Representative Authors

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Last Updated on May 5, 2015, by eNotes Editorial. Word Count: 1678

Donald Barthelme (1931–1989)
Donald Barthelme, Jr. was born in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, on April 7, 1931. In 1949 he enrolled at the University of Houston as a journalism major and worked on the staff of the Daily Cougar as an editor. After spending time in the U.S. Army he returned to Houston where he worked for several newspapers. In 1962 he went to New York where he had articles and stories published in New Yorker magazine. He won many honors and awards including a Guggenheim Fellowship, National Book Award, National Institute of Arts and Letters Zabel Award, Rea Short Story Award, and the Texas Institute of Arts and Letters Award. Barthelme died of throat cancer July 23, 1989, at the age of fifty-eight.

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He has been characterized as an avant-garde or postmodernist who relies more on language than plot or character. He is well known as a short story writer, novelist, editor, journalist, and teacher. Some of his publications include: Come Back, Dr. Caligari, 1964, City Life, 1970; Sixty Stories, 1981; and The King, 1990.

Jacques Derrida (1930–)
Jacques Derrida was born in El Biar, Algeria, on July 15, 1930. He earned several undergraduate and graduate degrees from the University of Paris, Sorbonne. He also did graduate study at Harvard University, from 1956 to 1957. He has taught at many of the world’s finest colleges and universities: University of Paris, Sorbonne, Johns Hopkins University, Yale University, University of California at Irvine, Cornell University, and City University of New York.

His work beginning in the 1960s effected a profound change in literary criticism. In 1962 he first outlined the basic ideas that became known as deconstruction in a lengthy introduction to his 1962 French translation of German philosopher Edmund Husserl’s Origin of Geometry. The full strategy of deconstruction is outlined and explained in his difficult masterwork, Of Grammatology, published in English in 1967. It revealed the interplay of multiple meanings in the texts of present day culture and exposed the unspoken assumptions that underlie much of contemporary social thought.

Terry Eagleton (1943–)
Terence Eagleton was born on February 22, 1943, in Salford, England. He attended Trinity College, Cambridge, from which he received a bachelor of arts in 1964. He earned his Ph.D. from Jesus College, Cambridge, in 1968. He has taught at Cambridge and at Oxford. He has been a judge for poetry and literature competitions.

As one of the foremost exponents of Marxist criticism, he is concerned with the ideologies found in literature, examining the role of Marxism in discerning these ideologies. His early publications include: Myths of Power: A Marxist Study of the Bröntes, 1975; Marxism and Literary Criticism, 1976; Criticism and Ideology: A Study in Marxist Literary Theory, 1976, among others. His later publications include: Literary Theory: An Introduction, 1983; The Function of Criticism: From the Spectator to Poststructuralism, 1984; and The Ideology of the Aesthetics, 1990. His concise Marxism and Literary Criticism, 1976, discusses the author as producer, and the relationships between literature and history, form and content, and the writer and commitment. He is the foremost advocate of the inclusion of social and historical issues in literary criticism.

Michel Foucault (1926–1984)
Michel Foucault was born in Poitiers, France, on October 15, 1926, and received a diploma in 1952 from Ecole Normale Superieure and the Sorbonne, University of Paris. He taught philosophy and French literature at the Universities of Lille, Uppsala, Warsaw, Hamburg, Clermont-Ferrand, Sao Paulo, and the University of Tunis between the years 1960 and 1968. Foucault taught at the University of Paris, Vincennes, France, from 1968 to 1970. From 1970 until his death in 1984, he was chairman of History of...

(The entire section contains 1678 words.)

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