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For over twenty-five years a favorite of instructors and students around the world, this comprehensive guide to the major critical approaches to literature has been thoroughly revised to reflect the explosion of critical theories and the radical expansion and revision of the literary canon that have taken place in recent decades. Two entirely new chapters cover feminist approaches and structuralism and poststructuralism, and there are substantial new sections on recent neo-Marxist theories, dialogics, hermeneutics, the new historicism, and reader-response criticism. In addition, bibliographic references have been updated and expanded throughout.
Combining the best features of competing texts, the Handbook not only defines and outlines the development of all the major critical-interpretive perspectives, with copious references to the most important and influential sources, but offers detailed practical applications of the various approaches to the same four literary works—a unique feature that gives students both a dramatic demonstration of the strengths of each approach and a memorable set of models for the interpretation of other literary works. Organized for flexibility, the Handbook can be taught as a continuous unit or adapted to fit courses organized by genre, and is equally successful as an introductory survey for beginning students and as a reference and bibliographic guide for graduates.
Offering a practical yet scholarly blend of applied criticism and pedagogy in an engaging style and an accessible format, this new edition of the Handbook is an invaluable companion for today's students of literature and literary criticism.
PROLOGUE: THE PRECRITICAL APPROACH