How to Read Literature

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Yale University Press, May 21, 2013 - Literary Criticism - 216 pages
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What makes a work of literature good or bad? How freely can the reader interpret it? Could a nursery rhyme like Baa Baa Black Sheep be full of concealed loathing, resentment, and aggression? In this accessible, delightfully entertaining book, Terry Eagleton addresses these intriguing questions and a host of others. How to Read Literature is the book of choice for students new to the study of literature and for all other readers interested in deepening their understanding and enriching their reading experience.

In a series of brilliant analyses, Eagleton shows how to read with due attention to tone, rhythm, texture, syntax, allusion, ambiguity, and other formal aspects of literary works. He also examines broader questions of character, plot, narrative, the creative imagination, the meaning of fictionality, and the tension between what works of literature say and what they show. Unfailingly authoritative and cheerfully opinionated, the author provides useful commentaries on classicism, Romanticism, modernism, and postmodernism along with spellbinding insights into a huge range of authors, from Shakespeare and J. K. Rowling to Jane Austen and Samuel Beckett.

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User Review  - GeoffSC - LibraryThing

Not the sort of book I would normally read but it has given me just what I wanted in a lively interesting fashion. I am aware, and I want to read more literary books. One of my favourite authors ... Read full review

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User Review  - lostinalibrary - LibraryThing

Anyone who has ever taken an introductory literature course has had to wade through tomes on how to read literature. Most of these would-be scholars have probably found the books helpful, educational ... Read full review

Contents

Character
45
Narrative
80
Interpretation
117
Value
175
Index
207
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About the author (2013)

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Terry Eagleton is Distinguished Professor of Literature, University of Lancaster, UK. One of the most influential literary critics in the English-speaking world, he is the author of more than 40 books on literary theory, postmodernism, politics, ideology, and religion, among them his best-selling Literary Theory: An Introduction. He lives in Northern Ireland, UK.

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