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(نظریۀ ادبی (معرفی بسیار مختصر (Very Short Introductions #4)

3.64 of 5 stars 3.64  ·  rating details  ·  1,441 ratings  ·  125 reviews
گزارشی‌روشن و تا حد مقدور جامع از موضوع‌ها و عنوان‌های مطرح در نظریۀ ادبی امروز، روی سخن با مخاطبانی است‌که نظریۀ ادبی را به‌شکل تخصصی نخوانده‌اند امّا کنجکاوند که دانش بیشتری دربارۀ آن داشته باشند. نویسنده نظریه را به چند رویکرد یا مکتب رقیب تقسیم نمی‌کند بلکه مهمترین مقوله‌های مورد توجه را مطرح و بررسی کرده، دیدگاه‌های گوناگون دربارۀ هریک را معرفی می‌کند. او از نقش نظریه ...more
Paperback, 199 pages
Published 2006 by نشر مرکز (first published 1997)
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Paul
La Rochefoucault said that no one would ever have thought of being in love if they hadn’t read about it in books. I don’t believe that, do you?

No. Not true at all.

But that’s not what we’re here to discuss.

So -, it’s been said before and I’ll say it again

LITERARY THEORY – huuuagh! What is it good for? Absolutely nuthin.

Theory is a body of thinking and writing whose limits are exceedingly hard to define.

Theory is works that succeed in challenging and reorienting thinking in fields other than t
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Aaron
This book was my first in the "Very Short Introduction" series, and I picked one in a field where I had a little bit of background. Where I went to college it was impossible to take a humanities class and not have someone mention Foucault or Althusser. The school newspaper once ran an article "The Next Person Who Says 'Derrida' Gets Dropkicked". Reading this book, I couldn't help but wish I had it back then, for while every professor loved to spout critical theory, the acting assumption was that ...more
Karl Steel
I loved that Culler organized the work thematically rather than by critical schools. Given that many of the best theorists overlap in many fields--is Judith Butler a psychoanalyst or feminist? is Althusser a structuralist or Marxist? and what is Foucault?--I think Culler's approach best represents how theory actually works. After all, poststructuralism, Marxism, and psychoanalysis tend to do much the same thing in a theoretical context: they all call 'the natural' (of language, of the state and ...more
Bibliomantic
Among the Very Short Introductions, I count this one as one of the best entries. It’s nice to see Jonathan Culler take the task seriously, and not merely as an excuse to write an essay on a select area of the subject (Catriona Kelly’s ‘Russian Literature’ entry comes to mind), but to actually put together an engaging overview of the field’s major themes and divisions. Culler is obviously very comfortable in the topic, and he reads in the way that makes me think his lectures (at Cornell, from wha ...more
Tyler
This summary of trends in higher level criticism of literature sets aside the basics to focus on what’s sometimes called the postmodern critique. That’s to say, it gives readers an introduction to the many modern perspectives by which they might evaluate a literary work: the Marxist critique, the feminist critique, the Freudian critique and so on.

Readers also get a brief introduction to various schools of what’s broadly called “theory,” an endeavor characterized by its multi-disciplinary applic
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Jihm
Take it in increments. It covers the broadest topics of literary theory in a very thorough treatment that makes it cumbersome at times. Wisely, the author chose to write short chapters. I could see turning to this book to gather launch points for future literature papers.

However, the author seems to have the wrong audience in mind. The vocabulary and sentence structure is rather stilted and the prose reads more like a philosophical treatise than an introductory text. Had I been a freshman in an
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Sara Kate
Written for the intelligent lay or scholarly reader who knows nothing, this book provides a concise and compelling introduction to some of the major questions with which literary theory grapples. I found particularly illuminating Culler's discussion of how theory is often used as a form of intimidation (i.e., "How can you *possibly* think talk about X topic if you haven't read Y piece of theory?") and of how, once this petty jostling is put to the side, theory can be an extremely useful tool in ...more
Ryan
A wonderful overview of literary theory, which sidesteps the usual presentation by schools of thought in favor of a discussion of what literature is, and what questions theory seeks to answer. Culler himself is a structuralist, which comes through in his discussion of semiotics, but the rest of the book is presented so fairly that it's difficult to pick up any bias in his presentation.

