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3.8 out of 5 stars
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3.8 out of 5 stars
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on 16 October 2001
Though many people believe this book to have been superceded, there is still a considerable academic body of opinion which believes that it is still the best introduction to Literary Theory around.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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on 15 September 2000
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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on 3 April 1999
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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on 7 March 1999
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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on 24 March 1998
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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on 9 May 2009
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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on 30 September 2014
Knowledgeable read
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on 10 December 2012
It is a well-established complaint about TE that he recycles others' theories rather than writing something challenging himself. But there was always something else wrong, difficult to pin down, but connected with a ridiculously credulous attitude to leftist ideology. Then a few months ago he dropped his bombshell by coming out as a Catholic - suddenly, the absence of gay/queer studies from his book, his lack of intellectual rigour, his defensive and hysterical sneers against people like Larkin and Amis, all began to make sense. He was writing books purporting to be based on reason, whilst all the time supporting the world's largest homophobic hate machine.
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on 27 February 2009
Rather helpful book for beginner film art students- covers topics from film techniques to the technicalities of film art. Easy to use, with clear explanations and good examples. Detailed analysis of films mentioned, showing how the theory works in films.
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on 4 May 2004
This book is very informative and has good points, but it is so excruciatingly boring that I can barely force myself to pay attention for more than a paragraph at a time. Eagleton's views are strong, and sometimes muddle with the ideas of the people he's trying to describe. Overall, I think it's good but very unclear, or you need to be a top scholar of literature to really understand it right away.
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