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How to Read Literature

3.63  ·  Rating Details  ·  464 Ratings  ·  98 Reviews
What makes a work of literature good or bad? How freely can the reader interpret it? Could a nursery rhyme like Baa Baa Black Sheep be full of concealed loathing, resentment and aggression? In this accessible, delightfully entertaining book, Terry Eagleton addresses these intriguing questions and a host of others. How to Read Literature is the book of choice for students n ...more
Hardcover, 216 pages
Published May 21st 2013 by Yale University Press
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Bill  Kerwin
Feb 24, 2016 Bill Kerwin rated it really liked it

At first glance, this is a straightforward book. Written by a clear-thinking critic in pellucid prose, it is entitled How to Read Literature and consists of five chapters headed “Openings,” “Character,” “Narrative,” Interpretations,” and “Value.” Tell me, what could be more straightforward than this? Yet, when I attempt to summarize its thesis and articulate its worth, I find it difficult to begin.

When in doubt, I suppose one should begin with beginnings, so let's start with the first opening di
Mar 02, 2016 Golyatkin rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: library
Bu kadar eğlendiğim, kahkaha attığım başka bir kitap okumadım :) Okumak isteyenler için kitabın çok sayıda kitap hakkında, bol miktarda spoiler içerdiğini belirteyim. Eleştiri olduğu için bu kaçınılmaz bir durum ancak bilmeyenler olabilir.

"Edebiyat, etrafı dalkavuklarla çevrili sonsuz güçlü bir hükümdar gibi, hatalı olamayacağınız bir yerdir." Çok tatlı değil mi?
Nandakishore Varma
Oct 04, 2015 Nandakishore Varma rated it liked it
Shelves: literary-theory
I have always liked to read books on literary theory - to know the gears and cogs that mesh and grind within the machine known as "literature". We all know that the written word immediately does not become literature; nor do most of the stories and poems we read. We also know that stories we really enjoy (most genre fiction, for example) do not really classify as literature - and stories which bore us to tears (many medieval works) and those which leave us totally befuddled (Finnegan's Wake imme ...more
Jul 14, 2015 Ludmilla rated it really liked it
Shelves: favoriler
Özellikle Üçüncü Polis'in ilk paragrafı ve ayrıntılı Büyük Umutlar incelemesi şahane. Harry Potter ve diğer küçük değiniler de bonus. Çeviri çok özenli ama imkânınız varsa orijinal dilinden okumanızı tavsiye ederim zira vurgular, kullanılan kelimeler, dizilis vs de inceleniyor. Türkçe baskıda bu durum kelimeler ve deyimlerin orijinallerinin parantez içinde verilmesiyle giderilmeye çalışılmış, kötü de olmamış. Paragraf cevirilerinde de Yeginobali, Eyüboğlu, Hakmen cevirilerinden yararlanılmış. An ...more
ككتاب نقدي فهو مهم دون ادنی شك...لكن سيمون امثر اهمية بالنسبة للقارئ الإنجليزي.
May 17, 2015 Jon rated it it was amazing
A treasury of common sense--Eagleton one way or another addresses almost every school of criticism and describes its successes and failures. His wit is quick and pointed, and most of the time it hits home. He levels it even at his own preferences, which seem to be Marxist and Freudian criticism. He is very widely and deeply read, but he is not too proud even to discuss Harry Potter. "We may also note the remarkable number of words which begin like Voldemort with V and which have negative connota ...more
Literary Ames {Against GR Censorship}
'Good poems and novels are those that transcend their age and speak meaningfully to us all. They deal in permanent, imperishable features of human existence - in joy, suffering, grief, death and sexual passion, rather than in the local and incidental.'

Literary criticism: where philosophy and psychology meet.

Speaking of philosophy, this very much reminded me of my Philosophy of Art and Literature module at university, which is not to say that this can't be read by a novice or a teenager study
Coleccionista  de finales tristes
No es un libro que nos enseñe a leer literatura más bien nos da el punto de vista del autor y punto.

