Book picks similar to
The Culture of Redemption by Leo Bersani


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theory-and-criticism
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literature

No Future: Queer Theory and the Death Drive


Lee Edelman - 2004
    His main target is the all-pervasive figure of the child, which he reads as the linchpin of our universal politics of “reproductive futurism.” Edelman argues that the child, understood as innocence in need of protection, represents the possibility of the future against which the queer is positioned as the embodiment of a relentlessly narcissistic, antisocial, and future-negating drive. He boldly insists that the efficacy of queerness lies in its very willingness to embrace this refusal of the social and political order. In No Future, Edelman urges queers to abandon the stance of accommodation and accede to their status as figures for the force of a negativity that he links with irony, jouissance, and, ultimately, the death drive itself.Closely engaging with literary texts, Edelman makes a compelling case for imagining Scrooge without Tiny Tim and Silas Marner without little Eppie. Looking to Alfred Hitchcock’s films, he embraces two of the director’s most notorious creations: the sadistic Leonard of North by Northwest, who steps on the hand that holds the couple precariously above the abyss, and the terrifying title figures of The Birds, with their predilection for children. Edelman enlarges the reach of contemporary psychoanalytic theory as he brings it to bear not only on works of literature and film but also on such current political flashpoints as gay marriage and gay parenting. Throwing down the theoretical gauntlet, No Future reimagines queerness with a passion certain to spark an equally impassioned debate among its readers.

Beginning Theory: An Introduction to Literary and Cultural Theory


Peter Barry - 1995
    This new and expanded third edition continues to offer students and readers the best one-volume introduction to the field.The bewildering variety of approaches, theorists and technical language is lucidly and expertly unraveled. Unlike many books which assume certain positions about the critics and the theories they represent, Peter Barry allows readers to develop their own ideas once first principles and concepts have been grasped.

The Mirror and the Lamp: Romantic Theory and the Critical Tradition


M.H. Abrams - 1954
    Abrams has given us a remarkable study, admirably conceived and executed, a book of quite exceptional and no doubt lasting significance for a number of fields - for the history of ideas and comparative literature as well as for English literary history, criticism and aesthetics.

Marxism and Literature


Raymond Williams - 1977
    He analyzes previous contributions to a Marxist theory of literature from Marx himself to Lukacs, Althusser, and Goldmann, and develops his own approach by outlining a theory of cultural materialism' which integrates Marxist theories of language with Marxist theories of literature. Williams moves from a review of the growth of the concepts of literature and idealogy to a redefinition of determinism' and hegemony'. His incisive discussion of the 'social material process' of cultural activity culminates in a re-examination of the problems of alignment and commitment and of the creative practice in individual authors and wider social groups.

Literary Theory: A Very Short Introduction


Jonathan D. Culler - 1997
    Jonathan Culler, an extremely lucid commentator and much admired in the field of literary theory, offers discerning insights into such theories as the nature of language and meaning, and whether literature is a form of self-expression or a method of appeal to an audience. Concise yet thorough, Literary Theory also outlines the ideas behind a number of different schools: deconstruction, semiotics, postcolonial theory, and structuralism, among others. From topics such as literature and social identity to poetry, poetics, and rhetoric, Literary Theory: A Very Short Introduction is a welcome guide for anyone interested in the importance of literature and the debates surrounding it.About the Series: Combining authority with wit, accessibility, and style, Very Short Introductions offer an introduction to some of life's most interesting topics. Written by experts for the newcomer, they demonstrate the finest contemporary thinking about the central problems and issues in hundreds of key topics, from philosophy to Freud, quantum theory to Islam.

Shakespeare: The Invention of the Human


Harold Bloom - 1998
    A landmark achievement as expansive, erudite, and passionate as its renowned author, Shakespeare: The Invention of the Human is the culmination of a lifetime of reading, writing about, and teaching Shakespeare. Preeminent literary critic-and ultimate authority on the western literary tradition-Harold Bloom leads us through a comprehensive reading of every one of the dramatist's plays, brilliantly illuminating each work with unrivaled warmth, wit and insight. At the same time, Bloom presents one of the boldest theses of Shakespearean scholarships: that Shakespeare not only invented the English language, but also created human nature as we know it today.

