Offering a refreshing combination of accessibility and intellectual rigor, How to Interpret Literature: Critical Theory for Literary and Cultural Studies presents an up-to-date, concise, and wide-ranging historicist survey of contemporary thinking in critical theory. Ideal for upper-level undergraduate and graduate courses in literary and critical theory, this is the only book of its kind that thoroughly merges literary studies with cultural studies, including film. Robert Dale Parker provides a critical look at the major movements in literary studies since the 1930s, including those often omitted from other texts. He includes chapters on New Criticism, Structuralism, Deconstruction, Psychoanalysis, Feminism, Queer Studies, Marxism, Historicism and Cultural Studies, Postcolonial and Race Studies, and Reader Response. Parker weaves connections among chapters, showing how these different ways of thinking respond to and build upon each other. Through these exchanges, he prepares students to join contemporary dialogues in literary and cultural studies. Parker's engaging writing style relates directly to today's students and their daily lives. He underscores the connections between critical theory and students' other coursework, as well as its links to their technologically filled lives. The text is enhanced by charts, text boxes that address frequently asked questions, photos, and a bibliography.
Intellectually challenging yet remarkably readable--and devoted to the interpretation of both literary and cultural studies--How to Interpret Literature stands out from other surveys of critical theory. Its flexible format makes this volume ideal as either a stand-alone text or in conjunction with an anthology of primary readings.
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Robert Dale Parker is a Professor of English at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign.Review:
"I prefer this book, with its lucid summary of major movements and deep insight into how different critics used or rejected theory, to every comparable book I'm aware of in the field. How to Interpret Literature offers a historical account of theory that's genuinely historical, and not simply a list of major concepts associated with different theoretical schools. Robert Dale Parker explains how theoretical arguments develop over time, how new theories build on older arguments, and how theoretical arguments blend and overlap. He never loses sight of a larger, highly original argument, about the necessary relation between critical thinking and everyday life." --Barry Faulk, Florida State University
"This history of critical movements as interrelated developmentally will be more helpful to students than the names-and-dates chronology of its competitors. Its greatest strength is not just clarity but energy--its author's delight in sharing with a general audience the 'secrets' of how criticism gets done." --Alan Loxterman, University of Richmond
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Book Description Oxford University Press, 2008. Paperback. Book Condition: New. Never used!. Bookseller Inventory # P110195334701