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The Event of Literature Paperback – 2 Apr 2013

3.0 out of 5 stars 1 customer review

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Product details

  • Paperback: 264 pages
  • Publisher: Yale University Press; Reprint edition (2 April 2013)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0300194137
  • ISBN-13: 978-0300194135
  • Product Dimensions: 13.2 x 1.8 x 20.2 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 3.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 892,024 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Product Description


'In this book Eagleton offers a shrewd historical synthesis of the interaction between literature and the common culture.' (Iain Finlayson, The Times) 'Written with his characteristic wit, verve and insight, 'The Event of Literature' marks a new chapter in the developing thought of our pre-eminent literary theorist.' (London Review of Books) 'This guidebook, which steers us confidently through some of the thickets of literary theory, is of the companionable and clever variety... the skill of the writing is its cultivation of a kind of companionability, the relaxed but alert mood of an intelligence at ease into which Eagleton lulls you.' (Shahidha Bari, Times Higher Education) 'Throughout the book, Eagleton writes with his customary felicity'. (Stuart Kelly, The Guardian) --The Times, London Review of Books, Times Higher Education, The Guardian

About the Author

Terry Eagleton is Distinguished Professor of English Literature, University of Lancaster. He is the author of more than 40 books, spanning the fields of literary theory, postmodernism, politics, ideology, and religion. His recent books 'Why Marx Was Right', 'On Evil', and 'Reason, Faith, and Revolution' are all available from Yale University Press.

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Terry Eagleton is (almost) always worth reading and this book begins very well. The opening chapter offers an analysis of the realist and nominalist philosophical positions, which is surprising and welcome because Eagleton explains how the difference between the two affects the way we compose and read literature. It's a very clear and convincing exposition which gets one's hopes up that the rest of the book will be as unusual and illuminating. Much of the initial impetus fades away, however, and although there are many very percipient, and very funny, passages about some topics, the rest of the book is really a series of comments on the work of other critics. Necessary though this presumably is, one feels that unless the reader is familiar with the huge number of writers Eagleton mentions, much of the comment is going to be rather uninteresting. There is an attempt to treat the subject of "literature" in sections, but beyond assigning chapter headings, the actual method, of quoting and refuting, or quoting and agreeing, is constant throughout.One gets the impression that Eagleton is dealing with matters he has long felt strongly about and is consequently unable to leave anything out, and even for the reasonably well-read person, this makes for some longeurs. I would have liked to have fewer critics and more Eagleton, more of the clear-sighted understanding evident in the first chapter, that what we ultimately believe about the world actually forms or alters the way we express it. Why do we need to produce this stuff called literature, rather than just imparting information to each other? Perhaps Terry Eagleton feels embarrassed to approach the big question: the impression is that he just tired of it.
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