Critical Theory Today: A User-Friendly Guide


Lois Tyson - 1998
    It provides clear, simple explanations and concrete examples of complex concepts, making a wide variety of commonly used critical theories accessible to novices without sacrificing any theoretical rigor or thoroughness.This new edition provides in-depth coverage of the most common approaches to literary analysis today: feminism, psychoanalysis, Marxism, reader-response theory, new criticism, structuralism and semiotics, deconstruction, new historicism, cultural criticism, lesbian/gay/queer theory, African American criticism, and postcolonial criticism. The chapters provide an extended explanation of each theory, using examples from everyday life, popular culture, and literary texts; a list of specific questions critics who use that theory ask about literary texts; an interpretation of F. Scott Fitzgerald's The Great Gatsby through the lens of each theory; a list of questions for further practice to guide readers in applying each theory to different literary works; and a bibliography of primary and secondary works for further reading.

Mimesis: The Representation of Reality in Western Literature


Erich Auerbach - 1942
    A brilliant display of erudition, wit, and wisdom, his exploration of how great European writers from Homer to Virginia Woolf depicted reality has taught generations how to read Western literature. This new expanded edition includes a substantial essay in introduction by Edward Said as well as an essay, never before translated into English, in which Auerbach responds to his critics.A German Jew, Auerbach was forced out of his professorship at the University of Marburg in 1935. He left for Turkey, where he taught at the state university in Istanbul. There he wrote "Mimesis," publishing it in German after the end of the war. Displaced as he was, Auerbach produced a work of great erudition that contains no footnotes, basing his arguments instead on searching, illuminating readings of key passages from his primary texts. His aim was to show how from antiquity to the twentieth century literature progressed toward ever more naturalistic and democratic forms of representation. This essentially optimistic view of European history now appears as a defensive--and impassioned--response to the inhumanity he saw in the Third Reich. Ranging over works in Greek, Latin, Spanish, French, Italian, German, and English, Auerbach used his remarkable skills in philology and comparative literature to refute any narrow form of nationalism or chauvinism, in his own day and ours. For many readers, both inside and outside the academy, "Mimesis" is among the finest works of literary criticism ever written.

The Theory of the Novel


György Lukács - 1916
    Like many of Lukacs's early essays, it is a radical critique of bourgeois culture and stems from a specific Central European philosophy of life and tradition of dialectical idealism whose originators include Kant, Hegel, Novalis, Marx, Kierkegaard, Simmel, Weber, and Husserl.The Theory of the Novel marks the transition of the Hungarian philosopher from Kant to Hegel and was Lukacs's last great work before he turned to Marxism-Leninism.

A Theory of Parody: The Teachings of Twentieth-Century Art Forms


Linda Hutcheon - 1985
    Hutcheon identifies parody as one of the major forms of modern self-reflexivity, one that marks the intersection of invention and critique and offers an important mode of coming to terms with the texts and discourses of the past. Looking at works as diverse as Tom Stoppard's Rosenkrantz and Guildenstern Are Dead, Brian de Palma's Dressed to Kill, Woody Allen's Zelig, Karlheinz Stockhausen's Hymnen, James Joyce's Ulysses, and Magritte's This Is Not a Pipe, Hutcheon discusses the remarkable range of intent in modern parody while distinguishing it from pastiche, burlesque, travesty, and satire. She shows how parody, through ironic playing with multiple conventions, combines creative expression with critical commentary. Its productive-creative approach to tradition results in a modern recoding that establishes difference at the heart of similarity. In a new introduction, Hutcheon discusses why parody continues to fascinate her and why it is commonly viewed as suspect-–for being either too ideologically shifty or too much of a threat to the ownership of intellectual and creative property.

