What is Literature?: A Critical Anthology

Front Cover
Mark Robson
John Wiley & Sons, Apr 13, 2020 - Literary Criticism - 632 pages

An essential guide to understanding literary theory and criticism in the European tradition

What is Literature? A Critical Anthology explores the most fundamental question in literary studies. ‘What is literature?’ is the name of a problem that emerges with the idea of literature in European modernity. This volume offers a cross-section of modern literary theory and reflects on the history of thinking about literature as a specific form. What is Literature? reveals how ideas of the literary draw on the foundations of Western thought in ancient Greece and Rome, charting the emergence of modern literature in the eighteenth century, and including selections from the present state of the art.

The anthology includes the work of leading writers and critics of the last two thousand years including Plato, Henry James, Virginia Woolf, Edward Said, Gayatri Chakravorty Spivak, Jacques Rancière, and many others. The book is an insightful examination of the nature of literature, its meanings and values, functions and forms, provocations and mysteries.

What is Literature? brings together in one volume influential and intriguing essays that show our enduring fascination with the idea of literature. This important guide:

  • Contains a broad selection of the most significant texts on the topic of literature
  • Includes leading writers from ancient times to the most recent thinkers on literature and criticism
  • Encourages readers to reflect on the varied meanings of “literature”

What is Literature? A Critical Anthology is a unique collection of texts that will appeal to every student and scholar of literature and literary criticism in the European tradition.

 

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Contents

Introduction
1
Hamburg Dramaturgy 1769
8
Of the Standard of Taste 1777
32
Critique of Judgment 1790
45
On the Aesthetic Education of Man 1795
65
On the Study of Greek Poetry 1797 and Philosophical Fragments
74
Lectures on Dramatic Art 1811
88
Preface to Lyrical Ballads with Pastoral and Other Poems 1802
104
Pierre Menard Author of the Quixote
299
Literature and the Right to Death 1948
320
Language 1950
349
Trying to Understand Endgame 1958
363
The Meridian 1960
389
Out and Out AttacksWays OutForays 1975
411
What is a Minor Literature? 1975
426
The Literary Absolute 1978
441

Biographia Literaria 1817
124
Lectures on Fine Art 1835
134
The Function of Criticism at the Present Time 1864
148
The Birth of Tragedy 1872
166
The Art of Fiction 1884
188
Crisis of Verse 1897
202
The Uncanny 1919
226
Tradition and the Individual Talent 1919 and The Function
252
A Room of Ones Own 1929
265
Reflections on the Works of Nikolai Leskov
282
Orientalism 1978
459
Autobiography as Defacement 1979
479
Questions of Ambivalence and Authority under
519
What Is the History of Literature? 1997
538
A Critique of Postcolonial Reason 1999
558
Literature for the Planet 2001
576
The Politics of Literature 2003
596
Close Reading in an Age of Global Writing 2013
609
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About the author (2020)

MARK ROBSON??is the Chair of English and Theatre Studies at the University of Dundee, Scotland, where he also teaches philosophy and visual culture. He founded and is the Director of the Centre for Critical and Creative Cultures at Dundee, and is author and editor of several books including Theatre & Death, The Sense of Early Modern Writing and (with James Loxley) Shakespeare, Jonson, and the Claims of the Performative.

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