Critical Terms for Literary Study

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9780226472027: Critical Terms for Literary Study

Since its publication in 1990, "Critical Terms for Literary Study" has become a landmark introduction to the work of literary theory--giving tens of thousands of students an unparalleled encounter with what it means to do theory and criticism. Significantly expanded, this new edition features six new chapters that confront, in different ways, the growing understanding of literary works as cultural practices.These six new chapters are "Popular Culture, " "Diversity, " "Imperialism/Nationalism, " "Desire, "Ethics, " and "Class, " by John Fiske, Louis Menand, Seamus Deane, Judith Butler, Geoffrey Galt Harpham, and Daniel T. O'Hara, respectively. Each new essay adopts the approach that has won this book such widespread acclaim: each provides a concise history of a literary term, critically explores the issues and questions the term raises, and then puts theory into practice by showing the reading strategies the term permits.Exploring the concepts that shape the way we read, the essays combine to provide an extraordinary introduction to the work of literature and literary study, as the nation's most distinguished scholars put the tools of critical practice vividly to use.

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From Library Journal:

Neither a dictionary of critical terms nor a handbook for literary studies, this original work contains "substantial investigations" of 22 significant words used in modern literary criticism, words that "are used widely, often loosely, and with little agreement on their meaning." Each chapter explains a term's history and its contemporary social and political connotations. The emphasis is on " doing criticism," on putting theory into practice. Thus, many essays focus on the amplification of a term to a particular literary work, well exemplified in Myra Jehlen's thoughtful discussion of Huckleberry Finn in the chapter on the term gender. The essays are thorough, succinct, balanced, and illuminating (John Guillory on canon is a model of these qualities). The issues raised by the terms are often applied to nonliterary subjects, ranging from the Constitution to McDonald's hamburgers. Recommended.
- Jeffrey R. Luttrell, Youngstown State Univ., Ohio
Copyright 1990 Reed Business Information, Inc.

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