Literary Theory: An Introduction
“This concise and lucid volume offers a satisfying survey of all the major theories, from structuralism in the 1960s to deconstruction today, that have made academic criticism both intriguing and off-putting to the outsider.” —New York Times Book Review
“Literary Theory has the kind of racy readability that one associates more often with English critics who have set their...more
More lists with this book...
The body of the work is an introduction to literary criticism that goes, more or less, school-by-school according to when they came into being and grew to be popular. Eagleton is a master both at explaining the theories in terms of their formal structures and historicizing. This book contains some of the shortest yet most detailed introductions I know to the most difficult of thinkers: Derrida, Freud, Lacan, ...more
It wasn’t until Ch. 2 that I finally realized exactly how Eagleton’s Marxism plays into his allergic reaction to literature as an objective category. He hates the idea of the academy telling the rest of the world what constitutes literature. It’s just another example of the powerful controlling the powerless, and he can’t stand it.
Poststructuralism (Ch. 4) is a historical term, because it’s describing a theory that came after structural ...more
Eagleton says he would prefer to call it the "Theory of Discourse" rather than "Literary Theory" -- it's really the theory of human speech, communication, discussion, and rhetoric, in all forms. As such, it includes thinkers who studied linguisti ...more
Perhaps. Or perhaps this is more of an essay on theory from a Marxist slant.
Terry Eagleton's prefatory statement: "Hostility to theory usually means an opposition to other people's theories and an oblivion of one's own" seems ironic in a book, though innocuously entitled Literary Theory: An Introduction, that works instead to decimate most literary theory in the 60 years prior to the book's publication. Eagleton does spare Marxism (his own ideology) and femini ...more
Lauded as a classic on literary theory, this book leaves the novice reader perplexed an ...more
It was an entertaining ride, to say the least. I learned early on that Terry Eagleton is not a capitalist. He goes through the various theories from the 19th centu ...more
Below is on ...more
Eagleton is a devoted Marxist and he is not shy about peppering his discussion of these theories with liberal amounts of Marxist jargon. Personally, I found that to be charming...
I also found the Conclusion: Political Criticism rather one-sided. Eagleton's turn towards politics itself seemed to place political goals and ideas outside the realm of ideology/literature - as though one comes to literature ...more
Why a book on a theory of literature? He notes (Page viii): ". . .without some kind of theory, however unreflective and implicit, we would not know what ...more