John Guillory: “We cannot all be Edward Said”

John Guillory in The Chronicle of Higher Education:

In his generous review of Professing Criticism, Bruce Robbins proposes a dichotomy to illustrate the differences between our respective understandings of the relationship between literary criticism and politics. The opposition is that between Weber, disposed to view the bureaucratically organized collectivity as tending to become an “iron cage,” and Durkheim, affirming that collectivity as the source of a new professional ethics in modern society. As Robbins knows, on most political issues there is very little daylight between us. The issue that divides us is how to understand and value the collectivity to which we both belong as professors of literature. There, our division is deep.

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