İbn Zerhani
Terry Eagleton'ın Türkçeye "Edebiyat Nasıl Okunur" adıyla geçen kitabı. Elif Ersavcı çevirmiş ve iletişim yayınlarından çıkmış.

Öncelikle eserin ismine kanmamak gerektiğini düşünüyorum. Terry Eagleton "Mutluluğun Sırrı", "On Adımda Başarılı Olmak" gibi sansasyonel kitap isimlerine mi özenmiş kitaba isim koyarken bilemiyorum ama yanlış beklentiler oluşturuyor okuyucuda.

Kitabın, okumaya yeni yeni ilgi duyan, pek edebiyat birikimi olmayan kişiler tarafından ilgi görmesi muhtemel. Fakat o kesime hit
محمود حسني

يحتاج لقراءة أخرى ..
Ted Burke
Jun 07, 2013 Ted Burke rated it liked it
I've been a long time reader of Eagleton for the plain reason that he has a wonderful prose style and that , as a Marxist in the mode of Raymond Williams, he remains skeptical of using art as a springboard for philosophical speculation and insists that we have to appreciate how authors use their imaginations and techniques to elicit the subtle effects on their readership. He does not dodge the political in art, but he does insist that readers remember that literature is about the human experienc ...more
غيث حسن
Feb 14, 2016 غيث حسن rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
حين تقرأ عنوان الكتاب تظن للوهلة الأولى أنه على منوال كيف تصبح غنيا في اسبوع أو تحدث الانجليزية في أيام وغيرها من العناوين الدعائية البالية، إلا أن كيف نقرأ الأدب اتضح أنه تساؤل فلسفي عميق جدا وبحر واسع ستغرق فيه دون أدنى شك.

إن كنت من قراء الرواية الغربية الناطقة بالانجليزية فقد وجدت ضالتك.

الفضل الخامس أكثر الفصول إثارة ومتعة.
Alia (بلا همزة)
كيف نقرأ الأدب ؟
سؤال مستفز .. كنت قد قرأت الادب دون ان اسال نفسي او اي شخص عن كيفية قراءته
الا انني وجدت معلومات مفيدة عن عناصر الادب وجمالياته
يعتقد القاريء ان هذا الكتاب يفيد من يقرأون باللغة الانجليزية فقط
فقد تحدث كثيرا عن ايقاع الكلمات واللغة وجميع الامثلة التي استخدمها الكاتب من روايات ومسرحيات واشعار باللغة الاجنبية
الا انني انصح به لمن يرغب في قراءة الادب بطريقة متأنية
Oct 20, 2015 Kris rated it liked it
Eagleton's dry British wit kept me mostly entertained. He pulls the reader's leg a lot, or, takes the mickey, I suppose it is.

Rather abrupt ending though, with no real review or conclusion. I was expecting him to cover more elements of literature overall, as that's what it seemed he set out to do.

Unfortunately, it feels like Eagleton got bored while writing the manuscript and only turned half of it in-- and they decided to publish it anyway.

By no means is this essential reading or thorough in an
Anna Weber
May 18, 2016 Anna Weber rated it liked it
3.5 stars. Overall an enjoyable if academic little book about critical reading of literature. Nice range of works covered, including literature, poetry and drama. I liked that the book was broken down by "aspects" of a work (opening, character, narrative). As a somewhat minor point, it often felt like conclusions were missing; chapters and actually the book itself seemed to end in the middle of a point. But that aside, this was a nice little overview, especially for someone like myself who reads ...more
Eustacia Tan
May 15, 2013 Eustacia Tan rated it really liked it
Shelves: netgalley
As you can see my the title, I'm in the "I'VE FORGOTTEN ALL MY LITERATURE HELPPP" sort of mood. Yeah, it pops up every now and then now that I no longer have literature as a class (I know, I'm weird).

