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Description de l’éditeur
A sequel of sorts to the classic (and bestselling) sendup of literary criticism, The Pooh Perplex
Thirty-seven years ago, a slim parody of academic literary criticism called The Pooh Perplex became a surprise bestseller. Now Frederick Crews has written a hilarious new satire in the same vein. Purporting to be the proceedings of a forum on Pooh convened at the Modern Language Association's annual convention, Postmodern Pooh brilliantly parodies the academic fads and figures that hold sway at the millennium.
Deconstruction, poststructuralist Marxism, new historicism, radical feminism, cultural studies, recovered-memory theory, and postcolonialism, among other methods, take their shots at the poor teddy bear and Crews takes his shots at them. The fun lies in seeing just how much adulteration Pooh can stand.
In 1964, a young English professor at Berkeley published The Pooh Perplex, a slim academic satire purporting to collect a dozen critical essays on Winnie-the-Pooh. Insightful and searingly funny, it took academia by storm and gave the humanities a much-needed poke in the ribs. Little known then, Crews would become a highly influential cultural critic, whose humor and clarity leaven many books more serious than Pooh. Now, concluding a "long if uneventful career of devotion to humanistic values and to Pooh," Crews has issued a sequel, which is, if possible, more trenchant and hilarious than the original. This is partly circumstantial, the English Lit profession having become more self-parodying than ever. In 11 sham essays (complete with footnotes of brilliantly chosen actual texts), Crews takes on deconstruction, queer theory, gender/body studies, postcolonial studies, chaos theory, etc. His genius lies in details, like the "stochastic teddy bear descent rate" chart in the gene-theory paper and the Marxist professor with a "cross-departmental chair at Duke as Joe Camel Professor of Child Development." Crews steers largely clear of ethnic studies, reserving his finest shots for the Freudian and post-Freudian pretensions he has been dismantling for most of his career. Insiders will readily recognize minences grises like Harold Bloom and Stanley Fish, broadly caricatured. Occasionally, Crews falls somewhat wide of the mark. But in general his touch is too deft to be mean-spirited, and should be welcomed by a profession famous for its need and ability to laugh at itself. This small volume should be required reading for the 30,000 members of the MLA and any other bemused spectators of the academic fishbowl.