Social Research Glossary


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Citation reference: Harvey, L., 2012-18, Social Research Glossary, Quality Research International,

This is a dynamic glossary and the author would welcome any e-mail suggestions for additions or amendments. Page updated 24 January, 2018 , © Lee Harvey 2012–2018.


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Yale school of literary criticism

core definition

The Yale School of Literary Criticism argued that texts are open to multiple readings rather than having a single meaning.

explanatory context

The Yale School of Literary Criticism has probably been the leading centre of literary deconstruction in the United States in the last two decades of the C20th.


The school has been at the forefront of the view that suggests that texts are open to multiple readings. Opposed to traditional scholarship, they have demonstrated that as language, due to the slippage between signifier and signified, has within it the basis for self-critique then any text inevitably undermines any claim it may have to a determinate meaning.


Central figures of the school are Paul de Man (deceased 1983) and J. Hillis Miller. The former was posthumously discovered to have published articles sympathetic to the Nazi cause during the occupation of Belgium.


Deconstruction in general and the Yale School in particular began to lose its dominant position in American literary circles around the mid-1980s (its credibility undermined by the de Man revelations) and was challenged by new historicism for its lack of social contextualisation.

analytical review

associated issues


related areas

See also

literary criticism

literary theory


copyright Lee Harvey 2012–2018

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