Spirits Hovering Over the Ashes

Legacies of Postmodern Theory

By H. L. Hix

Subjects: Literary Theory
Series: SUNY series in Postmodern Culture
Paperback : 9780791425169, 208 pages, May 1995
Hardcover : 9780791425152, 208 pages, May 1995

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Table of contents


1. Postmodern Preface(s)

2. Postmodern Grief

3. Postmodern Aporesis

4. Postmodern Freedom

5. Postmodern Beauty

6. Postmodern Obscenity

7. Postmodern Censorship

8. Postmodern Color

9. Postmodern Love

10. Postmodern Sex

11. Postmodern Virtue

12. Postmodern Postscript(s)

Works Cited

Index of Names

This book explores the consequences of postmodern theory and answers the question, "What did postmodern theory begin?"


In a series of topical explorations structured like a sonata, H. L. Hix identifies the consequences of postmodern theory through such issues as grief, freedom, beauty, obscenity, love, and sex to its axiological consequences. A basic motif, postmodernism's distribution of meaning over space rather than time, recurs throughout the chapters, each of which in some way amplifies the book's underlying theme, virtue. The "exposition" of the theme in the first ten chapters receives its "development" in the chapter, "Postmodern Virtue," and its "recapitulation" in the aphorisms of the final chapter.

By choosing names like "deconstruction," postmodern theory postures as that which shakes foundations. But any declaration of an end is also a declaration of a beginning, and Spirits Hovering Over the Ashes pushes past the posturing to ask what foundations postmodern theory has laid.

H. L. Hix is Associate Professor of Philosophy at the Kansas City Art Institute.


"The book is rich with ideas which seem immediately apt and 'right,' yet which are also challenging and worthy of serious further rumination. I thus find Hix's ideas 'compelling' in the sense he explicates in the book: for me their force does indeed arise from 'the combination of recognition and confrontation. ' This is a beautiful and challenging book. It was an absolute pleasure to read and I most enthusiastically recommend publication. " — Andrew Cutrofello, Loyola University of Chicago