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4.1 out of 5 stars40
4.1 out of 5 stars
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on 10 November 2006
Whilst trying to write an essay about desire, I became so confused I just wanted a book that would explain the various theories in simple language so that I would understand it. This book did just that. It provides introductions to complex topics and establishes a foundation of knowledge that you can build on with the handily referenced further reading, or reading of your own. Its now become my first port of call when writing essays, so I don't become tangled up in complex criticism and theories.
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on 13 September 2000
I read this book in my first year of an English Literature degree course. It was the best guide to theory that I have read. It's divided into short, interesting, easy-to-digest chapters. The authors have a sense of humour and avoid excessive jargon, while still communicating a lot of information. I was only planning to read a couple of chapters but ended up reading the entire book. It's a great book to read if you feel overwhelmed by the complexity of some other theoretical books and would like to read something that is concise and at the same time varied in its content. I would recommend it to students and those who are just interested in literary theory.
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on 2 March 2009
It's an excellent text book, easy to read and understand. Plus, it touches modern themes as ghosts or creative writing, so you don't have this sense that you are reading another book only talking about the way of writing fifty years ago. A must have if you are a literature student.
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on 25 October 2002
I found that this book was written with fluidity and verve, especially for a guide to crit. theory which can so often be starchy and inpenetrable. The topics discussed offer a superficial but fascinating look into various aspects of literature and from there point to intelligently selective further reading. Very useful for lit. degree students, as almost every facet of theory is discussed.
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on 5 December 2005
This book offers a real insight into the vast world of literary criticism and theory: it delves into fundamental subject areas, asking questions like, 'What is the text? Where does it begin?' Bennett & Royle consistently keep our interest (no mean feat in a book of this scope) and write concisely, intelligently and fluently. Case studies are used, so the theory really comes into play. I would recommend this book to anyone starting a course on literature or merely with an interest in the texts that make up our world. Particularly useful are the 'Further Reading' footnotes at the end of each chapter, which will advise you on texts to read according to what you found interesting about the subject. This is a relatively short book, but covers all its subject matter well and references other works which can provide a deeper insight. Don't expect to use this as a complete reference book; you will need to do some more reading, but as a comprehensive summary of modern literary theory this book is perfect.
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on 16 October 2013
This was a core textbook in the first year of my degree, but I have found it useful throughout. The theories are explained clearly and very easy to understand. This textbook uses examples from novels for their theories so you can really see it's relevance and how it's applied. Recommended.
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on 18 December 2010
For anyone studying critical theory of English literature this is an excellent guide. It covers many different topics on a high level but gives a good basis to start from. Unlike many other academic books it is easy to read and comprehend so a great tool for students.
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on 5 September 2013
Not a bad book for beginners but I don't consider myself a beginner. I had to buy it for my university course and I can say it didn't help me as much as I wish it had. It uses way too many examples from other novels I hadn't read and gave away major plot points which annoyed me very much. Couldn't really understand fully what points they were trying to make.
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on 22 March 2007
This book achieves the impossible. It makes the difficult and obtuse polemical and theoretical debates of recent history easy to read. Yes, believe it or not! I cannot find enough congratulations to give for this excellent and learned book. The achievement of the age. Thank you for making clear sense of it all.My newly found bible for Literary Critical research.
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on 28 November 2014
Put simply, any time I fall out of love with my degree subject, I go to this book to remind me why I chose to study literature in the first place. It's inspiring, easy-to-read, incredibly thought-provoking and has a comprehensive range of theories, all topped off with guided further reading sections at the end of each chapter (as opposed to just a list of sources). To anyone who's thinking about studying English, already studying it, or who just wants to learn a bit more about it in their free time, I can't recommend it enough.
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