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Literary Criticism and Theory

From Plato to Postcolonialism

By Pelagia Goulimari

Routledge – 2015 – 378 pages

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    978-0-415-54432-0
    September 8th 2014
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Description

This incredibly useful volume offers an introduction to the history of literary criticism and theory from classical antiquity to the present. It is almost impossible to read or study literature without acknowledging its relationship to criticism and this guide shows how the two have been inextricable since Plato.

Introducing theory and criticism through the texts themselves, Pelagia Goulimari examines:

  • a variety of key thinkers from Plato and Aristotle through to Foucault and Derrida
  • topics and themes in the history of literary criticism such as mimesis and creation, inspiration, the emotions, reason, aesthetic, history, morality, ethics, culture and discourse
  • the main genres and movements in the history of literature including the epic, tragedy, comedy, romanticism, realism, modernism and postmodernism
  • cross-historical connections between theories and theorists and the dissemination, appropriation and creative misunderstanding of concepts, ideas and arguments.

With handy features such as a glossary, annotated further reading, descriptive text boxes and instructive marginalia this book is the ideal introduction to anyone approaching theory and criticism for the first time.

Reviews

"Pelagia Goulimari sets a new standard for reading theory in context, introducing and summarizing theories and theorists without being reductive, contextualizing the broad intellectual and aesthetic movements from which theory emerges, while constantly keeping the focus on deep literary critical understanding. The critical readings are wonderfully fresh and insightful, with constant illumination of the theory through reference to literary authors such as Beckett, Woolf, and Morrison. This truly is a fresh and lively reading of the theoretical scene, offering inspirational insight for beginners and more experienced critics alike." Richard Lane, Vancouver Island University, Canada

"Incredibly useful, and a miracle of concision. A one volume account of over 2500 years of literary criticism that manages to be both informative and readable. I will recommend it to all my students." John McGowan, University of North Carolina, USA, co-editor of the Norton Anthology of Theory and Criticism

"Amongst the many texts seeking to introduce readers to literary theory, Pelagia Goulimari’s Literary Criticism and Theory stands out for its careful and patient reading of critical texts, admirably weaving together older and more recent traditions in a way that helps make coherent sense of the lines of filiation that run through Western and postcolonial understandings of the literary." John Frow, University of Sydney, AUS

Contents

Introduction 1. Mimēsis: Plato and the poet 2. Aristotle and tragedy: from Poetics to postcolonial tragedy 3. Medieval and Renaissance criticism: from mimesis to creation 4. The Enlightenment and Romanticism: reason and imagination 5. Modernity, multiplicity and becoming 6. Freud and psychoanalytic criticism: the self in fragments 7. Defamiliarization, alienation, dialogism and montage 8. Decentering modernisms: newness, tradition, culture and society 9. Twentieth-Century North American criticism: close reading to interpretation, modernism to postmodernism, History to histories 10. Poetry & hermeneutics, critique & dissonant composition, freedom & situation 11. From structuralism to poststructuralism: text, power, minor literature, deconstruction 12. Poststructuralist deviations: mimicry, resignification, contrapuntal reading, the subaltern, Signifyin(g), hybridity. Index

Author Bio

Pelagia Goulimari is a member of the English Faculty of the University of Oxford, where she lectures on literary theory, and a former convenor of Oxford’s graduate programme in Women’s Studies. She is general editor of Angelaki: Journal of the Theoretical Humanities. Her publications include Postmodernism: What Moment? (2007) and Toni Morrison (2009).

Name: Literary Criticism and Theory: From Plato to Postcolonialism (Paperback)Routledge 
Description: By Pelagia Goulimari. This incredibly useful volume offers an introduction to the history of literary criticism and theory from classical antiquity to the present. It is almost impossible to read or study literature without acknowledging its relationship to criticism and this...
Categories: Literary/Critical Theory, Literary History, Critical Concepts