Deconstructionism  An approach to literature which suggests that literary works do not yield fixed, single meanings, because language can never say exactly what we intend it to mean. Deconstructionism seeks to destabilize meaning by examining the gaps and ambiguities of the language of a text. Deconstructionists pay close attention to language in order to discover and describe how a variety of possible readings are generated by the elements of a text. See also new criticism. For model essays and exercises on deconstructionism, go to the VirtuaLit Interactive Poetry Tutorial and the VirtuaLit Interactive Fiction Tutorial.

The definitions in this glossary were adapted from The Bedford Introduction to Literature, Sixth Edition, by Michael Meyer