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Literary Theory: An Introduction Paperback – 26 Oct 1996

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Product details

  • Paperback: 248 pages
  • Publisher: Wiley-Blackwell; 2nd Edition edition (26 Oct. 1996)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0631201882
  • ISBN-13: 978-0631201885
  • Product Dimensions: 15.4 x 1.7 x 22.8 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 3.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (11 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 39,668 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
  • See Complete Table of Contents

More About the Author

Acclaimed literary scholar and cultural theorist Terry Eagleton is Professor of Cultural Theory at the National University of Ireland, Galway, Professor of English Literature at Lancaster University, and Distinguished Visiting Professor of English Literature at Notre Dame.

Terry Eagleton is the author of many books including The Idea of Culture (2000), Sweet Violence: The Idea of the Tragic (2002), the bestselling text Literary Theory: An Introduction (1983, 1996, 2008), Trouble with Strangers: A Study of Ethics (2009), and the forthcoming On Evil (2010).

Product Description

Review

"This book shaped the reception of theory in Britain for a generation." Times Higher Education Supplement<!––end––>

Praise for the First Edition of Literary Theory

Literary Theory has the kind of racy readability that one associates more often with English critics who have set their faces resolutely against theory ... It′s not just a brilliant polemical essay, it′s also a remarkable feat of condensation, explication, and synthesis ... Stimulating and entertaining.
Sunday Times

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

A polemical, amusing and very informative introduction ... indispensable.
Jonathan Culler

"The best handbook to those arcane ics and isms, both for academy members and for any civilians who, having heard the distant roar of professorial cannons, might wonder what the skirmishing is about."
Voice Literary Supplement

From the Publisher

Updated to include recent intellectual trends.
"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

"The best handbook to those arcane ics and isms, both for academy members and for any civilians who, having heard the distant roar of professorial cannons, might wonder what the skirmishing's about." Voice Literary Supplement

"Literary Theory has the kind of racy readibility that one associates more often with English critics who have set their faces resolutely against theory. . . . It's not just a brilliant polemical essay, it's also a remarkable feat of condensation, explication, and synthesis. I haven't read anything in the field of literary theory that was at the same time so stimulating and so entertaining since the Polemical Introduction to Northrup Frye's Anatomy of Criticism." London Sunday Times

"A brilliant, agile performance: urgent and racy, witty and combative, lucid and compelling." New Statesman (UK)

"A concise guide to the most interesting and mystifying trends in the study of literature over the last fifty years." The Nation --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.


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First Sentence
In eighteenth-century England, the concept of literature was not confined as it sometimes is today to 'creative' or 'imaginative' writing. Read the first page
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Customer Reviews

3.8 out of 5 stars
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

13 of 13 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on 15 Sept. 2000
Format: Paperback
This is, by some distance, the best single-volume introduction to literary theory. Eagleton writes judiciously and with wry humour about a subject which presents problems for many people. Any difficult terminology is lucidly explained, and despite Eagleton's own political inclinations, this book is no Marxist theory of literature. To say that it is, as some previous reviewers have done, reveals that you either want to disparage the book for your own political ends, or you haven't read it very closely. Recommended.
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25 of 26 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on 16 Oct. 2001
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Though many people believe this book to have been superceded, there is still a considerable academic body of opinion which believes that it is still the best introduction to Literary Theory around. Eagleton in print comes across much as he does face to face, eloquent and personable, and the comparitive readibility of this work (compared to some other theoretical works) speaks volumes for its value. Though admittedly somewhat reductive (inevitably for an introduction) in places, "Literary Theory: an Introduction" is still one of the best Dummies guides around. I am now a postgraduate and still refer to this book regularly, if only as a point of departure for looking at primary texts. Invaluable to the student of English and any related discipline.
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11 of 12 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on 3 April 1999
Format: Paperback
Usually, it is hard to find books about literary theory that give an easy point of view to nonacademic readers. Eagleton achieves a simple yet complete explanation of the main literary theories of 20th. century. Even though he sustains a MArxist point of view he is able to explain and recognize the most important achievements of each current. I think the best of his ideas is that we should take a position when we talk about literature. Excellent book for beginners
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Captain Pugwash on 9 May 2009
Format: Paperback
Mainly written for students of English Language and Literry theory; this is a surprisingly accessible text, and Eagleton's style is gentle and non-threatening.
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6 of 8 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on 7 Mar. 1999
Format: Paperback
when i was at oxford i went to eagleton's lectures. he was as charming in person as he is in print. smooth and jargon-free--crucial qualities for a writer of an introductory text like this one, which is still the best of its kind. this said, it should be pointed out that eagleton, like most literary theorists, has a rather casual attitude towards other people's theories. that is, he likes to throw ideas around and play with them, which is fine if he actually understands the really difficult thinkers like kant or wittgenstein. but he doesn't, and to a professional what he says about these thinkers often seems a little comic.
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3 of 5 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on 24 Mar. 1998
Format: Paperback
A blurb on the back cover of my copy of this book states that it is an excellent way to introduce the reader to the main trends in literary theory "in one day." I think that description is justified: the theories are covered in a lucid, readable style. It is also pointed out that Eagleton does not attempt an unbiased approach in this book. This, also, is true, and is not objectionable, until the last twenty pages or so. In these latter pages, Eagleton states he is not going to promulgate his own Marxist views on literature; but a careful examination of his end matter will reveal that he is arguing dialectically and materialistically, and dialectical materialism is, after all, Marxist. Eagleton has thus, to an extent, been intellectually dishonest with his reader. The only other major flaw is that he spends too little time on feminist literature. However, in terms of a good, general work on literary theory's essentials, this book is still quite adequate, and is refreshingly free of the English scholar's claustrophobic jargon which mars so much criticism these days.
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