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Literary Theory & Cultural Studies



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Jacob's Room

Second Edition


Virgina Woolf, Urmila Seshagiri

June 2022

Oxford World's Classics

Jacob's Room is Virginia Woolf's first truly experimental novel. It is a portrait of a young man, who is both representative and victim of the social values which led Edwardian society into war.

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James Joyce: A Very Short Introduction


Colin MacCabe

October 2021

Very Short Introductions

James Joyce was one of the most influential writers of the twentieth century. This book explores his novels and short stories, and analyses the literary traditions and social factors influencing his distinctive complex style. Interweaving Joyce's life and history with his books, it also shows how Joyce celebrated his own experiences in Dublin.

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On Essays: Montaigne to the Present


Thomas Karshan, Kathryn Murphy

September 2021

Sets out in a new and authoritative way the history of the essay; explains how the essay has come to mean what it does, surveys the widely various incarnations of the form, offers new accounts of major essayists in English, and traces a wide range of significant themes.

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Horror: A Very Short Introduction


Darryl Jones

June 2021

Very Short Introductions

Fear is one of the most primal emotions, and one of the hardest to reason with and dispel. So why do we scare ourselves? Delving into the darkest corners of horror literature, films, and plays, Darryl Jones explores its monsters and its psychological chills, discussing why horror stories disturb us, and how they reflect society's taboos.

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Major Cultural Essays


George Bernard Shaw, David Kornhaber

June 2021

Oxford World's Classics

George Bernard Shaw's Major Cultural Essays introduces readers to the wealth and diversity of Shaw's cultural writings from across the breadth of his professional life, beginning around 1890 and ending in 1950.

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Major Political Writings


George Bernard Shaw, Elizabeth Carolyn Miller

February 2021

Oxford World's Classics

A new collection of Shaw's major political writings which reflect on his long career and influential role as a public intellectual. These essays reveal significant shifts in his positions and beliefs from the Victorian era to the aftermath of World War II.

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Postcolonialism: A Very Short Introduction

Second Edition


Robert J. C. Young

October 2020

Very Short Introductions

Since the 1960s, many people around the world have challenged the idea that western perspectives are the only ones that count. This book examines the history of that challenge, outlining the ideas behind it, and showing the ways in which the histories and the cultures of the world can be rethought in new, different and productive directions.

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George Bernard Shaw: A Very Short Introduction


Christopher Wixson

September 2020

Very Short Introductions

Christopher Wixson introduces George Bernard Shaw, the greatest playwright in English after Shakespeare. Taking a chronological approach through his works, he provides an overview of Shaw's sensibility as a writer, and studies the creative evolution of core themes and styles throughout his long career.

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Émile Zola: A Very Short Introduction


Brian Nelson

July 2020

Very Short Introductions

Émile Zola occupies a distinctive place in the great tradition of French realist fiction. Brian Nelson introduces this quintessential novelist of modernity, and explores his fascination with change, and the way he opened the novel up to new areas of representation: the realities of working-class life, class relations, and sexuality and the body.

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Genetics and the Literary Imagination


Clare Hanson

May 2020

Oxford Textual Perspectives

Studying works by Doris Lessing, Ian McEwan, A.S. Byatt, Kazuo Ishiguro, and Jackie Kay, this book explores the impact on literature of the gene-centric model of human nature that entered mainstream culture in the wake of the discovery of the structure of DNA.

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Leo Tolstoy: A Very Short Introduction


Liza Knapp

May 2019

Very Short Introductions

Leo Tolstoy is one of the greatest novelists ever to have lived, whose books have stood the test of time to remain widely recognised as literary masterpieces today. This Very Short Introduction explores his celebrated novels and nonfiction writings to reveal the core themes and thought at the heart of Tolstoy's work.

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C. S. Lewis: A Very Short Introduction


James Como

January 2019

Very Short Introductions

The writings of C.S. Lewis have a universal appeal. His Chronicles of Narnia are by far the best known, but he was also a prolific literary scholar, essayist, broadcaster, novelist, poet, and Christian apologist. Following the chronology of Lewis's life, James Como draws out the core themes of his writings, showing how his ideas evolved.

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Autobiography: A Very Short Introduction


Laura Marcus

July 2018

Very Short Introductions

Autobiography is one of the most popular of written forms. Laura Marcus defines what autobiographies are, considering their relationship with similar literary forms, and analysing the core themes in autobiographical writing. She also discusses how autobiography offers the most fundamental accounts of what it means to be a self in the world.

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Comparative Literature: A Very Short Introduction


Ben Hutchinson

March 2018

Very Short Introductions

Considering literature comparatively can help readers realize how much can be learned by looking beyond the horizon of their own cultures, discovering not only more about other literatures, but also about their own. Ben Hutchinson offers a history of comparative literature, placing it at the heart of literary criticism.

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Charles Dickens: An Introduction


Jenny Hartley

October 2016

Jenny Hartley introduces Charles Dickens's life and works, looking at the vitality of his characters and the energy which surges through his writing. Examining the themes running through his books, she considers the institutions which influenced his work (such as the workhouse) and looks at his critique of nineteenth century society.

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Once Upon a Time: A Short History of Fairy Tale


Marina Warner

July 2016

In ten succinct chapters, Marina Warner guides us through the rich world of fairy tale, from Cinderella and Hansel and Gretel to Snow White and Pan's Labyrinth. Exploring pervasive themes of folklore, myth, the supernatural, imagination, and fantasy, Warner highlights the impact of the genre on human understanding, history, and culture.

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The Hebrew Bible as Literature: A Very Short Introduction


Tod Linafelt

March 2016

Very Short Introductions

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Crime Fiction: A Very Short Introduction


Richard Bradford

May 2015

Very Short Introductions

Since the mid-19th century crime fiction has been one of the most popular sub-genres of the novel. In this Very Short Introduction, Richard Bradford explores its origins and the features that define its varied style. He considers its role in popular culture around the world and considers why its classification as 'literature' is still ambiguous.

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The Oxford Dictionary of Literary Terms

Fourth Edition


Chris Baldick

May 2015

Oxford Quick Reference

The Oxford Dictionary of Literary Terms provides clear and concise definitions of even the most complex literary terms from abjection to zeugma. An essential reference tool for students of literature in any language. Recommended web links are available via a companion website.

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Dante: A Very Short Introduction


Peter Hainsworth, David Robey

February 2015

Very Short Introductions

This Very Short Introduction examines all the major aspects of Dante's work, emphasizing the features that have made him such an important point of reference for modern writers and their readers. Exploring and explaining The Divine Comedy, they also discuss his life and poetry as well as issues of truth, humanity, politics, and religion.

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