I may see more of this than most--I work in modernism and science studies after all. But it seems to me that literary critics talk an awful lot about "tensions" in lit and culture, social "anxieties," and historical "fears."
It would be too glib to just call this projection on the part of a famously neurotic lot. But I'd like to think more on why it is that tensions, anxieties, and fears play such a large part in contemporary literary criticism.
(And is it just me or was "excess" all the rage in the 90s?)