Lawyers and Literature
James R. Elkins

Theory & Literary Criticism

Two Brief Warnings about Theory

"The way we read now partly depends upon our distance, inner or outer, from the universities, where reading is scarcely taught as a pleasure, in any of the deeper senses of the aesthetics of pleasure." [Harold Bloom, How to Read and Why 22 (New York: Scribner, 2000)]

"Since literature seemed to be about everything that there is—about the human condition—I figured that a good literary critic would have to make himself expert at that big picture. It didn't take me long to realize that the professionalization of literary criticism has taken reductionism as its model, and that it too can lead to learning more and more about less and less until you're in danger of knowing everything there is to know about nothing." [Richard Powers, in an interview with Jeffrey Williams, "The Last Generalist: An Interview with Richard Powers," 2 (2) Cultural Logic (1999)]

On Theory

"Theory is the common shorthand for approaches to texts which are not particularly concerned about the two obsessions of traditional criticism, Meaning and Value. Theory reconnects literature with other areas of knowledge, not to find the 'meaning' of the text, but to explore cross-currents between, for example, fiction and psychoanalysis, capitalism and realism, sexuality and writing, history and literary form, and language and other sign systems." [Introduction to Contemporary Literary Theory, Course Syllabus (Dr P. Smethurst, Hong Kong University)]

"My allegiance is not to a literary theory but to the sum total of my liberating literary experiences . . . ." [Frank Lentricchia, The Edge of Night: A Confession 88 (New York: Random House, 1994)]

Salman Rushdie on Teaching the Novel and Reading for Pleasure
[YouTube video; 5:35 mins]

Review of a Major Survey of Literary Theory: Keeping the Faith: The Limits of Ideological Criticism [A review of The Johns Hopkins Guide to Literary Theory and Criticism]

 

Literary Theory

Literary Theory
Wikipedia

Literary Criticism
Wikipedia

A Brief History of Literary Theory

Introduction to Modern Literary Theory

Literary Criticism and Theory of Criticism

Review of Mark Turner's The Literary Mind

Video: A Literary Theory Course

Introduction to Theory of Literature [Paul Frey] - Introduction-II - Ways In and Out of the Hermeneutic Circle - Configurative Reading - The Idea of the Autonomous Artwork - The New Criticism and Other Western Formalisms - Russian Formalism - : Semiotics and Structuralism - Linguistics and Literature - Deconstruction - Deconstruction-II - Freud and Fiction - Jacque Lacan in Theory - Influence (Harold Bloom) - The Postmodern Psyche - The Social Permeability of Reader and Text - The Frankfurt School of Critical Theory - The Political Unconscious - The New Historicism - The Classical Feminist Tradition - African American Criticism - Post-Colonial Criticism - Queer Theory - The Institutional Construction of Literary Study - The End of Theory? - Reflections; Who Doesn't Hate Theory Now

Archetypes

Archetypal Criticism
Michael Delahoyde, Introduction to Literature

Basic Premises of Archetypal Theory

Mythological and Archetypal Approaches

Archetypal Criticism

Archetypal and Myth Criticism

The American Hero-Quester

Archetypal Literary Criticism
Wikipedia

Aristotle

Aristotle and Literary Criticism

Authorial Intention

Author's Intent
Wikipedia

Critical Theory (Video)

The Frankfurt School of Critical Theory

The Frankfurt School

Introduction to the Frankfurt School Story :: Pt2

Existentialism

Existentialism

Feminist Literary Criticism

Feminist Literary Criticism
Wikipedia

Interpretation

The Problem of Meaning in Literature

Literary Studies

Teaching and Studying Literature at the End of Ideology
Excerpt Richard Ohmann, English in America: A Radical View of the Profession (Oxford, 1976)

Literary Theorists

Wayne Booth

Wayne C. Booth
Wikipedia

Confessions of an Aging, Hypocritical Ex-Missionary

Kenneth Burke

Kenneth Burke
Wikipedia

Stanley Fish

Stanley Fish
Wikipedia

The Reader-Response Theory of Stanley Fish

Northrop Frye

Northrop Frye's Theory of Archetypes

Wolfgang Iser

Wolfgang Iser
Wikipedia

Norman N. Holland

The Critical I

Louise Rosenblatt

Louise Rosenblatt
Wikipedia

Louise Rosenblatt: Her Influence on Teaching Literature

Marxism

Marxist Criticism-Defined

Marxist Literary Interpretation
Wikipedia

Marxism

Narrative Theory

Narratology
Wikipedia

Narrative Theory

Narratology: A Guide to the Theory of Narrative

The Cognitive and Anthropological Origins of Narrative

A Professor's Projects

New Criticism

New Criticism

Modes of Reading, and Modes of Reading Swift

New Historicism

Hew Historicism

New Historicism
Wikipedia

Phenomenology

"The phenomenological theory of art lays full stress on the idea that, in considering a literary work, one must take into account not only the actual text but also, and in equal measure, the actions involved in responding to that text. . . . [T]he literary work has two poles, which we might call the artistic and the aesthetic: the artistic refers to the text created by the author, and the aesthetic to the realization accomplished by the reader."

—Wolfgang Iser, The Reading Process: A Phenomenological Approach, 3 (2) New Literary History 279 (1972)

Phenomenology

Psychoanalysis and Literary Criticism

Psychoanalytic Criticism

Freud and Fiction
YouTube video

Psychoanalytic Criticism

Psychoanalytic Literary Interpretation
Wikipedia

Postmodernism

The Literature of Replenishment-Postmodernist Fiction

Queer Theory

Queer Literary Interpretation
Wikipedia

Reader Response

Reader-Response Criticism
Wikipedia

Reception and Reader-Response Theory

Reader Oriented Theory in the Classroom

Knowledge Transfer and Reading: Implications of the Transactional Theory of Reading

Reader Response: Empirical Research on Literary Reading

Rhetoric

Why Rhetoric Needs a Theory of Reading

Schema Theory

Schemas and Stories

Semotics

Semotic Literary Interpretation
Wikipedia

Structuralism

Structuralism and Semoitics

Post-structural Narrative Theory
Wikipedia

Web

Negotiating a Passage Among Readers and Writers on the Web

Wittgenstein

The Narrative Act: Wittgenstein and Narratology

 

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