This is an excellent introduction that makes the reader hungry for more theory and criticism.
Biggles
It's hard to know whether this book is a comprehensive introduction to literary theory, as it's the first whole book I've read on the subject. My motivation was to better understand the literary theoretic ideas being used in software studies and game studies papers I read. Besides that, I always enjoyed English lit at school and I figured it would be nice to say hi again.

The book has its flaws, including indulging in the pompous habit (with which I had already become familiar) of placing literar
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Steven
I just skimmed this one. Pretty basic lit theory 101 stuff, although quite different from my theory text as an undergraduate (Wellek and Warren, Theory of Literature). Its chief virtue being all the rhetorical questions Culler asks; if you listed them out they would be a catalog of eternal debates, questions Aristotle thought he answered, yet we argue about them just as viciously today. Culler’s chapter on narrative is tight, a good summation of issues theorists like Bal have devoted hundreds of ...more
Jeff
Oxford University Press did an interesting thing with these tiny books that introduce intrepid readers to a variety of any possible subject: from The European Union to Molecules to Jazz to Mandela; the idea being to enlighten the future Jack-of-all-trades to an introductory lesson in any given discipline. I cannot vouch for the others, but the book here on Literary Theory is very user unfriendly, and does not offer a perspective into the discourse that an average reader could appreciate.

I have
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Mr Buchanan
Like others, I also dug this thematic approach over a more general schools-based survey as a way to introduce theory. I liked the fact that this approach gave me a feel for theory as a 'do' as much as an 'is'. By the end, I felt as if I could try to think using the principles of theory (a mistrust of 'common sense' and the 'natural' as being socially/culturally constructed) without necessarily really knowing a lot of positions in detail.

I was also pleased to see that Culler didn't completely en
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Adrian Alvarez
This is a fantastic li'l Lit Theory book. It is short, but rather than superficially skimming the surface of as many theoretical schools as possible, Culler takes a more interesting (and page appropriate) approach by encountering those different schools through an exploration of lit theory's practical concerns. You get chapters like "What is Theory?" and "Language, Meaning, and Interpretation," and as a result of his method, you actually do end up coming across some of the main lines of thinking ...more
Sara
Very short, very concise book about literary theory. I knew nothing about literary theory until I read this book. It gave some good summaries of deconstuction and structuralism, constative and performative sentences, for example. Some of the chapters made more sense to me than others. I was reading this in conjunction with The Marriage Plot as Madeleine takes some literary theory and semiotics classes.

I'd like to know more, this book was a little TOO concise but it was the one available at the l
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Kristen
A rather uneven treatment of the topic. Within just a few pages the book alternates between incredibly elementary concepts (thanks but I know what the word 'plot' means) to far more esoteric subjects which the author assumes the reader is already acquainted with and these bits were actually quite helpful if you happen to know what the fuck the author is saying.

I'm not sure who the ideal reader is supposed to be, someone already somewhat familiar with lit theory but who has yet to learn what narr
...more
Reinhardt
What is literature? That’s how the book begins. Simply put, the best literature provides vicarious experience with moral nuance and conflicting moral principles. But the bigger question of what is literature is one of the keys to understanding literary theory.

This book is a quick backgrounder on why literary theory even exist (a valid question). It explores the question that various flavors of literary theory try to answer. Very helpful especially if you have dipped your toe into theory and wond
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Joseph Staten
Indispensable. I so, so wish I had read this as a freshman or sophomore, when I had barely even heard of capital-T Theory, much less knew anything about it. But even after graduating, I learned a huge amount from it. So incredibly lucidly written, and witty, and well-informed. The whole Very Short Introduction series is fantastic, but this is easily the best work I've come across. For anyone with even the slightest interest in theory, or poetry, or literature, or life as a human being. Seriously ...more
Rebecka
Brilliant and brief. I'll be reading more books by this author.
Quin Rich
An excellent, concise introduction to "theory," as it's colloquially called. Rather than cataloging important authors, works, or schools, this texts explicated some key themes and questions that literary theory focuses on.

Why would you care about literary theory? Well, apparently it has little to do with literature at all. If you are a student (such as myself) and/or someone who is deeply passionate about radical politics and social justice (me again), then you might have encountered any number
...more
G. Branden
I enjoyed this title far more than I expected given a scarring experience with Derrida 20 years ago (and an insufficiently critical attitude to Camille Paglia's entertaining rants against post-structuralists). I procrastinated reading this title for years, dreading a waste of time.

