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An understanding of critique as only as suspicious denunciation prevents explorations of a more socially relevant role for criticism, namely, its capacity for articulating ideals that would make criticism an opportunity for imagining more just social relations. Critique today relies on the illusion of the critic’s superiority to the literary text and detachment from the “real world,” where ideologies operate in ways that only a transcendent critical perspective can perceive. A different critical disposition—hopefulness—would bring imaginative idealism back to the study of literature, making the ideals behind suspicious censure explicit and actively participating in imagining worlds better suited to those...

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