How to Interpret Literature: Critical Theory for Literary and Cultural Studies / Edition 2

Paperback (Print)
Rent from
(Save 77%)
Est. Return Date: 09/26/2014
Buy New
Buy New from
Used and New from Other Sellers
Used and New from Other Sellers
from $27.86
Usually ships in 1-2 business days
(Save 30%)
Other sellers (Paperback)
  • All (35) from $27.86   
  • New (18) from $27.86   
  • Used (17) from $30.01   


Offering a refreshing combination of accessibility and intellectual rigor, How to Interpret Literature: Critical Theory for Literary and Cultural Studies, Second Edition, presents an up-to-date, concise, and wide-ranging historicist survey of contemporary thinking in critical theory.

The only book of its kind that thoroughly merges literary studies with cultural studies, this text provides a critical look at the major movements in literary studies since the 1930s, including those often omitted from other texts. It is also the only up-to-date survey of literary theory that devotes extensive treatment to Queer Theory and Postcolonial and Race Studies. How to Interpret Literature, Second Edition, is ideal as either a stand-alone text or in conjunction with an anthology of primary readings such as Robert Dale Parker's Critical Theory: A Reader for Literary and Cultural Studies.

* Uses a conversational and engaging tone that speaks directly to today's students
* Covers a variety of theoretical schools—including New Criticism, Structuralism, Deconstruction, Psychoanalysis, Feminism, and Marxism—weaving connections among chapters to show how these different movements respond to and build on each other
* Offers a rich assortment of pedagogical features (charts, text boxes that address frequently asked questions, photos, and a bibliography)

Read More Show Less

Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
"A must-read for anyone teaching or seeking to understand literary theory."

—Christopher Hogarth, Wagner College

"Robert Dale Parker's examples—personal, literary, cultural, and historical—vivify in often sprightly and unapologetically blunt language what could otherwise be a 'long, hard slog' through extremely intimidating material. His own pedagogical adventures and experiences in teaching literary theory and criticism provide an unexpectedly fresh narrative and contextual perspective."

—Tiffany Gilbert, University of North Carolina, Wilmington

Read More Show Less

Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780199757503
  • Publisher: Oxford University Press, USA
  • Publication date: 7/18/2011
  • Edition description: New Edition
  • Edition number: 2
  • Pages: 368
  • Sales rank: 303,206
  • Product dimensions: 5.50 (w) x 8.20 (h) x 0.70 (d)

Meet the Author

Robert Dale Parker is James M. Benson Professor of English at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign.

Read More Show Less

Table of Contents

Chapter 1: Introduction
Chapter 2: New Criticism
How to Interpret: Key Concepts from New Criticism
Historicizing the New Criticism: Rethinking Literary Unity
The Intentional Fallacy and the Affective Fallacy
How to Interpret: A New Critical Example
Chapter 3: Structuralism
Key Concepts in Structuralism
How to Interpret: Structuralism in Cultural and Literary Studies
The Death of the Author
How to Interpret: The Detective Novel
Structuralism, Formalism, and Literary History
The Structuralist Study of Narrative: Narratology
Narrative Syntax, Metaphor, and Metonymy
Chapter 4: Deconstruction
Key Concepts in Deconstruction
How to Interpret: A Deconstructionist Example
Writing, Speech, and Différance
Deconstruction beyond Derrida
Deconstruction, Essentialism, and Identity
How to Interpret: More Deconstructive Examples
Chapter 5: Psychoanalysis
The Psychoanalytic Understanding of the Mind
Sigmund Freud
How to Interpret: Models of Psychoanalytic Interpretation
From the Interpretation of Dreams to the Interpretation of Literature
How to Interpret: Psychoanalytic Examples
Jacques Lacan
Chapter 6: Feminism
Early Feminist Criticism
Sex and Gender
How to Interpret: Feminist Examples
Feminism and Visual Pleasure
Chapter 7: Queer Studies
Key Concepts in Queer Studies
How to Interpret: A Queer Studies Example
Queer Studies and History
Outing: Writers, Characters, and the Literary Closet
Homosociality and Heterosexual Panic
How to Interpret: Another Queer Studies Example
Chapter 8: Marxism
Key Concepts in Marxism
Contemporary Marxism, Ideology, and Agency
How to Interpret: Marxist Examples
Chapter 9: Historicism and Cultural Studies
New Historicism
How to Interpret: Historicist Examples
Michel Foucault
Cultural Studies
How to Interpret: A Cultural Studies Example
Cultural Studies, Historicism, and Literature
Chapter 10: Postcolonial and Race Studies
From Orientalism to Deconstruction: Edward Said, Homi Bhabha, and Gayatri
Chakravorty Spivak
How to Interpret: A Postcolonial Studies Example
Race Studies: Postcolonial Theory and the Construction of Race
How to Interpret: Postcolonial and Race Studies Examples
Chapter 11: Reader Response
Ideal, Implied, and Actual Readers
Structuralist Models of Reading and Communication
Aesthetic Judgment, Interpretive Communities, and Resisting Readers
Reception Theory and Reception History
Readers and the New Technologies
Works Cited
Further Reading

Read More Show Less

Customer Reviews

Average Rating 5
( 1 )
Rating Distribution

5 Star


4 Star


3 Star


2 Star


1 Star


Your Rating:

Your Name: Create a Pen Name or

Barnes & Review Rules

Our reader reviews allow you to share your comments on titles you liked, or didn't, with others. By submitting an online review, you are representing to Barnes & that all information contained in your review is original and accurate in all respects, and that the submission of such content by you and the posting of such content by Barnes & does not and will not violate the rights of any third party. Please follow the rules below to help ensure that your review can be posted.

Reviews by Our Customers Under the Age of 13

We highly value and respect everyone's opinion concerning the titles we offer. However, we cannot allow persons under the age of 13 to have accounts at or to post customer reviews. Please see our Terms of Use for more details.

What to exclude from your review:

Please do not write about reviews, commentary, or information posted on the product page. If you see any errors in the information on the product page, please send us an email.

Reviews should not contain any of the following:

  • - HTML tags, profanity, obscenities, vulgarities, or comments that defame anyone
  • - Time-sensitive information such as tour dates, signings, lectures, etc.
  • - Single-word reviews. Other people will read your review to discover why you liked or didn't like the title. Be descriptive.
  • - Comments focusing on the author or that may ruin the ending for others
  • - Phone numbers, addresses, URLs
  • - Pricing and availability information or alternative ordering information
  • - Advertisements or commercial solicitation


  • - By submitting a review, you grant to Barnes & and its sublicensees the royalty-free, perpetual, irrevocable right and license to use the review in accordance with the Barnes & Terms of Use.
  • - Barnes & reserves the right not to post any review -- particularly those that do not follow the terms and conditions of these Rules. Barnes & also reserves the right to remove any review at any time without notice.
  • - See Terms of Use for other conditions and disclaimers.
Search for Products You'd Like to Recommend

Recommend other products that relate to your review. Just search for them below and share!

Create a Pen Name

Your Pen Name is your unique identity on It will appear on the reviews you write and other website activities. Your Pen Name cannot be edited, changed or deleted once submitted.

Your Pen Name can be any combination of alphanumeric characters (plus - and _), and must be at least two characters long.

Continue Anonymously

    If you find inappropriate content, please report it to Barnes & Noble
    Why is this product inappropriate?
    Comments (optional)