This book was a set text for a Lit Theory module during my degree. Initially I was just annoyed at having to carry it to and from my lectures, but I soon came to realise that in fact, this book was going to become the corner stone of my work from then on.
My tutor told me that the reason she set this text is so that we could become involved in the original writing that forms what we know as theory today. Instead of reading other academics interpretations and explanations of what a theory is, we were able to go back to the roots, and start to understand the theory ourselves.
What this book has enabled me to do is to become acquainted with these theorists, and use what they wrote in every aspect of my academic work. My grades have jumped the last hurdle into consistent A's because of this book. I can use theorist's original ideas and create my own interpretations of the texts, instead of having to rely solely on other academics theoretical translations
I absolutely believe that this text is essential to any serious literature under- and post- graduate. I say serious student, because there is no hiding the fact that these essays are tough going, and take a lot of time to assimilate into your own understanding. It is however worth all the effort.
(There is also a book called Literary Theory- An Introduction which accompanies this anthology. Personally, I believe that it is frankly, a useless book that offers nothing more than a confused and often over simplified notion of the theories. Thus taking the magic of the anthology away)