Birgit Mara Kaiser | Theory Today; or, how are we to read that?


The Article proposes to reconsider, with Paul de Man, Gayarity Ch. Spivak and Emily Apter, reading as one of the fundamental practices of literary studies. The question of the status of theory today and implicitly after the uses of theory today need to be productively inflected toward a discussion and sharpening of our practices, and those are, first and foremost, those of reading. Students of literary studies are trained as readers, which means they learn to see into the multiple layers and shades of languages and narratives, and acquire the competence to read statements, questions or cultural constellations on that basis. On a small scale, this can be practices on the basis of tropes, which abound in any poetic and prosaic use of language. On the basis of such skilled literacy, literary studies can contribute to draw, from an undecidable phenomenon such as a text, a respons-ability, which, if carried to its higher powers can amount to reading the medial, ideological and narrative orchestration of the myths of our present.

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