In their readings of texts, the authors address the topics of theory, narrative, aesthetics, the idea of the text, and of specific moments in cultural history. The chapters cover a range of authors: Plato, Ovid, Dante, Petrarch, Chariteo, Ariosto, Tasso, Cervantes, Kleist, Gode, Edith Wharton, Pirandello, Kafka, Sartre, Saint-John Perse, Paz, Roubaud, Sanguineti, and Tomlinson. They also deal with philosophers: Peirce, Nietzsche, Saussure, Husserl, Marc Bloch, Lucien Febvre, Heidegger, Jakobson, Sartre, Lévi-Strauss, Barthes, Derrida, Foucault, Lacan, Lyotard, and Deleuze. The book opens up our relationships to the past and the usefulness or otherwise of the metaphors we use in our attempt to understand and participate in it.
Although Countercurrents deals diversely with literary periods, authors, and critics, it speaks within the civilized and civilizing universe of our language and the texts we create. Running beneath the antihumanistic flotilla that skims the surface of texts for theory, the authors plumb for treasures from the ocean's floor.
Raymond Adolph Prier is an independent scholar whose previous works include Archaic Logic: Symbol and Structure in Heraclitus, Parmenides, and Empedocles; and Thauma Idesthai: The Phenomonology of Sight and Appearance in Archaic Greek.