Before I begin my introduction proper, let me say how much I have learned
from Ranjan Ghosh’s part of this book, for example, his introductory essay
above. His goal is much dif er ent from my own. He wants, if I understand
him correctly, to develop, more or less, a unified, universal, and transna-
tional theory of lit er a ture. He will then potentially use that theory to ac-
count for literary works of all sorts. This happens, in dif er ent chapters
by him in this book, for Words worth’s “Dafodils” and Frost’s “Birches.”
He calls his theory and methodology of studying lit er a ture “(in)fusion.”
That word names the amalgamation of the ele ments that go into it, as tea
is an infusion of tea leaves in boiling water. Though many of Ghosh’s im-
pressively learned and diverse citations in support of his (in)fusion theory
come from Hindi or Sanskrit sources, many are from Western sources, as
in his citations from Jean- Luc Nancy or Gilles Deleuze in his part of our
introduction or in the abundant etymological notations there, as for the
word Asia. Ghosh’s work in this book, both in his introduction and in his
chapters, is an impressive example of “thinking (across) continents,” to
borrow his name for what he does.
My own procedures in literary study are quite dif er ent from Ranjan
Ghosh’s, as my introductory remarks here demonstrate. I most often start
from a literary work or some text, including, but not exclusively, theoreti-
cal and philosophical ones. My goal is to account inductively, as best I can,
for what some text says and how it says it. Those diferences between us
generate the dialogical aspects of this book, in our comments along the
way about one another’s chapters.
I Am Not a Deconstructionist
I am not a deconstructionist. Let me repeat that once more: I am not a de-
constructionist. Why do I begin this part of my introduction to this book
with this sentence? To clear the ground to start with, so there will be no
j. hillis miller
INTRODUCTION CONTINUED
The Idiosyncrasy of the Literary Text
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