An Introduction to Literature, Criticism and Theory

An Introduction to Literature, Criticism and Theory

Language: English

Pages: 441

ISBN: 1138119032

Format: PDF / Kindle (mobi) / ePub

Lively, original and highly readable, An Introduction to Literature, Criticism and Theory is the essential guide to literary studies. Starting at ‘The Beginning’ and concluding with ‘The End’, chapters range from the familiar, such as ‘Character’, ‘Narrative’ and ‘The Author’, to the more unusual, such as ‘Secrets’, ‘Pleasure’ and ‘Ghosts’. Now in its fifth edition, Bennett and Royle’s classic textbook successfully illuminates complex ideas by engaging directly with literary works, so that a reading of Jane Eyre opens up ways of thinking about racial difference, for example, while Chaucer, Raymond Chandler and Monty Python are all invoked in a discussion of literature and laughter.

The fifth edition has been revised throughout and includes four new chapters – ‘Feelings’, ‘Wounds’, ‘Body’ and ‘Love’ – to incorporate exciting recent developments in literary studies. In addition to further reading sections at the end of each chapter, the book contains a comprehensive bibliography and a glossary of key literary terms.

A breath of fresh air in a field that can often seem dry and dauntingly theoretical, this book will open the reader’s eyes to the exhilarating possibilities of reading and studying literature.
















dictionary directs her to ‘see synonyms at MONSTER’. ‘The synonym was official, authoritative’, Calliope thinks: it was the verdict that the culture gave on a person like her. Monster. That was what she was. That was what Dr. Luce and his colleagues had been saying. It explained so much, really. It explained her mother crying in the next room. It explained the false cheer in Milton’s voice. It explained why her parents had brought her to New York, so that the doctors could work in secret. It

of the monument, around the idea of the monumentalization of literary texts. How does an author enter the ‘canon’? What is the relationship between monumentalization and reading? Do literary texts become static, frozen into their own tombs of eternity, or do they change with time and with each new generation? What is at stake in the literary critical process of canonization and monumentalization? What is gained and what lost? Literary texts, as the epitaphs by Jonson and Milton suggest, are

of disreputable people in books or, more recently, in films, on TV, in videos or computer games. This paradox of character whereby people in books are like ‘real’ people who are, in turn, like people in books, is suggested by the words ‘person’ and ‘character’ themselves. We have been using these words more or less interchangeably, though with an implicit and conventional emphasis on the ‘reality’ of a person and the ‘fictionality’ of a character. But the words are worth examining in more

abused his daughter. By stressing the ways in which Breedlove himself had in the past been racially and physically abused in turn, Morrison’s novel provides a complex historical account of racism and violence. The Bluest Eye is tragic but the villain is paradoxically part of the tragedy. Morrison’s novel broaches a despairing realism quite foreign to Shakespearean tragedy. King Lear concludes with Edgar’s words: The weight of this sad time we must obey, Speak what we feel, not what we ought to

pool, The beacon on the lonely eminence, The woman, and her garments vexed and tossed By the strong wind. (Book 11: 307–15) Wordsworth writes of painting with colours and words that are unknown (not yet, perhaps never to be, invented), as if it were a matter of something fixed, the landscape painting of a visionary dreariness (in effect, a seeing of seeing, a vision of visionariness); and yet, as with the earlier passage we encountered (‘with what motion moved the clouds!’), it is at the same

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