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Post-structuralism and deconstruction

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  1. The theory
    1. From literary theory to post-structuralism
    2. History / apparition
    3. Post-structuralism as a critique of structuralism
    4. Main scholars and ideas
  2. George Orwell, '1984'

Literary theory has penetrated all spheres of modern day life. It has shifted from being a prerogative of Academia to being a part of a popular culture. Yet, how can the term "literary theory" be defined lucidly? According to McLaughlin, literary theory is the "debate over nature and function of reading and writing, which has followed on the heels of structuralism, linguistics and cultural analysis". Literary theory is concerned with determining how various systems of signs, such as language itself, influence the way we read and, hence, comprehend the world and our own Self. This basic question has been answered in a radically different manner by various schools of thought or movements. We shall focus on the theory known as post-structuralism. Its most prominent scholars have often emerged from structuralist movement and have seldom labeled themselves as "poststructuralists". More importantly, "poststructuralists" reject an idea of the existence of "theories", "universal truths" or "subjugated knowledges" as Derrida has called them. We shall develop this point in more detail further on.

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