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Stanley Fish

(b. 1938)

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Americanliterary theorist and cultural critic. Born in Providence, Rhode Island, Fish studied at the University of Pennsylvania and Yale. He has taught at the University of California, Berkeley, Johns Hopkins and Duke Universities, the University of Illinois, and Florida International University. Fish began his career as a Milton scholar and has written a number of highly regarded books on that subject. In critical theory he is best known for the concept of the interpretive community, which displaces the problem of how meaning is produced onto society itself and makes meaning the practical production of readers rather than texts. Fish is a high-profile cultural commentator who writes columns for The New York Times and The Wall Street Journal, generally taking a counter-intuitive view of things. For instance, he has famously argued that the humanities have no use and that is a good thing, and that political correctness is a waste of time.

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