Now in its fifth edition, A Handbook of Critical Approaches to Literature has become both a standard introduction to the close reading of literature and an invaluable resource for English graduate students. It offers students and other readers a variety of ways to interpret a piece of literature, ranging from historical/biographical and moral/philosophical approaches through the formalist, the psychological, the mythic and archetypal, and into such contemporary perspectives as feminist criticism and cultural studies. The book applies these diverse approaches to the same six classic works--"To His Coy Mistress," Hamlet, Huckleberry Finn, "Young Goodman Brown," "Everyday Use," and, new to this edition, Frankenstein--showing students how various methods offer different insights and enriching their response to and understanding of the individual works. The fifth edition is enhanced by the addition of Frankenstein, a complex work that lends itself to multiple levels of interpretation and is familiar in both its cinematic and literary forms. The coverage of Frankenstein incorporates material on popular culture--discussions of various fiction, stage, film, and television appearances of the work--as well as several photographs. This edition also features organizational and content changes that bring the volume up-to-date with contemporary literary criticism. Offering a valuable combination of theory and practice, A Handbook of Critical Approaches to Literature, Fifth Edition, is ideal for courses in literary criticism or theory and can also be used in introduction to literature courses.
Critical Theory Today is the essential introduction to contemporary criticial theory. It provides clear, simple explanations and concrete examples of complex concepts, making a wide variety of commonly used critical theories accessible to novices without sacrificing any theoretical rigor or thoroughness. This new edition provides in-depth coverage of the most common approaches to literary analysis today: feminism, psychoanalysis, Marxism, reader-response theory, new criticism, structuralism and semiotics, deconstruction, new historicism, cultural criticism, lesbian/gay/queer theory, African American criticism, and postcolonial criticism. The chapters provide an extended explanation of each theory, using examples from everyday life, popular culture, and literary texts; a list of specific questions critics who use that theory ask about literary texts; an interpretation of F. Scott Fitzgerald's The Great Gatsby through the lens of each theory; a list of questions for further practice to guide readers in applying each theory to different literary works; and a bibliography of primary and secondary works for further reading.
Purdue University's OWL site on Literary Theory A very basic way of thinking about literary theory is that these ideas act as different lenses critics use to view and talk about art, literature, and even culture. These different lenses allow critics to consider works of art based on certain assumptions within that school of theory. The different lenses also allow critics to focus on particular aspects of a work they consider important.
A well-organized guide to scholarly Web resources in the Humanities - note two entries: Literature (in English) and Literatures (Other Than English). Developed and maintained by Alan Liu and others in the English Department of the University of California, Santa Barbara.