Pierre Bayard is a polarizing figure in contemporary French criticism: on the one hand, he is brilliant, innovative, and daring; on the other hand, he seems to delight in deception and sleight of hand, particularly in the way that he revisits, and arguably transvalorizes, theoretical discourse reminiscent, inter alia, of poststructuralism and deconstruction. In this article, we wish to reveal the double-sidedness of Bayard's new detective criticism in order to see how his new solutions to classic crime texts carry within themselves clues to their own undoing as well as alternative solutions that can be deemed to have been sown consciously or unconsciously into the weave of Bayard's analysis. This is the irony of Bayard's criticism: it references the work by reverting to a study of the text while keeping both, work and text, in view and, effectively, by being both, that is, by exposing the textuality of canonical literary works and presenting his criticism as transparently readable, even as “easy reading,” he offers his ideas as works, which the reader can read as such but can also reread, à la Pierre Bayard, as text.

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