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Literature in the Modern World

Critical Essays and Documents

Second Edition

Edited by Dennis Walder

23 October 2003

ISBN: 9780199253012

552 pages

In Stock

Price: £43.49



This text offers a unique combination of British, European, American and Post-Colonial perspectives on literary study from the 1920s to the present day. Carefully introduced and arranged to highlight the development of debates, it is designed to engage newcomers to the field with some of the main themes and issues that will concern them as readers of modern literary texts of all genres.

In the second edition, there is an increased focus on questions of gender and identity and on recent debates, such as 'Literature and Nation' and 'Literature and Value'. The reach and relevance of the book has been extended, taking a more international voice, focusing on American and European writers and critics.

  • Now includes fifty-nine extracts in total, more than any competing text.
  • Brings together texts that cannot normally be found together in one volume by combining critical material with essays on writing by well-known authors such as Salman Rushdie and Toni Morrison.
  • The book is introduced and arranged to encourage students to gain an understanding of where the current debates on literary theory come from.
  • Brings together a wide variety of critical-theoretical fields and issues, including hermeneutics, new historicism, gender,post-colonial and feminist theory.

New to this edition

  • Completely updated to focus more on gender and identity and on recent debates such as 'Literature and Nation' and Literature and Value'.
  • The relevance of the book has been extended, including more writers and critics from outside Europe.
  • New general introduction and revised introductions to each section.
  • More than 20 new extracts reflect the most current topics in the discipline.

About the Author(s)

Edited by Dennis Walder, Professor in Literature at the Open University

Table of Contents

    General Introduction
    Part One: General Approaches
    I Questioning the Canon
    1:Repossessing the Past: The Case for an Open Literary History, Marylin Butler
    2:Canon and Period, Frank Kermode
    3:Literature and the Rise of English, Terry Eagleton
    4:Women Poets, Sandra Gilbert and Susan Gubar
    5:Literary Theory and the Black Tradition, Henry Louis Gates, Jnr.
    II Interpretation
    1:The Babel of Interpretations, E. D. Hirsch, Jnr.
    2:Interpreting the Variorium, Stanley Fish
    3:Who Cares About the Text?, Robert Scholes
    4:Literary History as a Challenge to Literary Theory, Hans Robert Jauss
    5:The Interpreter's Freud, Geoffrey Hartman
    III Commitment
    1:To Cambridge Women, Virginia Woolf
    2:Writing, Reading, and the Public, Jean-Paul Sartre
    3:Commitment, Theodor Adorno
    4:Right and Wrong Political Uses of Literature, Italo Calvino
    Part Two: Themes and Issues
    I Form and Genre
    1:Story and Narrative, Seymour Chatman
    2:Semiotics of Theatrical Performance, Umberto Eco
    3:The Signs of Drama, Martin Esslin
    Close Reading, John Barrell
    II Modernisms
    1:Remarks on Poetry, Paul Valery
    2:Order in Narrative, Gerard Genette
    3:Towards a Semiotics of Literature, Robert Scholes
    4:The Ideology of Modernism, George Lukacs
    5:Modernism and the Metropolis, Raymond Williams
    6:Gender and Modernism, Bonnie Kime Scott
    III Literature and Nation
    1:Beyond a Boundary, C. L. R. James
    2:Woman and Nationalism, Virginia Woolf
    3:The Intimate Enemy, Ashis Nandy
    4:The National Longing for Form, Timothy Brennan
    5:Imaginary Homelands, Salman Rushdie
    IV Literature and Ideology
    1:A Short Organum for the Theatre, Bertolt Brecht
    2:Marxist Criticism, Terry Eagleton
    3:The Text Says What It Does Not Say, Pierre Macherey
    4:The Death of the Author, Roland Barthes
    5:What is an Author?, Michel Foucault
    V Literature and Gender
    1:Woman and the Other, Simone de Beauvoir
    2:Language and Gender, Cora Kaplan
    3:Laugh of the Medusa, Helene Cixous
    4:Rootedness: The Ancestor as Foundation, Toni Morrison
    5:Introduction to Between Men, Eve Kosovsky Sedgewick
    6:Subjects of Sex/Gender/Desire, Judith Butler
    VI End of Empire
    1:The Discourse of the Orient, Edward Said
    2:Englands of the Mind, Seamus Heaney
    3:Behind the Cliches of Contemporary Theatre, John McGrath
    4:From the Victorian Nyanza to the Sheraton San Salvador, Mary Louise Pratt
    VII From Commonwealth to Post-Colonial
    1:On National Culture, Frantz Fanon
    2:Colonialist Criticism, Chinua Achebe
    3:History of the Voice, Kamau Brathwaite
    4:Post-Colonial Reconstruction, Bill Ashcroft, Gareth Griffiths, and Helen Tiffin
    5:The Angel of Progress, Anne McClintock
    6:When Was The Post-Colonial?, Stuart Hall
    VIII Literature and History
    1:Theses on the Philosophy of History, Walter Benjamin
    2:History and Fiction, Laurence Lerner
    3:Introduction to Metahistory, Hayden White
    4:The Text, the Poem, and the Problem of Historical Method, Jerome McGann
    5:The Keening Muse, Joseph Brodsky
    6:The Hollow Miracle, George Steiner
    7:Literary History and Literary Modernity, Paul de Man
    IX Literature and Value
    1:What is a Classic, T. S. Eliot
    2:The Exile of Evaluation, Barbara Hernstein Smith

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