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What Your Fourth Grader Needs to Know Fundamentals of a Good Fourth-Grade Education

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ISBN-10: 0385312601

ISBN-13: 9780385312608

Edition: N/A

Authors: E. D. Hirsch

List price: $13.00
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Description:

Grade by grade, these groundbreaking and successful books provide a solid foundation in the fundamentals of a good education for first to sixth graders. B & W photographs, linecuts, and maps throughout; two-color printing.
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Book details

List price: $13.00
Publisher: Random House Publishing Group
Publication date: 7/1/1994
Binding: Paperback
Pages: 416
Size: 7.50" wide x 9.25" long x 1.00" tall
Weight: 2.112
Language: English

Hirsch is a conservative critic best known for his repudiation of critical approaches to literature (chiefly poststructuralism and New Criticism) that assume that the author's intentions do not determine readings. He argues that any such methodology is guilty of "the organic fallacy," the belief that the text leads a life of its own. For Hirsch, the author's authority is the key to literary interpretation: The critic's job is to reproduce textual meaning by recovering the author's consciousness, which guarantees the validity of an interpretation. In his two most important books, Validity in Interpretation (1967) and its sequel, The Aims of Interpretation (1976), Hirsch warns against the "critical anarchy" that follows from the "cognitive atheism" of both relativism and subjectivism. For him, these result from a corollary of the organic fallacy, the thesis that meaning is ultimately indeterminate because it changes over time or with the differing interests and values of different readers. According to Hirsch, meaning does not change; only value or significance does, as readers relate a text's fixed meaning to their cultures. If there is more than one valid interpretation of a text, it is because literature may be reduced to more than one "intrinsic genre" or meaning type---the particular set of conventions governing ways of seeing and of making meaning at the time the author was writing. Many critics suggest that the intentions Hirsch recovers in intrinsic genres are really his own, rather than those of the author, because no one, including Hirsch, can escape his or her historically conditioned frame of reference when developing interpretations of literature. Hirsch's recent books, including Cultural Literacy (1987), are seen as proof of those flaws by those who are troubled by the history and values of the dominant culture that Hirsch insists is the only culture. Hirsch argues that "common knowledge" is being denied minority students and others by feminists and other "radicals" who have undermined the authority of its great texts.