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The Road Not Taken and Other Poems (Dover Thrift Editions)
The Road Not Taken and Other Poems (Dover Thrift Editions)
by Robert Frost
Edition: Paperback

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Good selection from Frost's third book., 13 Dec. 2011
This edition is a slightly revised edition of Frost's third book of poems. There is the famous poem The Road Not Taken and a beautiful if narrow selection of other work. I'm not familiar enough with Frost to be able to judge how this work compares to his opus but there are both rhymed and blank poems, mainly rural, highly detailed and subtely reflective, basically a collection of work from a great poet, which at the current price is certainly worth it.

An Introduction to Literature, Criticism and Theory
An Introduction to Literature, Criticism and Theory
by Andrew Bennett
Edition: Paperback
Price: £21.99

4 of 7 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Useful But Not Without Caution, 24 Nov. 2011
Is this book useful for students of literature? Undoubtedly, though that use has to be weighed against the philosophical intentions of the work and the impact this may have, both on the ability to think and write. From my experience of having read widely on literature and philosophy, I think its highly likely that students of literature who have no knowledge of philosophy are at risk of being persuaded towards a highly subjectivist theory of understanding through the authors application of their own theories. Its not so much that the themes of the book, which are interesting and well organised, are examined in literature, as much as being examined from literature, as if literature itself was the sole basis for judgement. Thus for instance concepts of self are identified by how much we are shaped by books, to the extent where the reality between fiction and factual identity seems highly blurred. Some see this as useful and exciting. I'm personally inclined to think it leads to questionable literature and thinking.

This book does offer clear definitions of major, albeit mainly modern theories of knowledge, as well as basic outlines of schools of literature, but the pretence to being just an introduction to all theories rather than an exposition of the deconstructivist method is absurd. Virtually all schools of literature prior to post-structuralism are dismissively rejected, often by the unsubstantiated hyperbole of the authors, or more regularly their favourite authors opinions alone. The brief examination of objective critisism amounts to a couple of paragraphs, subjective critisism fills the remainder of the book.

However the lack of disguise of this bias, combined with at least some self-examination, makes the textual interpretations into a kind of guide book to deconstructivist criticism, for which to me it has been most useful, both in its pros and cons.

Again, it is not so much the exploration of the themes but the theory, methods, style and aims of their examination which provide a real insight. If one then reads this book with an awareness that it is just one interpretation of literature it becomes an insightful work, despite its slightly underhanded way of sharing its views. I would advice people to buy this book if they want a very good introduction to post-modern criticism, but would urge them to read it in conjunction with a book on 'new' or objective criticism to avoid some of the more extreme views of the authors.

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