeof theory,not eventhe [. (l). Thanks NortonI imagine lot asa bunchof reactionary, onecalled'commonsense' to this probablylistento RushLimbaugh. moronic,knuckle-heads--they But howeveraccurate judgethis caricature, might acknowledge the editorsof that we we the Norton text aremostcertainlydescribing writerswhoseworks arenot thesewriters--again, includedin the text--in suchaway to makethemseem disreputable And taggingthemso lot. a power-play thatthey seeman "out" groupis exactlythe sortof discursive Foucaultsaysthat groupsin line. Sowhile it is true that in their placeantitheorists elitesuseto keepopposing would most certainlyrespond kind, Foucault'squestion whetherit matterswhetherthe in of 'oguards" the "prisoners"arein charge theyboth would usepowerfor hegemonic or purposes, if is surelyworth pondering. Giventhe mannerin which the editorsdescribe antitheorists, is possible the it that they

r wereexcluded because they weredeemed unworthy,or unliterary,but the editorsmight have alsoassumed very (all too) visible: their works,asmentioned, often are theseauthors already are is these authors, though best-sellers canbefound atanybookstore. if Foucault correct, and But to visible outsideof academia, needto havetheir presence legitimated academia have by will power,andwith this power,to haveany significantinfluenceoverwhat sort of discourse is o'true," legitimate. While manyof the antitheorists or wereacademics, because deemed or are publishers, their booksdo no their works aremostoftenpublished non-academic by because in begin,asdoesthe Norton text, by thankinghundreds acadernics paymentof occurred of "obligations"and"debts"(xxxvii), theseacademics very similarto the solitaryauthorfigrnes are ("Truth andPowet'' 127). But, that Foucaultsaysusedto be a powerful"figurehead[s]" according Foucault, to eversincethe Second World War, "the universityandthe academics ("Truth andPowet'' 127). The as [have]t. . . l emerge[d] t. . .l privilegedpointsof intersection" resultof this emergence that the o'figure which the functionsandprestige[. . .] are is in savant'[the concentrated no longerthat of the 'writer of genius',but that of the 'absolute is ("Truth andPower" 127). academic]" institutionis In my opinion,this particularcharacterization academia a hegemonic of as onewhich manyacademics would would find offensive. Left-leaning academics, especially, preferto imaginethemselves still strugglingagainst muchlarger,far moreinfluentialforces as (capitalist, imperialist,andotherwise).Whereas Foucault drawsa corurection between elsewhere as the proletanatandthe academic, herethereis an explicit characterization academics the of "comfortableelite" (NormanCantor,The AmericanCentury325). In fact,in the interviewjn f . r whichthis quoteis takenYe("Truth andPow that tr"),Foucaultbegins arguing by
"intellectuals have actually been drawn closer to the proletariat and the masses"(1 667). And worth our notice is that while this excerpt is included in the version of "Truth and Power" that

madeit into Norton,Foucault'sargument how the academic supplanted solitary of has the intellectualwasleft out. The resultof this exclusion thatNortonlikely leaves reader is the thinking that the solitaryauthorfigure,the onedescribed "What is an Author?,"is still the in hegemonic figure worth critical scrutiny,whenFoucault clearlycameto think that the powers the academic now possesses far moreworthy of our critical attention. are (xxxv), that they would Thoughthe editorsinsiststhat "snippets the exception" are excludethe more gratinganalysis Foucault's in us. interviewshouldnot surprise Because Norton decided "that without the agreement at leasthalf the editors""no figure or selection of (xxxv), they adopted selection policy that would inevitably couldmakeit into the anthology'' a leadto the creationof a conservative anthology.That is, papers figuresthattoo strongly and oppose powerinvested academia, of the viewpointsthe editorsthemselves the hold, would in or not likely havea chance 'omak[ing] Nortqg xxxv) into the prestigious if' anthology.The of process thatif oneactuallyenjoyscritics suchasChristopher resultof their selection Lasch, is Alan Bloom, CamillePaglia,etc.,andevenif someof the editorsactuallywantedtheir more combative represented the anthology, will not "be pleasantly antitheoretical in one stance prefer surprised" Ng$eg xxxv) to actuallyfind themin it. Too manyeditorsprobablysecretly that the fore-mentioned antagonistic, irascibleauthors wereneverborn. Thoughthe Norton anthology excludes from discussion someof the morevirulent attacks acknowledge "[t]he that uponpost-WorldWar Two academia, editorsdo in their introduction the professionalization have enclose post-WorldWar II theoryin the universityandits increased of meantthat contemporary nonacademic critics,literaryjournalists,andwritershavebeenlargely excluded from the theorycanon"(xxxvi). Theywrite thatthey "hope" that this is a "trend [that (xxxvi). Yet sincethey follow this statement telling us that the isl slowly beingreversed" by (xxxvi), we should "editorsof this anthology wereselected because their scholarlyexpertise" of


