Postmodern Sophistry

Stanley Fish and the Critical Enterprise

Edited by Gary A. Olson & Lynn Worsham
Afterword by Stanley Fish

Subjects: Literary Criticism, Composition And Rhetoric Studies
Paperback : 9780791462140, 322 pages, January 2006
Hardcover : 9780791462133, 322 pages, March 2004

Alternative formats available from:

Table of contents



Part One: Interpretive Authorities

There is Nothing Inside the Text, or, Why No One's Heard of Wolfgang Iser
Michael Bérubé

How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love Stanley
Gerald Graff

Theory, Practice, and Ubiquitous Interpretation: The Basics
Martin Stone

Fish and Dworkin on the Work of Interpretation in a Democracy
Gary S. Wihl

Part Two: Philosophical Interventions

Deconstructed to Death? Fish on Freedom
Michael Robertson

The Trouble with (Arguing against) Principle: Stanley Fish's Incomplete Machiavellianism
Ree Way Dasenbrock

Rhetoric, Emotion, and the Justification of Belief
Gary A. Olson and Lynn Worsham

Contingent Universals and Rhetorical Pragmatism
Steven Mailloux

Part Three: Political Prospects

The Estate Agent: Stanley Fish and His Trouble with Principles
Terry Eagleton

Critical Theory and Political Action
Margaret Kohn

Extirpating for Fun and Profit
H. Aram Veeser

Professional Distinction
Evan Watkins

The Consequences of Holocaust Denial
Michael Bernard-Donals

Part Four: Afterword

One More Time
Stanley Fish



An intensive examination of the theoretical writings of cultural and literary critic Stanley Fish.


Fifteen prominent scholars from a range of academic disciplines—legal studies, critical legal studies, political science, Jewish studies, rhetoric, and literary studies—explore various aspects of cultural and literary critic Stanley Fish's work. They examine Fish's understanding of how interpretation functions, the various philosophical issues that Fish has addressed or failed to address in his work, and the political consequences of Fish's thought. Stanley Fish responds to the ideas put forth in this book in a detailed Afterword.

Gary A. Olson is Associate Vice President for Academic Affairs at the University of South Florida at St. Petersburg. Lynn Worsham is Professor of English at the University of South Florida. Olson is the author of Justifying Belief: Stanley Fish and the Work of Rhetoric, and Olson and Worsham are the coeditors of Critical Intellectuals on Writing, both published by SUNY Press.