The Literary Theory Toolkit: A Compendium of Concepts and Methods / Edition 1

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The Literary Theory Toolkit offers readers a rich compendium of key terms, concepts, and arguments necessary for the study of literature in a critical-theoretical context.

  • Includes varied examples drawn from readily available literary texts spanning all periods and genres
  • Features a chapter on performance, something not usually covered in similar texts
  • Covers differing theories of the public sphere, ideology, power, and the social relations necessary for the understanding of approaches to literature
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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
"Rapaport (Wake Forest Univ.) calls this clearly written book "a compendium of major issues and developments in literary criticism and theory" and "a companion to major issues in literary criticism and theory that can be read linearly in terms of units or areas. . . Highly recommended. Upper-division undergraduates and above." (Choice, 1 October 2011)

"The methods are nicely illustrated in a diverse selection of example texts." (Book New, 1 August 2011) 

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781405170482
  • Publisher: Wiley
  • Publication date: 5/17/2011
  • Edition number: 1
  • Pages: 312
  • Product dimensions: 6.20 (w) x 9.10 (h) x 0.90 (d)

Meet the Author

Herman Rapaport is Reynolds Professor of English, Wake Forest University, North Carolina, USA. He has published several books on aspects of Jacques Derrida's work and is currently doing research in the Derrida archives for a forthcoming project Archival Derrida.

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Table of Contents



Chapter 1: Introductory Tools for Literary Analysis.

1.1. Basics of Literary Study.

1.2. Common Critical Practices.

1.3. Literary Language.

1.4. Hermeneutics.

1.5. Major 20th Century Schools of Critical Analysis.

1.6. Socio-Political Analyses.

Chapter 2: Tools for Reading Narrative.

2.1. Story and Plot: Fabula and Syuzhet.

2.2. Order.

2.3. Mimesis/Diegesis.

2.4. Free Indirect Discourse.

2.5. Interior Monologue.

2.6. Diachronic and Synchronic.

2.7. Intertextuality.

2.8. Dialogism.

2.9. Chronotope.

2.10. Character Zone.

2.11. Focalization.

2.12. Narrative Codes.

Chapter 3: Tools for Reading Poetry.

3.1. Tropes.

3.2. Elision.

3.3. Resemblance.

3.4. Objective Correlative.

3.5. Language Poetry.

3.6. The New Sentence.

3.7. Sound Poetry/Concrete Poetry.

3.8. Prosody.

Chapter 4: Tools for Analyzing Performance.

4.1. Performance Studies.

4.2. Realist Theatre: Total Acting.

4.3. Konstantin Stanislavski.

4.4. Lee Strasberg (The Method), David Mamet (Practical Aesthetics), Mary Overlie (The Six Viewpoints Approach).

4.5. Epic Theatre.

4.6. Theater of Cruelty.

4.7. Actions.

4.8. Play.

4.9. Happenings.

4.10. Performance Art.

4.11. Guerrila Theatre.

Chapter 5: Tools for Reading Texts as Systems.

5.1. Aristotle and Form.

5.2. The Literary Work as Object of Rational Empiricism.

5.3. Saussurean Linguistics.

5.4. Levi-Strauss and Structuralism.

5.5. Roman Jakobson’s Communication Model.

5.6. Roland Barthes’ Hierarchical Structures.

5.7. Ideality and Phenomenology of the Literary Object: Husserl and Derrida.

5.8. Dissemination.

5.9. Structure as Rhizome: Deleuze and Guattari.

5.10. Permutation.

5.11. Undecidability: Derrida, Gödel, Lacan.

5.12. Simulating Systems: Baudrillard.

5.13. Multiplicity: Badiou.

Chapter 6: Tools for Social Analysis.

6.1. The Public Sphere.

6.2. Ideology.

6.3. Theories of Power.

6.4. The Social Relation.


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  • Posted April 11, 2012

    more from this reviewer

    Collegial Text -- Very Good!

    I have not read, reviewed, or used the Herman Rapaport textbook before a Teaching Sophomore Literature class at Texas A & M in Commerce.The Literary Theory Toolkit is a book I will keep and add to my professional library. I like how the textbook is organized; after the introduction, the author includes specific portions of the book to narratives, poetry, and then performance literature. My AP Literature syllabus that is approved by the College Board and has 4 quarters of instruction – narratives, poetry, and then drama. We finish the year with a review of the specific genres and prepare for the AP test. The book goes well with what I do. I specifically like the use of literary references to illustrate the points. The academic vocabulary is a challenge, but it provides us with the opportunity to learn – I have not used the word “syuzhet” before (as an example), but after reading the text, I now know that “syuzhet” is “the order of narrated events” – in class I could add this to our high school literary “word wall” – this may seem like a small thing to the doctoral students, but I teach high school, and this book is a valuable addition to my professional library. If some students did not like it, I would presume that it may be because the text will take the reader out of their comfort zone if they are not accustomed to Herman Rapaport and his writing style.

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