Structuralist poetics: structuralism, linguistics, and the study of literature

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Cornell University Press, 1977 - Education - 301 pages
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This book introduces a new way of studying literature by attempting to create a systematic account of the structure of literary works, rather than studying the meaning of the work. It offers an overview and appraisal of contributions to literary theory of French structuralism and post- structuralism. Culler's new preface answers some of the criticisms leveled at his approach and details how it is still as relevant today as when it was first published.

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User Review  - stillatim - LibraryThing

Culler makes a great case for what we can learn from structuralism (how to avoid the 'unseemly rush from word to world'), and, perhaps more importantly right now, what we can't (positivism on the one hand, and relativism on the other). Can't wait to read his book on deconstruction. Read full review

Contents

Two Examples
32
Jakobsons Poetic Analyses
61
Greimas and Structural Semantics
75
Copyright

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About the author (1977)

Professor of English and Comparative Literature at Cornell University, Culler has played an important role in the dissemination of structuralist and poststructuralist theory in the U.S. academy. His Structuralist Poetics (1975) was one of the first books to survey the new continental theory, and it included a bibliography with all the English translations of that work then available. As the title suggests, Culler's book concentrates on structuralist literary analysis, explicating in particular what various continental critics had to say about the "deep structures" or codes governing literary production as a mode of discourse with an apparent radical diversity of texts and "surface structures." He also covers some of the background to structuralist literary theory. Interestingly, Culler also develops in this book a theory of reading that is not quite structuralist, although it does make use of a structuralist vocabulary and some structuralist ideas. The Pursuit of Signs (1981) is, the second in his trilogy of introductions to this theory. It offers explanations of poststructuralist theory, which is as much a response to as a development of structuralist theory, whose premises it frequently rejects. Just one year later, Culler published a supplement to this volume, On Deconstruction (1982), devoted not only to the work of Derrida but also to the work of American deconstructionists, who were sometimes elaborating deconstruction in more obviously political directions; for example, by generating feminist deconstructive analyses. Culler has continued to interpret Continental theory and theorists for U.S. audiences in his more recent publications. A prolific author, he has also published books about nineteenth-century French literature and culture, the field in which he did his graduate work, and books or essays on a range of other topics which he addresses from the perspective of poststructuralist theory, including puns, tourism, and trash.

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