Culler writes with shocking clarity, given my expectations. Here and there he does indulge a masonic handshake or two (the words "ineluctable", "signifier", and "signified" seem to be valued currency only in lit crit c
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April
This is a gem of a little book. It summed up everything I needed in a way Barry could not. I think if you take both books together you have a fairly complete background of literary theory, or so I am currently assuming. I'll keep you posted on that, but I feel like I can keep up with my graduate classes fairly well now so that says something I think.

On maybe a slightly superficial note?? The cartoons rocked! :D
Evan Leach
I was assigned this book in college. It's a good, nuts-and-bolts introduction to literary theory that I still have on my shelf. Literary theory is not a subject that I'm particularly attracted to, for a lot of reasons, but Culler does a good job of presenting the basics here. 3 stars.
daniel silliman
Culler, as always, is great, and brings clarity and simplicity to what to-many make out to be overly complex and obscure ideas. I wasn't entirely sold on his idea of relegating the "schools" of theory to the appendix, though. A good introduction.
Xi
This is a well-written, well-elucidated introduction to theory. It is important to note that contrary to its name, the book is actually on critical theory rather than literary theory. Culler defines critical theory as bodies of work that have transcended their original field of study to challenge thinking in other fields--a point rarely made explicit. Given this understanding of theory, the organization of the introduction is by theme rather than by critical schools (the traditional approach in ...more
Ben Wenzel
This is the greatest series ever invented. Learn something about everything, in short books written by legit scholars and authors. Literary Theory is a good one. I intend to buy about half of these books.
Snarky's
This is good if you just need a quick reference guide. The writing is clean and straight-forward. There's nothing really thought provoking in here, but it'll get you warmed up for better books.
Kama
The damned Goodreads app on Android has stopped working by the time I was finishing writing an lenghty review. I'm too pissed out to rewrite it again.

I had hopes for this book (I read Polish version), it's a well written book with a failed focus on UK and USA with some exceptions from time to time. I can't relate to it even if I'm European. It's too far away from "my world". A professor of comparative literature? I can hardly see that in ths book. A professor that's writing about "literature of
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ستایش  دشتی
دور دوم خوندنِ این کتابِ بسیار عالی هم تموم شد.
درسته که ترجمه‌ش بسیار بده، ولی بسیار کتاب خوبیه برای آشنایی با تئوری. فقط باید مطالب فصل اول کتاب، آشنایی با تئوری کاملاً توی ذهن تبیین بشه که ربط مباحث دیگۀ کتاب با تئوری ادبی مشخص بشه. یه جاهایی به نظرم این طبقه‌بندی مشکل داشت و ربط مباحث مطرح‌شده به تئوری ادبی به خوبی مشخص نشده بود.
خوبی این کتاب این بود که بر خلاف کتاب‌های دیگه، صرفاً مباحث خوانش متن رو مطرح نکرده بود و هر چیزی رو که به تئوری ادبی مربوط بود بیان کرده بود. به نظر من تئوری صرفاً م
...more
Michael
Literary Theory: A Very Short Introduction, as you might have guessed by the title, gives you a quick overview on the importance of literary theory. It is a little introduction on the history and the progression of literary studies. It was interesting how the book looked at literary criticism as a field of studies that is losing a battle to cultural studies. Even thought this field steams from the study of literature, people seem more interested in studying music, movies and TV than literature. ...more
Joseph
Having little experience in literary theory outside of this book (which I was required to a few chapters of in college, then decided to re-read because I found those chapters interesting), I can't give a very authoritative review on how well it does introduce you to literary theory. What I can say is that it poses a lot of questions and gives few straight answers to anything. However, since the introduction and conclusion tell us straight-up that that is what the book will do, it was to be expec ...more
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Culler's Structuralist Poetics: Structuralism, Linguistics and the Study of Literature won the James Russell Lowell Prize from the Modern Language Association of America in 1976 for an outstanding book of criticism.[1] Structuralist Poetics was one of the first introductions to the French structuralist movement available in English.

Culler’s contribution to the Very Short Introductions series, Lite
...more
More about Jonathan Culler...
On Deconstruction Barthes: A Very Short Introduction Structuralist Poetics: Structuralism, Linguistics and the Study of Literature Ferdinand de Saussure The Pursuit of Signs: Semiotics, Literature, Deconstruction

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