The dogmatic skepticism of literary theory in 1980s and early 1990s is in large part devoted to the discovery of radically novel purposes for texts both ancient and modern. Some of these ends are not readily achieved with the material in hand, which was designed for the satisfaction of quite other needs, and the critic therefore presents a magnetic spectacle that demands our attention and simultaneously excites our contempt. It is as if we had come across someone picking their nose with a corkscrew. – His finger would be better, but should he do it at all?