Critical Theory Today: A User-friendly Guide

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Taylor & Francis, 2006 - Literary Criticism - 465 pages
8 Reviews
This new edition of the classic guide offers a thorough and accessible introduction to contemporary critical theory. It 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. This book can be used as the only text in a course or as a precursor to the study of primary theoretical works. It motivates readers by showing them what critical theory can offer in terms of their practical understanding of literary texts and in terms of their personal understanding of themselves and the world in which they live. Both engaging and rigorous, it is a "how-to" book for undergraduate and graduate students new to critical theory and for college professors who want to broaden their repertoire of critical approaches to literature.

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LibraryThing Review

User Review  - crimsonsonata - LibraryThing

Summary: Finally, a useful guide for the 11 critical theories most used to analyze literature today! This book explicitly details each critical theory from African American criticism down to reader ... Read full review

Review: Critical Theory Today: A User-Friendly Guide

User Review  - Nick - Goodreads

Not bad, but some explanations were painfully convoluted. It's interesting to see every critical approach exemplified using Great Gatsby to show the versatility of literary criticism, but because of ... Read full review


Chapter 1 Everything you wanted to know about critical theory but were afraid to ask
Chapter 2 Psychoanalytic criticism
Chapter 3 Marxist criticism
Chapter 4 Feminist criticism
Chapter 5 New Criticism
Chapter 6 Readerresponse criticism
Chapter 7 Structuralist criticism
Chapter 8 Deconstructive criticism
Chapter 9 New historical and cultural criticism
Chapter 10 Lesbian gay and queer criticism
Chapter 11 African American criticism
Chapter 12 Postcolonial criticism
Chapter 13 Gaining an overview
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About the author (2006)

Lois Tyson is a Professor of English at Grand Valley State University in Michigan, USA.

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