Massive and informative,
This review is from: Literary Theory: An Anthology (Blackwell Anthologies) (Paperback)
Literary criticism has been around for hundreds of years. In the 20th century however separate schools, ideologies, doctrines and groupings of critics emerged and the critic became more self-conscious of what he was writing, why he was writing and what ideology he was advocating.
In 'Literary theory: an anthology,' Rivkin and Ryan concentrate nearly solely on the main 20th century critical movements: Formalism, Structuralism, Deconstruction, Feminism, Post-colonial theories and others. Each chapter follows has an introductory essay by the editors and then collects together excerpts from key texts from each movement.
There are two main faults to this text: some critics (Adorno and Genette are not included, Benjamin and Jakobson only offer short pieces) are overlooked and there is no criticism from authors writing about other authors (Sartre on Baudelaire/Flaubert, Nabokov on fellow Pushkin and Flaubert, Brodsky's important essays on European literature).
Despite this, the text does bring together major works by major critics of the previous century as well as giving ample space to lesser known critics and movements. Furthermore, the editors include essays by philosophers who directly influenced many of these critics such Hegel, Nietzsche, Marx and Heidegger.
This book is an excellent textbook for teachers and students of literary criticism and will definitely make the reader a more self-conscious, critical analyser of texts.