Get this from a library! Literary theory: a very short introduction. [Jonathan D Culler]. Literary Theory: A Very Short Introduction. 'Jonathan Culler has always been about the best person around at explaining literary theory without oversimplifying it. In fact, what is literature, and does it matter?These are some of questions addressed by Jonathan Culler in this Very Short Introduction to literary theory.
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Read "Literary Theory: A Very Short Introduction" by Jonathan Culler available from Rakuten Kobo. Sign up today and get $5 off your first download. What is. Editorial Reviews. Review. Review from previous edition: "It is impossible to imagine a clearer site Edition. by Jonathan Culler (Author) .. Download. webtiekittcenve.cf: Literary Theory: A Very Short Introduction (Very Short Introductions ) eBook: Jonathan Culler: site Store.
Why is it worth studying any more than soap opera? So the idea is that these various often French theorists, who were writing about all kinds of issues, psychotherapy, semiology, linguistics, sexuality, prisons, Aids, wrestlers, whatever, began to be used to create a new trendy edgy academic subject called Cultural Studies which sprang up in the s and took hold in universities in the s.
Like Steerpike in the castle of Gormenghast, cultural studies decided it was the right discipline to rule the liberal arts and so began to make a subtle, insidious take-over of the English departments, by smuggling cultural-studies ideas into the curriculum, where their ivy tendrils grew wildly and began to choke the host.
Pity the appalled English professor as sturdy vines of Derrida begin to twine round his calves. The idea of studying literature is not old. The faculty of English literature at Oxford University was only established in There is a theory, to which I subscribe, that literature, at that time, had become imbued with a special significance.
They figured these values were to be found in literature.
Liberal humanist values could be celebrated and transmitted to the generations through the study of the best writers. A national literature helped to form a national consciousness and a set of values which could then be broadcast to the subjects of the Empire. Terry Eagleton summed this line of thinking up by saying that this was throwing a few novels to the workers to stop them throwing up a few barricades.
So this is the giant enterprise that the theorists have come to interrogate. And they treat it like the scene of a crime.
Theorist Sarah Lund : So, we have the results from the laboratory. Theorist Jan Meyer : Did you get all of it?
He defines Theory as an interdisciplinary body of work including structuralist linguistics , anthropology , Marxism , semiotics , psychoanalysis , and literary criticism. His Theory of the Lyric approaches the Western lyric tradition, from Sappho to Ashbery, exploring the major parameters of the genre and contesting two dominant models of the lyric: lyric as the intense expression of the author's affective experience, and lyric as the fictional representation of the speech act of a persona.
Both these models, according to Culler, are extremely limiting and ignore what is most distinctive and exciting about lyric poems.
Contributions to critical theory[ edit ] Culler believes that the linguistic-structuralist model can help "formulate the rules of particular systems of convention rather than simply affirm their existence.
In Structuralist Poetics Culler warns against applying the technique of linguistics directly to literature.
Rather, the "'grammar' of literature" is converted into literary structures and meaning. Structuralism is defined as a theory resting on the realization that if human actions or productions have meaning there must be an underlying system that makes this meaning possible, since an utterance has meaning only in the context of a preexistent system of rules and conventions. Culler proposes that we use literary theory not to try to understand a text but rather to investigate the activity of interpretation.
In several of his works, he speaks of a reader who is particularly "competent. He suggests there are two classes of readers, "the readers as field of experience for the critic himself a reader " and the future readers who will benefit from the work the critic and previous readers have done.
Culler's critics complain of his lack of distinction between literature and the institution of writing in general. John R. Searle has described Culler's presentation of deconstruction as making " Derrida look both better and worse than he really is;" better in glossing over some of the more intellectually murky aspects of deconstruction and worse in largely ignoring the major philosophical progenitors of Derrida's thought, namely Husserl and Heidegger.
You can go and check again. There was a lot of it. We had to get a truck.
Meyer : So what do they say? Meyer: Was anything left after all these tests?
Lund : The Little Prince. That one was okay.
Some of these theorists as usual like to come up with jawbreaking neologisms like the hyper-protected cooperative principle p26 - actually, they all do, — and some of these ideas are fairly straightforward when you get hold of them, e.
The idea is that novels are actually about other previous novels, films are about other films and the act of film-making, poems are about poetry and poems. At first this does sound like one of those awful critical life-denying ideas — what?
Novels are about novels?
But I want them to be about life, love, politics, the world, stuff! Not other bloody novels! But you know, as well as being about stuff, novels etc are about — i. So yes, intertextuality is TRUE.Meyer: What, all of Western literature?
It took all Wednesday and most of Thursday.
Literary theory : a very short introduction
So the idea is that these various often French theorists, who were writing about all kinds of issues, psychotherapy, semiology, linguistics, sexuality, prisons, Aids, wrestlers, whatever, began to be used to create a new trendy edgy academic subject called Cultural Studies which sprang up in the s and took hold in universities in the s.
A national literature helped to form a national consciousness and a set of values which could then be broadcast to the subjects of the Empire. So this is the giant enterprise that the theorists have come to interrogate.
This lucid introduction is useful for anyone who has wondered what all the fuss is about or who wants to think about literature today.
That one was okay.
Related Links. Like Steerpike in the castle of Gormenghast, cultural studies decided it was the right discipline to rule the liberal arts and so began to make a subtle, insidious take-over of the English departments, by smuggling cultural-studies ideas into the curriculum, where their ivy tendrils grew wildly and began to choke the host.
Culler's "expanded, reorganized and rewritten" doctoral dissertation, "Structuralism: The Development of Linguistic Models and Their Application to Literary Studies," became an influential prize-winning book, Structuralist Poetics