So this book is a sort of refresher course. It's divided into five parts: "Openings", "Character", "Narrative", "Interpretation" and "Value". Of the five parts, I liked the last two the best. Why? Because it was something that I hadn't really considered before. The first three..... well, it would be
Jul 13, 2013 Mac rated it it was ok
Having slogged through How To Read Literature, I gained some insights, but the journey was barely worth the effort.

So what are the burdens along the way?

First, the longer analyses of some classics (e.g., 20 pages on Great Expectations) are slow, boring, and over analyzed--to be fair, in part because I don't recall those classics very well. Second, there's the tone. A review in The New York Times said it best: " frequently get the most queasy of literary sensations: that of encountering a
Aug 20, 2013 Rose rated it it was amazing
How to Read Literature by Terry Eagleton explains different ways to use literary criticism in regards to openings, character, narrative, interpretation and value. It uses passages from many well known authors from Shakespeare to J.K. Rowling.

The author shows us passages and then critics them on occasion with examples from other literary critics to show us how a certain passage can have many different meanings.

I liked this book and appreciated that it went into depth on the different aspects of
Momina Masood
There are moments of remarkable insight in this book but overall it didn't blow me away. I particularly loved his analysis of Dickens' Great Expectations and, of course, the nursery rhyme part was absolutely hilarious. Another good thing that Eagleton said was in the chapter of 'Characters' that how general readers, when reviewing a certain book, talk about the characters as if they were real people, thus taking away the 'literariness' of the book. Not that such passionate interest in a novel's ...more
هالةْ أمين
أن تقرأ لكي تحلل كل كلمة وكل حدث وهل ماكتب منطقي وواقعي وهل هو خيال بحت أم مستند على خلفية أحداث حقيقية
سيفقدك الكثير من المتعة
رأيي الشخصي القراءة الأدبية هيللمتعة ثم للتفكر

هذا الكتاب سيعرفك على جوانب جديدة في النقد الأدبي
وأهم الركائز التي يعتمد عليها
أو بشكل أخر أهم النقاط لكتابة عمل أدبي جيد
كما أنه تحدث عن الكثير من الأعمال الأدبية نثرية كانت أو شعرية حللها وفصلها بأسلوب سهل وجميل

Sep 25, 2013 David rated it really liked it
This was a really fun read, and I hope that was the point, because otherwise I missed the point. I saw it at the library and thought, "Okay, this is very famous critic, and this looks like it is aimed at general readers, so I should give him a try." The book was smart, of course, and often very funny -- actually one of its best features -- and I probably learned things without realizing it. But when I got to the end, I thought: That's it? Then again, it was supposed to be a book about reading, n ...more
A neat idea but not as well executed as I hoped it would be. I liked some of the explanations and interpretations but the author's point of view is hopelessly Anglo-centric and he doesn't seem to even grasp the concept of translations ('everybody who wants to enjoy Pride and Prejudice has to learn English first'???). Still an enjoyable read but not exactly ground-breaking.
Sep 19, 2014 Carmen rated it really liked it
Surprised how much I liked this. Like a refresher course in lit by a professor who is witty and intelligent and a endearingly sarcastic. His analysis of the classics such as Great Expectations and Middlemarch are fresh and designed to not dumb it down for students but to coax them to investiage the complexities of lit. He also does an intriguing analysis of the Harry Potter novels, which he values and does not see as fluff or trash. Good read if you live in a place you dont have a lot of friends ...more
Bob Anderson
Mar 17, 2015 Bob Anderson rated it really liked it
Eagleton wrote this book, a step back from his normal specificity of discourse, because he was tired of hearing works of literature discussed in the same manner that one would discuss drama in a friend circle. He aims to show how speaking about the work in a less superficial and personal way can enrich ones experience. The book is split into five parts, Openings, Character, Narrative, Interpretation and Value, each of which focuses on the criticism of a particular aspect of a work. Openings is t ...more
Roger Irish
Mar 05, 2014 Roger Irish rated it it was amazing
This is an excellent introduction to reading literature and has been one of the most enjoyable books I’ve read for some time. For a man who has in the past been most associated with the Marxist and more theory-heavy schools of criticism Terry Eagleton has put together an introduction to the close reading of literature that does indeed help to ”demolish the myth that analysis is the enemy of enjoyment.”

