The bewildering variety of approaches, theorists and technical language is lucidly and expertly unravelled. Unlike many books which assume certain positions about the critics and the theories they represent, Peter Barry allows readers to develop their own ideas once first principles and concepts have been grasped.
The book has been updated and includes two new chapters, one of which (Literary theory – a history in ten events) innovatively surveys the course of theory, while the other (Theory after ‘Theory’) maps the arrival of new ‘isms’ since the second edition appeared in 2002.
Chapters include: Liberal humanism – Structuralism – Post-structuralism and deconstruction – Postmodernism – Psychoanalytic criticism – Feminist criticism – Lesbian/gay criticism – Marxist criticism – New historicism and cultural materialism – Postcolonial criticism – Stylistics – Narratology – Ecocriticism – Presentism/ New aestheticism/Historical formalism/Cognitive poetics.
1. Theory before 'Theory' - Liberal humanism
3. Post-structuralism and deconstruction
5. Psychoanalytic criticism
6. Feminist criticism
7. Lesbian/gay criticism
8. Marxist criticism
9. New historicism and cultural materialism
10. Postcolonial criticism
14. Literary theory – a history in ten events
15. Theory after 'Theory'
Edgar Allan Poe: 'The Oval Portrait'
Dylan Thomas: 'A Refusal to Mourn'
William Cowper: 'The Castaway'
Where do we go from here: Further reading