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on 21 November 2015
This book is great!

I had to buy it for a class, and it offers a clear breakdown of the theories and issues surrounding them. It also relates these theories and issues to well-known books and poetry that people should hopefully know, in order to get points across and to give examples of the theories in practice. The language is really clear on the most part, so you don't have to spend ages faffing around trying to figure out what the author originally meant.
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on 27 April 2017
Very good, as described
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on 30 June 2017
as advertised.
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on 29 April 2017
Fantastic read, very helpful for English degree!!! Highly recommend!!
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on 31 July 2013
This book could not be more straight forward, easy and enjoyable to read. For an 18 year old in their first year at Uni doing Eng lit it is priceless. For anyone else who is interested in some of the philosophical motivations behind literary theoretical approaches I would also recommend it. A wonderful, comprehensive overview.
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on 29 February 2012
Peter Barry's introduction to literary critical theory is essential to A-Level students who are thinking about going onto study English Literature in higher education. Barry successfully breaks down difficult elements of theory into bite-size sections, complete with examples.

The main structure of the guide is split into various critical theories:

1. Liberal Humanism
2. Structuralism
3. Post-structuralism
4. Post-modernism
5. Psychoanalytic criticism
6. Feminist criticism
7. Lesbian / gay criticism
8. Marxist criticism
9. New historicism and cultural materialism
10. Postcolonial criticism
11. Stylistics
12. Narratology
13. Ecocriticism

What is good about this book:

* Each theory is broken down into several fundamental points
* Barry gives examples of the practical use of such theory
* His 'stop and think' sections ask multiple choice questions about the theory, to test and extend one's knowledge
* He provides a lists in each section for further reading
* He is objective

One of the simplest theory books ever published, excellent for beginners, yet detailed enough to see one through a first year theory course at university (plus a few of his reading suggestions). An essential investment!
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on 1 September 2010
Even if you hated anything philosophical at school, this is a book you'll pick up again and again. A good book to learn the basics of any social and philosophical theory of the modern - or rather postmodern - world; and to make you want to read more about the one or the other idea. The book also recommends selected further reading to guide you throught the jungle of sophisticated material on the market. Great as a background for any studies, particularly media or art studies, but also just to refresh some ideas behind some of the great names of this and last century.
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on 18 August 2006
This book has some great summary sections which are invaluable when revising and trying to learn key points of each theory. However Barry does tend to 'waffle' a bit in places, sometimes making it difficult to understand and there are some errors in the book itself. But it is definately worth getting for the summaries alone, but make sure it is supported by another text.
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on 27 February 2012
If you are doing any form of literary study that requires an understanding of theory read this book before any others. It makes sense and doesn't over complicate an already complex subject. It should be on all primary reading lists not the additional reading list.
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on 13 September 2001
I found this book very useful as a general overview of areas such as structuralism, poststructuralism, marxist criticism, queer theory etc. Without being patronising or simplistic Peter Barry presents an excellent working guide with points to think about, examples of different types of criticism and suggestions for further reading. Not just for those doing English. It clears up some major mysteries for those outside the area!
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