Synopses & Reviews
What is literary theory? Is there a relationship between literature and culture? In fact, what is literature, and does it matter? These questions and more are addressed in Literary Theory: A Very Short Introduction
, a book which steers a clear path through a subject which is often perceived to be complex and impenetrable.
Jonathan Culler, an extremely lucid commentator and much admired in the field of literary theory, offers discerning insights into such theories as the nature of language and meaning, and whether literature is a form of self-expression or a method of appeal to an audience. Concise yet thorough, Literary Theory also outlines the ideas behind a number of different schools: deconstruction, semiotics, postcolonial theory, and structuralism, among others.
From topics such as literature and social identity to poetry, poetics, and rhetoric, Literary Theory: A Very Short Introduction is a welcome guide for anyone interested in the importance of literature and the debates surrounding it.
About the Series: Combining authority with wit, accessibility, and style, Very Short Introductions offer an introduction to some of life's most interesting topics. Written by experts for the newcomer, they demonstrate the finest contemporary thinking about the central problems and issues in hundreds of key topics, from philosophy to Freud, quantum theory to Islam.
"An excellent idea, these Very Short Introductions; a new concept from OUP."--The Guardian
"Jonathan Culler has always been about the best person around at explaining literary theory without oversimplifying it or treating it with polemical bias. Literary Theory: A Very Short Introduction is an exemplary work in this genre."--J. Hillis Miller, University of California, Irvine
"An impressive and engaging feat of condensation...the avoidance of the usual plod through schools and approaches allows the reader to get straight to the heart of the crucial issue for many students, which is: why are they studying literary theory in the first place?...an engaging and lively book."--Patricia Waugh, University of Durham
"It is impossible to imagine a clearer treatment of the subject, or one that is, within the given limits of length, more comprehensive. Culler has always been remarkable for his expository skills, and here he has found exactly the right method and tone for his purposes."--Frank Kermode
"This is a very readably, useful text for Intro to Theory/Criticism course. I've used this before and it works well to introduce students to recent theory and issues in literary study."--David Fine, California State University
"This is an excellent short introduction. I especially like Prof. Culler's decision to tell a story about theory rather than mechanically outlining schools of criticism."--Dr. Tamara Harvey, University of Southern Mississippi
Oxford's Very Short Introductions series offers concise and original introductions to a wide range of subjects -- from Islam to Sociology, Literary Theory to History, and Archaeology to the Bible. Not simply a textbook of definitions, each volume provides trenchant and provocative -- yet always balanced and complete -- discussions of the central issues in a given discipline or field. Every Very Short Introduction gives a readable evolution of the subject in question, demonstrating how the subject developed and how it influenced society. Eventually, the series will encompass every major academic discipline, offering all readers an accessible and abundant reference library. Whatever area of study one deems important or appealing, whatever topic fascinates the general reader, the Very Short Introductions series has a handy and affordable guide that will likely prove indispensable.
About the Author
About the Author -
Jonathan Culler is the Chair in Comparative Literature at Cornell University. His previous publications include Framing the Sign: Criticism and Its Institutions, On Deconstruction, and Structuralist Poetics: Structuralism, Linguistics, and the Study of Literature.
Table of Contents
1. What is Literary Theory?
2. What is Literature and Does it Matter?
3. Literature and Cultural Studies
4. Language, Meaning, and Interpretation
5. Poetry, Poetics, and Rhetoric
7. Literature and Social Identity
8. Schools, Movements, Institutions