About the Book

“With its thorough updating of cultural and literary references for today’s readers, the 6th edition is poised to influence a new generation of college students. Of particular value are the demonstrations of critical approaches in practice; by interpreting the same set of literary texts though each critical approach, students can easily grasp the distinctions among a rich and varied set of interpretive strategies.”—Keith Newlin, University of North Carolina, Wilmington.

An essential guide to the most useful critical approaches to literature—applied to the same six classic works.

Ranging from traditional approaches through such contemporary perspectives as feminist and gender studies, cultural studies, and postcolonial studies, A Handbook of Critical Approaches offers readers a variety of ways to interpret a piece of literature. This sixth edition applies these diverse approaches to the same six classic works— “To His Coy Mistress, ” “Young Goodman Brown, ” “Everyday Use,” Hamlet, Huckleberry Finn, and Frankenstein—showing readers how various methods offer different insights and enriching their response to and understanding of the individual works. (Andrew Marvell’s poem “To His Coy Mistress, ” Nathaniel Hawthorne’s story “Young Goodman Brown, ” and Alice Walker’s story “Everyday Use” are included in full within the volume.)

New to this edition:

Three new chapters—Materialisms (Chapter 4), Literature and Linguistics (Chapter 5), and Postcolonial Studies (Chapter 10)—present some of the latest theory and criticism, including ecocriticism, Literary Darwinism, third-wave feminism, and black maternal theory

Expanded discussions of film and visual texts link analysis of images—such as Velázquez’s Las Meniñas and Picasso’s interpretations of this painting—to analysis of literature

Summaries of key points at chapter ends reinforce concepts

A glossary of literary terms (boldfaced at their first appearance) helps students master and apply these terms in criticism

Updated Quick Reference sections at chapter ends and a new bibliography at the end of the book reflect the latest research

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