not depend Nortonto rectify their omissionanytime soon. If someof the editorswere on includedbecause they werelackingin "scholarlyexpertise," werenot affiliatedwith or universities, because i.e., theywerenot experts, would havemorereason think that they we to would in subsequent versions includea truly morediverseselection figuresandpapers. of I would very muchlike to believethatthe editorsof the Nortontext want to inculcatean unrestricted in as to "readiness takecritical stands to engage resistance," well "as an interest and in blind spots"(xxxviii) in students approaching critical theory. That is, I do not want to believe sanctioned by that the editorswould preferthat students attendcritically to only thoseareas academics. asthey excluded But from their text themoreirasciblecriticismof the post-World War Two "rise" of critical theory(especially Englishdepartments), asthey stigmatize in and thosein textual"blind spots,"i.e., antitheorists, amnot convinced this. Thoughthey are of I (seexxxvi), clearlyconscious the implicationsof exclusion inclusionin their anthology of and people't. . .] theystill seem useexclusion a means keeppotentially to as to "'dangerous isolated"(Foucault, "On PopularJustice"15). Theyshouldhaveincludedsomeof their works in (an "acceptable" the anthology, ratheror alongwith the article"AgainstTheoqy'' articledeemed in enough that therewas a back-and-forth engagement between authors academics its and journals). An alternative the academic might havebeen,sinceI believethat they do perpetuate importance a nurme, of an author,to at leastnamethe antitheorists their introduction, in of and andgive a listing of their worksin their Selected Bibliography.


Works Cited Cantor,Norman. The AmericanCentur.v: Varietiesof Culturein ModernTimes. New York: HarperCollins,1997. Foucault, Michel. "On PopularJustice:A Discussion with Maoists." Trans.JohnMepham. Knowledge/Power: Selectedintenriews otherwritines 1972-1977.Ed. Colin and Books,1980. l-36. Gordon.New York: Pantheon Colin Gordon.Ed. Colin Gordon. 146-65. "The Eyeof Power." Trans. "Truth andPower." Trans. Colin Gordon.Ed. Colin Gordon. 109-33. "Two Lecfures." Trans. Kate Soper.Ed. Colin Gordon. 78-92. and "What is anAuthor?o'.Trans. DonaldF. Bouchard SherrySimon. TheNorton Anthologyof TheoryandCriticism. Ed. VincentB. Leitch et al.. New York: W. W. NortonandCompany, 20A1. rc22-36. Keesey, Donald,ed. Contexts Criticism.3rd ed. Mountainview:Mayfield Publishing for Company1998. Leitch,VincentB. et al., eds. TheNortonAntholog.v TheoryandCriticism. New York: W. of W. NortonandCompany, 2001.

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Mc-Evoy llalston, Patrick are Writing: This paper is very well-written. The sentences logical and flow nicely, as do the paragtaphsand, indeed, the overall organisation.You expressyour ideas clearly and cogently, and there is an obvious progressionof your ideas throughout. About the only problem I see consistently coming up in this paper is an inconsistencyin using the pronouns he or she to refer to nouns like "an individual." At times you use "they'' or "their" instead of "he or she" in a way which confusesthe number of the noun being referred to. Obviously, this is not a major problern with the paper, but it is one you should work on eradicatingto make your writing as error-free as possible. Nonetheless,the fact remains that you write very well, and this gives you a big advantagein presenting your argument. Argument: Your argument here is remarkably clear and coherent.You do a very nice job of selecting one aspectof the anthology's organisationand pointing out how it seemsto violate the very tenetsthe anthology would apparentlylike to uphold. I think you show nicely that the anthology's organisation of contributors by personalname goeswell beyond the realm of the author-function and re-inscribesthe problematic assumptionthat the author's life and careerneed be the originary basis for understandinghis or her work. This is well done here. Likewise, I think you do a good job of pointing out that the anthology lacks adequaterepresentationof non-theory or anti-theory critics. There are, however, two problems with this aspectof your paper. The first of these is that it is not clearly related to the discussionof the authors.That is, while I think you are right in what you say about both aspectsof the anthology, I do not seewhy you chosethese two aspectsin particular to discuss- sometreatment of other aspectsof the anthology which you leave undiscussedhere might have helped remedy this. In effect, I don't dispute so much what you have to say as why you choosethesetwo aspectsin particular to say it about - how are they related and why do you think they need to be analysedtogether?The other problern is more of a logical blindspot in your paper. You point out that only one anti-theory writer is included in the anthology. This true, but I would question why they should include any anti-theory writers. The anthology is an anthology of literary theory, and not of attitudes toward it. I realise that part of your argument is that the anthologyhas as part of its agendathe legitimation of theory, but to be frank that debateis long-since dead.Theory is here and the battle over its legitimacy is over. Given that the anthology's declaredaim is not to validate the claims of theory nor to establish its legitimacy or representvarious attitudestoward it, I would find it surprising if they had opted to include anti-theory papers.This is not to mention that anti-theory papersdo take naiVe and often ill-informed stanceson literary theory. To clarify what I mean, perhapswe should ask why the Norton Anthologt of English Literature doesn't include any works by non-English writers or any non-literary works. A11that aside, though, this is a very good analysis of the ways in which the organisation and structure of something like the anthology perform ideological and/or disciplinary work. You've done a good job of excavating some of that hidden work here.