Anecdotal Theory
1 Barbara Christian, ‘‘The Race for Theory,’’ in Linda Kau√man, ed., Gender
and Theory: Dialogues on Feminist Criticism (New York: Basil Blackwell,
1989), p. 226.
2 Joel Fineman, ‘‘The History of the Anecdote: Fiction and Friction,’’ in The
Subjectivity E√ect in Western Literary Tradition: Essays Toward the Release of
Shakespeare’s Will (Cambridge, Mass: MIT Press, 1991), p. 67. I am grateful
to Nancy K. Miller for directing my attention to Fineman’s essay.
3 Christian’s ‘‘The Race for Theory’’ was originally written for a conference
at the University of California, Berkeley entitled ‘‘Minority Discourse’’ and
held on May 29–31, 1986. Fineman’s ‘‘The History of the Anecdote: Fiction
and Friction’’ was originally delivered at a conference on ‘‘The New Histor-
icism: The Boundaries of Social History,’’ Stanford University, October 9,
1987. As for their collegiality, it must be said that while both taught at
Berkeley, Fineman was in the English Department whereas Christian was
in Afro-American Studies.
4 My sense of the moment, my imagining of Fineman on a Berkeley path in
the eighties, is made poignant by the knowledge that Joel Fineman died an
untimely death in 1989.
5 Ellen is the actual name of a student who, I am happy to report, has already
fulfilled the promise of brilliance that so inspired me back in that 1992
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