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9 of 10 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Wonderful Compilation, 29 Dec 2012
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This review is from: The Norton Anthology of Theory and Criticism (Hardcover)
Norton Anthology of Theory and Criticism: Second Edition.

This is a highly useful book for any students of literature, critical theory, philosophy, anthropology, cultural studies, media or history. Whilst it does focus mainly upon literature, it contains excerpts about a huge number of topics. As potential buyers are unable to see the contents, included below is a complete list of theoreticians' work contained within the anthology:

Georgias of Leontini,
Augustine of Hippo,
Moses Maimonides,
Thomas Aquinas,
Dante Alighieri,
Giovanni Boccaccio,
Christine De Pizan,
Joachim Du Bellay,
Giacopo Mazzoni,
Sir Philip Sydney,
Pierre Corneille,
John Dryden,
Aphra Behn,
Giambattista Vico,
Joseph Addison,
Alexander Pope,
Samuel Johnson,
David Hume,
Immanuel Kant,
Edmund Burke,
Gotthold Ephraim Lessing,
Friedrich Von Schiller,
Mary Wollstonecraft,
Germaine Necker De Stael,
Friedrich Schleiermacher,
Percy Bysshe Shelley,
Ralph Waldo Emerson,
Edgar Allan Poe,
Marx and Engels,
Charles Baudelaire,
Matthew Arnold,
Walter Pater,
Stephanie Mallarme
Henry James,
Friedrich Nietzsche,
Oscar Wilde,
Sigmund Freud,
Ferdinand De Saussure,
W.E.B Du Bois,
Leon Trotsky,
Virginia Woolf,
Gyorgy Lukacs,
Boris Eichenbaum,
T.S Eliot,
John Crowe Ransom,
Martin Heidegger,
Antonio Gramsci,
Zora Neale Hurston,
Erich Aurbach,
Walter Benjamin,
Mikhail M. Bakhtin,
Horkheimer and Adorno,
Edmund Wilson,
Roman Jakobson,
Jacques Lacan,
Langston Hughes,
Jean-Paul Sartre,
Cleanth Brooks,
William K. Wimsatt Jr. and Monroe C. Beardsley,
Simone De Beauvoir,
Claude Levi-Strauss
J.L Austin,
Northrop Frye,
Roland Barthes,
Louis Althusser,
Paul De Man,
C.D Narasimhaiah,
Irving Howe,
Hans Robert Jauss,
Raymond Williams,
Frantz Fanon,
Deleuze and Guattari,
Jean-Francois Lyotard,
Michel Foucault,
Wolfgang Iser,
Hayden White,
Jean Baudrillard,
Jurgen Habermas,
Adrienne Rich,
Chinua Achebe,
Harold Bloom,
Pierre Bourdieu,
Jacques Derrida,
Zehou Li,
Richard Ohmann,
Stuart Hall,
Barbara Herrnstein Smith,
Fredric Jameson,
Edward W. Said,
Monique Wittig,
Benedict Anderson,
Sandra M. Gilbert and Susan Gubar,
Helene Cixous,
Gerald Graff,
Stanley E. Fish,
Ngugi Wa Thiong, Taban Lo Liyong and Henry Owuor-Anyumba,
Paula Gunn Allen,
Tzvetan Todorov,
Karatani Kojin,
Annette Kolodny,
Julia Kristeva,
Laura Mulvey,
Gloria Anzaldua,
Gayatri Anzaldua,
Barbara Chrisian,
Terry Eagleton,
Stephen J. Greenblatt,
N. Katherine Hayles,
Donna Haraway,
Barbara Smith,
Susan Bordo,
Barbara Johnson,
Bruno Latour,
Martha C. Nussbaum,
Bonnie Zimmerman,
Homi K. Bhabha,
Gayle Rubin,
Slavoj Zizek,
Henry Louis Gates Jr.
Franco Moretti,
Eve Kosofsky Sedgwick,
Dick Hebdige,
Steven Knapp and Walter Benn Michaels,
Bell Hooks,
Lisa Lowe,
Judith Butler,
Paul Gilroy,
Andrew Ross,
Lauren Berlant and Michael Warner,
Michael Hardt and Antonio Negri,
Judith Halberstam.

Obviously, some excerpts are covered in more detail than others, as the book is only approximately 2700 pages long and therefore doesn't contain the full publications by each of these figures, merely snippets and excerpts. However, a good selection from each is included, as is a quick preface for each individual containing a holistic overview of their biographical information and theoretical contributions to their respective fields.

Topics include (at random) 'The Defence and Enrichment of the French Language', 'A Philosophical Enquiry into the Origin of Our Ideas', 'Culture and Anarchy', 'The Defence of Poesy', 'The Archetypes of Literature', 'The Signification of the Phallus', 'Racism in Conrad's Heart of Darkness', 'Visual Pleasure and Narrative Cinema', 'A Manifesto for Cyborgs: Science, Technology, and Social Feminism in the 1980s' to name but a few.

Translations are presented well. I personally enjoyed the opportunity to experience some new (and in some cases improved) translations of familiar works, particularly a selection of wonderfully eloquent excerpt from Nietzsche's 'Birth of Tragedy' translated by Ronald Spiers which was a refreshing change from my Kauffmann and Hollingdale editions.

The book itself is printed upon unfortunately cheap (bible-type) paper which does not highlight particularly well. However, with the lighter colours such as orange and yellow it is more than possible to highlight on any page. The pages do crumple and fold somewhat readily, although some might suggest that a well loved book needs a little wear and tear. This would perhaps be my single criticism of the book. However, as a particularly mobile student, I've lugged mine all over the place and as yet it has not been rendered damaged. I can imagine rain playing havoc with the pages.

The binding is nice and hard, and somewhat stylish - pure white with red text. Included is a dust-jacket.

Overall this book is excellent, and I would thoroughly recommend it to any student considering further education. It can't ever hope to replace original texts of course, but either as an introduction or a handy collection for easy reference, it does hold a vast selection of real gems.

Minor personal quibble would be a lack of work from Jung (which was included in the previous edition, but sadly not this) or Goethe/Schopenhauer, yet selection is of course a personal taste.

9/10: deserves five stars rather than four.
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