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The self-critic: The man who praised literary theory to thousands of students now wants them to bury it

Roland Barthes famously announced the death of the author. This weekend, as thousands of professors and their apprentices mill about the annual meeting of the Modern Language Association in San Diego, one might ask: Has theory succumbed to the same fate? … [T]heory’s promised political liberation never happened. Cultural theory, he argues, instead mutated into a free-for-all, where students now use Derrida to deconstruct ”Friends,” not to change the world…