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Literary Theory and Criticism

An Oxford Guide

Edited by Patricia Waugh

Publication Date - March 2006

ISBN: 9780199258369

618 pages

In Stock

Retail Price to Students: $109.99


This volume offers a comprehensive account of modern literary criticism, presenting the field as part of an ongoing historical and intellectual tradition. Featuring thirty-nine specially commissioned chapters from an international team of esteemed contributors, it fills a large gap in the market by combining the accessibility of single-authored selections with a wide range of critical perspectives. The volume is divided into four parts. Part One covers the key philosophical and aesthetic origins of literary theory, while Part Two discusses the foundational movements and thinkers in the first half of the twentieth century. Part Three offers introductory overviews of the most important movements and thinkers in modern literary theory, and Part Four looks at emergent trends and future directions.


  • Fills a large gap in the market by combining the accessibility of single-authored narratives with a much broader range of critical perspectives.
  • Offers a comprehensive account of the major movements and thinkers in modern literary criticism.
  • Presents modern theory and criticism as part of an ongoing historical and intellectual tradition.
  • Part Four offers suggestions and evaluations of possible future directions and debates.

About the Author(s)

Patricia Waugh has published extensively in the field of modern fiction and criticism. She is the author of The Harvest of the Sixties: English Literature and its Backgrounds (1995) and Revolutions of the Word: Intellectual Contexts for the Study of Modern Literature (1997). She has also edited a number of collections and anthologies of modern literary theory and postmodernism, most recently The Arts and Sciences of Criticism (with David Fuller).

Table of Contents

    Part 1. Philosophical and Aesthetic Origins
    1. Literature and the Problem of Representation, Andrea Nightingale
    2. Canons and Values, Patricia Waugh
    3. The Romantic Author, Andrew Bennett
    4. Hermeneutics, Timothy Clark
    Part 2. Twentieth Century Critics and Criticism
    5. Literature and the Academy, Chris Baldick
    6. T.S. Eliot and the Idea of Tradition, Gareth Reeves
    7. F.R. Leavis, Scrutiny and the Idea of Mass Society, Gary Day
    8. Literature and Myth, Michael Ball
    9. Freud and Psychoanalysis, Celine Surprenant
    10. Virginia Woolf, Laura Marcus
    11. Adorno and the Frankfurt School, Andrew Bowie
    12. Marxist Aesthetics, Tony Davies
    13. Cultural Studies after Leavis, Glenn Jordan
    14. Practical Criticism in England, Ann Banfield
    15. The New Criticism, Stephen Matterson
    16. William Empson and Ambiguity, David Fuller
    17. The Russian Debate on Narrative, Gary Saul Morson
    18. The Intentional Fallacy, Peter Lamarque
    19. Rhetoric, reading and intellectual history, Faiza Shereen
    20. Bakhtin and the ideal of a dialogue poetics, Lynne Pearce
    21. Linguistic Criticism, Chris Kennedy
    Part 3. Modern Literary Theory
    22. Structuralism and Narratology, Susana Onega
    23. Deconstruction, Alex Thomson
    24. Feminisms, Fiona Tolan
    25. Sexual Identities, Tony Purvis
    26. Reconstructing History, P. W. A. Hamilton
    27. Postcolonialism, Elleke Boehmer
    28. Race, Nation and Ethnicity, Kathy Kerr
    29. Psychoanalysis, Josiane Paacaud-Huguet
    30. Postmodernism, Chris Snipp-Warmsley
    Part 4. Future Directions
    31. Environmentalism and Eco-Criticism, Richard Kerridge
    32. Cognitive Literary Criticism, Alan Richardson
    33. Criticism and Science Wars, Christopher Norris
    34. Theories of the Gaze, Jeremy Hawthorn
    35. Mixing Memory and Desire, Roger Luckhurst
    36. Criticism and Authorial Experience, Sean Burke
    37. Foreign Bodies and Border-Guards, David Punter
    38. The Writing of Excess, Scott Wilson
    39. Performing Literacy Interpretation, Ken Newton