Josh's Reviews > Literary Theory: An Introduction

Literary Theory by Terry Eagleton
Rate this book
Clear rating

M 50x66
's review
Feb 17, 2009

it was amazing
bookshelves: literary-theory
Read in February, 2009

I picked up this book expecting to learn a little bit about each major school of literary theory, and I wasn't disappointed. The book is a much easier read than some of the authors it references, and (I hope) may be useful in understanding those authors.

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 linguistics (Saussure), but also psychoanalysis as language (Lacan), discourse as a means of economic control (Marx), language as it pertains to sexual roles (Lacan, Kristeva), and so on. The selection still seems a bit arbitrary to me -- haven't there been interesting linguistic theories since Saussure? But I think this is a quirk of the field, not of the book.

Eagleton seems to present most authors fairly, as if he wants you to seriously consider that author's position. Then, amusingly enough, he will attempt to tear the author to shreds so he can go on to the next author. I didn't find his rants to be particularly profound or convincing. Thankfully he spends far more time illustrating each author's points than he spends beating them up.
4 likes · flag

Sign into Goodreads to see if any of your friends have read Literary Theory.
Sign In »

No comments have been added yet.