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Pierre Macherey and the Case of Literary Production
edited by Warren Montag and Audrey Wasser
contributions by Pierre Macherey, Nathan Brown, David Marriott, Nick Nesbitt, Ellen Rooney and Joseph Serrano
Northwestern University Press, 2022
Cloth: 978-0-8101-4512-2 | Paper: 978-0-8101-4511-5 | eISBN: 978-0-8101-4513-9
Library of Congress Classification PN45.M3173 2022
Dewey Decimal Classification 801.95


This collection revisits A Theory of Literary Production (1966) to show how Pierre Macherey’s remarkable—and still provocative—early work can contribute to contemporary discussions about the act of reading and the politics of formal analysis. Across a series of historically and philosophically contextualized readings, the volume’s contributors interrogate Macherey’s work on a range of pressing issues, including the development of a theory of reading and criticism, the relationship between the spoken and the unspoken, the labor of poetic determination and of literature’s resistance to ideological context, the literary relevance of a Spinozist materialism, the process of racial subjectification and the ontology of Blackness, and a theorization of the textual surface. Pierre Macherey and the Case of Literary Production also includes three new texts by Macherey, presented here in English for the first time: his postface to the revised French edition of A Theory of Literary Production; “Reading Althusser,” in which Macherey analyzes the concept of symptomatic reading; and a comprehensive interview in which Macherey reflects on the historical conditions of his early work, the long arc of his career at the intersection of philosophy and literature, and the ongoing importance of Louis Althusser’s thought.
Recent translations of Macherey’s work into English have introduced new readers to the critic’s enduring power and originality. Timely in its questions and teeming with fresh insights, Pierre Macherey and the Case of Literary Production demonstrates the depths to which his work resonates, now more than ever.

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