Beginning Theory: An Introduction to Literary and Cultural Theory

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"Beginning theory has been helping students navigate through the thickets of literary and cultural theory for well over a decade now. 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 unravelled. 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
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Overview

"Beginning theory has been helping students navigate through the thickets of literary and cultural theory for well over a decade now. 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 unravelled. 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.
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Editorial Reviews

Booknews
An accessible yet non-simplistic guide to 11 major types of theoretical thought encountered in university courses on literary and cultural theory, from liberal humanism to lesbian/gay criticism to postcolonial criticism and stylistics. Each chapter describes the central tenets of the approach, discusses what each type of critic does, provides examples, poses study questions to the reader, and provides a selected reading list. 5x8". Distributed by St. Martin's Press. Annotation c. Book News, Inc., Portland, OR (booknews.com)
From the Publisher
“It is no surprise to learn that Beginning theory has already been reprinted nine times. There is no other book that offers such a comprehensive account of the field, combined with thoughtful, detailed exposition of the theoretical approaches under discussion. Far from being a modest survey of contemporary literary theory, it has had a vital role in shaping the way that theory is taught in Britain and North America.” —English Association Newsletter
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780719043253
  • Publisher: Manchester University Press
  • Publication date: 10/28/1995
  • Pages: 320

Meet the Author

Peter Barry is Professor of English at the University of Aberystwyth.

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Table of Contents

Introduction 1

1 Theory before 'theory' - liberal humanism 11

2 Structuralism 38

3 Post-structuralism and deconstruction 59

4 Postmodernism 78

5 Psychoanalytic criticism 92

6 Feminist criticism 116

7 Lesbian/gay criticism 134

8 Marxist criticism 150

9 New historicism and cultural materialism 166

10 Postcolonial criticism 185

11 Stylistics 196

12 Narratology 214

13 Ecocriticism 239

14 Literary theory - a history in ten events 262

15 Theory after 'Theory' 287

Appendices 318

App. 1 Edgar Allan Poe, 'The Oval Portrait' 318

App. 2 Dylan Thomas, 'A Refusal to Mourn the Death, by Fire, of a Child in London' 321

App. 3 William Cowper, 'The Castaway' 322

Where do we go from here? Further reading 325

Index 331

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