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In this chapter, Sbriglia takes up Slavoj Žižek’s recent call to shift our mode of ideology critique from the “symptomatic” to the “fetishistic” as a means of revamping the outmoded practices of politically engaged literary criticism. Conceding that advocates and practitioners of recently proposed interpretive paradigms such as “surface reading,” “ordinary language criticism,” and “postcritique” are correct in pointing out that the symptomatic reading practices associated with the hermeneutics of suspicion have brought literary criticism to a deadening impasse, Sbriglia nonetheless maintains that such paradigms go too far in either proclaiming the “end of ideology” or attempting to move “beyond ideology.” Rather than give up on the project of ideology critique—a project as necessary now as ever—Sbriglia argues that Žižek’s work on fetishistic disavowal offers a means of combining attention to the “text itself,” to the text’s “surface,” with a continued investment in the critique of ideology.

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