The book has five chapters: Openings, Character, Narrative, Interpretation and Value. Each of t
Mar 18, 2014 Angela rated it really liked it
Super accessible, snappy, and fun. "How to read literature" is to remember that, indeed, it is literature--made up of words. Others of Eagleton's books also stress that meaning does not preexist language: it's not that we think of something and only then dress it in words. It is that thinking is performed in words and inextricable from them. Cathy and Heathcliff don't live in your apartment building: they are created out of words on the page, and also presented with narrative techniques such as ...more
David Harrison
Apr 12, 2015 David Harrison rated it liked it
Written in an informal chatty manner, this book provides different perspectives of looking at literature. It is not an in-depth academic text or a thorough guide to literary theory, but it does give some insights to the casual reader on how to better approach literature.

I feel that this book could have done with a clearer structure in relation to the points he was introducing, rather than vague chapter headings containing the author's semi-related ramblings. His ramblings do make some good point
Feb 03, 2015 Ayah rated it really liked it
إن أية قراءة لأي منجز معرفي يعني ببساطة أن تقوم بعملية إعادة تدوير له في ذهنك لتتحاور مع المؤلف حوارا مثمرا و إن كان الحوار مقتصرا على دخائل نفسك .
أسارع إلى القول إن النجمة الناقصة في تقييمي هي لجهلي و ليس لتقصير الفاتن "تيري إيجلتون " ، إنه جهل منبعه أنني لم أقرأ عديد الروايات أو القصائد التي قرأها إيجلتون بذكاء يحسد عليه ، و ذلك جعلني أنقطع عن مسارات فكره في حين و ألتحق بها في أحيان أخرى .. إنه الكتاب الولع الحلم بالنسبة إلي . . الحمد لله أنني عشت حتى أتممته ..
Feb 09, 2016 Christine rated it it was ok
Had to put this one down after the first chapter (44 pages in). The title of this book is very misleading. This isn't so much how to read literature, but more of let the author tell you what he knows about various passages of literature. I was hoping for a guide, a way to approach literature with a new mindset, but the book is comprised of what seems to be a somewhat rambling explanation of various examples. Sure, I did glean some interesting tidbits from his observations, but nothing to really ...more
Maa jed
May 22, 2016 Maa jed rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
بیشتر از خود ِ کتاب ، از ترجمه ی هوشمندانه و قدرتمند و صد البته جسورانه ی مشیت علایی کیف کردم . چون غالبن مترجمین بخصوص مترجمین غیر مشهور سعی میکنند برای بهتر و باارزشتر نشان دادن ترجمه ، به طور ضمنی از نویسنده تعریفهای بیشتر از واقعیت می کنند که این کار خیلی به نظرم مشمئز کننده است ولی علایی کاملن صریح هر جا که احساس میکند نویسنده اشتباه کرده یا مبهم مطلبی را بیان کرده بی پروا حرفی که به نظرش درست می رسد را شفاف بیان میکند که خیلی بر لذت بردن بیشتر از کتاب تأثیر میگذارد . خوب مطالب کتاب هم که ...more
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صالون الجمعة: كيف نقرأ الأدب | 10-2014 26 243 Oct 14, 2014 06:43PM  
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Widely regarded as Britain's most influential living literary critic & theorist, Dr Eagleton currently serves as Distinguished Prof. of English Literature at the Univ. of Lancaster & as Visiting Prof. at the Nat'l Univ. of Ireland, Galway. He was Thomas Warton Prof. of English Literature at the Univ. of Oxford ('92-01) & John Edward Taylor Prof. of English Literature at the Univ. of Ma ...more
More about Terry Eagleton...

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“If we are inspired only by literature that reflects our own interests, all reading becomes a form of narcissism.” 7 likes
“Scratch a schoolboy and you find a savage.” 6 likes
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