Advertisement
YOU ARE HERE: LAT HomeCollections

Deconstruction Derby

May 26, 1991

Regarding Andrew Ferguson's review of James Michener's "The Novel" (April 7): Why the gratuitous sideswipe at deconstruction?

Unfortunately, Ferguson is just as clueless about deconstruction as Michener is--and even more clueless than Richard Eder, whose simple-minded review of David Lehman's "Signs of the Times: Deconstruction and the Fall of Paul de Man" (Feb. 24) marked his arrival at his level of incompetence. There you had a book written by someone who is incompetent to handle his topic reviewed by someone incompetent to know the difference.

But in this latest piece, the implied slur against the late Paul de Man and other literary scholars is more pointed. (Ferguson writes): "Surely deconstructionism is a pathway to many things--fascism and insanity, to name only two--but 'meaning' is an object not even its addled adherents would claim for it."

Is this an example of intellectual irresponsibility, or doesn't the Book Review know the "meaning" of that concept? Is Ferguson ready to name names? Does he know any names? Has he ever read a book by a "deconstructionist," or does he rely for his opinions on the book reviews in the popular press?

I find in the press more willful ignorance about deconstruction than could be pumped into a Michener novel--and the L.A. Times Book Review has been pumping as hard as it can. Is it so difficult to hire reviewers who know what they're talking about?

JOSEPH CHANEY, Department of English & Comparative Literature, UC Irvine, COSTA MESA

Advertisement
Los Angeles Times Articles
|
|
|