Cover: Contingencies of Value in PAPERBACK

Contingencies of Value

Alternative Perspectives for Critical Theory

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$50.00 • £40.95 • €45.00

ISBN 9780674167865

Publication Date: 04/01/1991


240 pages

6-1/8 x 9-1/4 inches


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Contingencies of Value is unquestionably a work of major importance that lives up to and indeed enhances its author’s distinguished reputation… It addresses a problem that every literary critic must necessarily be concerned with, since all of us engage in various acts of evaluation all the time, whether we explicitly recognize them as such or not. Everyone seriously interested in literature should read this book.—Clayton Koelb, Journal of English and Germanic Philology

This remarkable work by Barbara Herrnstein Smith must be read in order to initiate a critical evaluation of aesthetic evaluation.—Pierre Bourdieu

Smith’s book argues, very lucidly and persuasively, for a Deweyan conception of value. The idea is that value is neither an ‘intrinsic’ property of a thing nor ‘in the eye of the beholder,’ but a function of an infinitely large set of contingent, constantly changing, relations between things. Contingencies of Value is a very useful contribution to the philosophical literature on the topic.—Richard Rorty

Barbara Herrnstein Smith has written a critique of objectivism and absolutism in the theory of value—a critique addressed so directly to our own experience and sustained with such lucidity and wit that it will force even those it outrages to think again about their position. Given our contingencies, this is a book of enormous value.—Michael Walzer

A pleasure to read… It is impossible to imagine anybody daring to write about the subject without giving this book close consideration.—Frank Kermode

One of our most brilliant thinkers about literature confronts one of the most recalcitrant problems about literature. The results are compelling, original, and altogether astonishing.—Catherine R. Stimpson

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