A collection in translation of recent essays by one of the most eminent contemporary literary critics concentrates on defining genre, literary and otherwise, in order to better examine individual authors.
"Although Todorov is operating within the realm of high theory, he constructs most arguments from meticulous readings of individual texts. Unlike the bravura gestures of critics such as Harold Bloom, Todorov's close readings are quieter. Like embroidery examined with a magnifying glass, they impress by their intricacy and refinement....he is amazing." Village Voice
Prefatory note; Part I: 1. The notions of literature; 2. The origin of genres; Part II: 3. The two principles of narrative; 4. Reading as construction; 5. A poetic novel; 6. Poetry without verse; Part III: 7. Notes from the Underground; 8. The limits of Edgar Poe; 9. Heart of Darkness; 10. The Awkward Age; Index.