Published Volume XXX, Nos. 1 and 2, 2017

Literary Criticism from Plato to Postmodernism: The Humanistic Alternative, by James Seaton. New York: Cambridge University Press, 2014. 236 pp. $103 cloth, $29.99 paperback.

Academic literary criticism has gone off the deep end, its practitioners besotted with radical politics. So contends the late James Seaton (1944-2017) in his book Literary Criticism from Plato to Postmodernism. As Seaton himself recognized, by no means was he alone in harboring this view. During the course of the so-called academic culture wars of the 1980s and 1990s, traditionalistic critics of the humanities railed against what they perceived to be the politicization of English departments in the United States. John Ellis’s polemic Literature Lost: Social Agendas and the Corruption of the Humanities (1997), for example, argues that literature scholars have abandoned . . .

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