the invention of literary subjectivity
Inventing Agency addresses some of the most central and pressing concerns in criticism, theory, and philosophy today. As new metaphysics of the realia of power and independently animated objects have replaced ancient conceptualizations of substance, being, and causation, the question of the “subject”—of the capability for just such conceptual change, for acting to any effect whatsoever—has reemerged with fresh critical urgency. Writing on theories and fictions of the subject from Aristotle to Althusser and Fielding to Flaubert, the contributors to Inventing Agency explore the unprecedented productions of the subject as agent—of cognition, aesthetic experience and judgment, imagination and representation, and moral and political action—that together define the “revolution” in reflection that Kant called “the Age of Critique.” Informed by expertise in such interrelated fields as continental and analytic philosophy and literary history, Marxian and utopian theory, poetics and cultural criticism, moral theory and theory of sensibility, and feminist and disability studies, Inventing Agency addresses the invention of subjecthood by philosophical and literary conceptions of the specifically human capacities that continue to reveal the prospect of social—individual and historical—agency in action. This collection on the productions of the subject is vital reading for anyone engaged in thinking about where the categories of contemporary theory come from, and where they might lead next.