How to Read Literature


Terry Eagleton - 2013
    How to Read Literature is the book of choice for students new to the study of literature and for all other readers interested in deepening their understanding and enriching their reading experience. In a series of brilliant analyses, Eagleton shows how to read with due attention to tone, rhythm, texture, syntax, allusion, ambiguity, and other formal aspects of literary works. He also examines broader questions of character, plot, narrative, the creative imagination, the meaning of fictionality, and the tension between what works of literature say and what they show. Unfailingly authoritative and cheerfully opinionated, the author provides useful commentaries on classicism, Romanticism, modernism and postmodernism along with spellbinding insights into a huge range of authors, from Shakespeare and Jane Austen to Samuel Beckett and J. K. Rowling.

Illuminations: Essays and Reflections


Walter Benjamin - 1955
    Illuminations includes Benjamin's views on Kafka, with whom he felt the closest personal affinity, his studies on Baudelaire and Proust (both of whom he translated), his essays on Leskov and on Brecht's Epic Theater. Also included are his penetrating study on "The Work of Art in the Age of Mechanical Reproduction," an illuminating discussion of translation as a literary mode, and his thesis on the philosophy of history. Hannah Arendt selected the essays for this volume and prefaces them with a substantial, admirably informed introduction that presents Benjamin's personality and intellectual development, as well as his work and his life in dark times. Reflections the companion volume to this book, is also available as a Schocken paperback.Unpacking My Library, 1931The Task of the Translator, 1913The Storyteller, 1936Franz Kafka, 1934Some Reflections on Kafka, 1938What Is Epic Theater?, 1939On Some Motifs in Baudelaire, 1939The Image of Proust, 1929The Work of Art in the Age of Mechanical Reproduction, 1936Theses on the Philosophy of History, written 1940, pub. 1950

ABC of Reading


Ezra Pound - 1934
    With characteristic vigor and iconoclasm, Pound illustrates his precepts with exhibits meticulously chosen from the classics, and the concluding “Treatise on Meter” provides an illuminating essay for anyone aspiring to read and write poetry. The ABC of Reading emphasizes Pound's ability to discover neglected and unknown genius, distinguish originals from imitations, and open new avenues in literature for our time.

The Empire Writes Back: Theory and Practice in Post-Colonial Literatures


Bill Ashcroft - 1989
    This diverse and powerful body of literature has established a specific practice of post-colonial writing in cultures as various as India, Australia, the West Indies and Canada, and has challenged both the traditional canon and dominant ideas of literature and culture.The Empire Writes Back was the first major theoretical account of a wide range of post-colonial texts and their relation to the larger issues of post-colonial culture, and remains one of the most significant works published in this field. The authors, three leading figures in post-colonial studies, open up debates about the interrelationships of post-colonial literatures, investigate the powerful forces acting on language in the post-colonial text, and show how these texts constitute a radical critique of Eurocentric notions of literature and language.This book is brilliant not only for its incisive analysis, but for its accessibility for readers new to the field. Now with an additional chapter and an updated bibliography, The Empire Writes Back is essential for contemporary post-colonial studies.

The Sense of an Ending: Studies in the Theory of Fiction


Frank Kermode - 1967
    Here, he contributes a new epilogue to his collection of classic lectures on the relationship of fiction to age-old concepts of apocalyptic chaos and crisis. Prompted by the approach of the millennium, he revisits the book which brings his highly concentrated insights to bear on some of the most unyielding philosophical and aesthetic enigmas. Examining the works of writers from Plato to William Burrows, Kermode shows how they have persistently imposed their "fictions" upon the face of eternity and how these have reflected the apocalyptic spirit. Kermode then discusses literature at a time when new fictive explanations, as used by Spenser and Shakespeare, were being devised to fit a world of uncertain beginning and end. He goes on to deal perceptively with modern literaturewith "traditionalists" such as Yeats, Eliot, and Joyce, as well as contemporary "schismatics," the French "new novelists," and such seminal figures as Jean-Paul Sartre and Samuel Beckett. Whether weighing the difference between modern and earlier modes of apocalyptic thought, considering the degeneration of fiction into myth, or commenting on the vogue of the Absurd, Kermode is distinctly lucid, persuasive, witty, and prodigal of ideas.