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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,
Christine De Pizan,
Joachim Du Bellay,
Sir Philip Sydney,
Gotthold Ephraim Lessing,
Friedrich Von Schiller,
Germaine Necker De Stael,
Percy Bysshe Shelley,
Ralph Waldo Emerson,
Edgar Allan Poe,
Marx and Engels,
Ferdinand De Saussure,
W.E.B Du Bois,
John Crowe Ransom,
Zora Neale Hurston,
Mikhail M. Bakhtin,
Horkheimer and Adorno,
William K. Wimsatt Jr. and Monroe C. Beardsley,
Simone De Beauvoir,
Paul De Man,
Hans Robert Jauss,
Deleuze and Guattari,
Barbara Herrnstein Smith,
Edward W. Said,
Sandra M. Gilbert and Susan Gubar,
Stanley E. Fish,
Ngugi Wa Thiong, Taban Lo Liyong and Henry Owuor-Anyumba,
Paula Gunn Allen,
Stephen J. Greenblatt,
N. Katherine Hayles,
Martha C. Nussbaum,
Homi K. Bhabha,
Henry Louis Gates Jr.
Eve Kosofsky Sedgwick,
Steven Knapp and Walter Benn Michaels,
Lauren Berlant and Michael Warner,
Michael Hardt and Antonio Negri,
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.