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Publisher's Summary

It sounds daunting: all those '-isms', long technical words, weird French thinkers, and incomprehensible Germans. You can't read a book nowadays, it seems, without being required to refer to them. From university students to the average intelligent reader, everyone is expected to justify their 'theoretical perspective'. The problem is that defining what you mean by 'theory', let alone what you mean by 'literary', causes most people, including the theorists themselves, to mumble incoherently and shuffle their feet. And it is not as though there were just one coherent body of theory to master: there are Formalist, Structuralist, Marxist, and Psychoanalytical theories; Post-structuralist, Post-colonialist, and Postmodernist theories; not to mention Feminist and Queer theories, and even Anti-Theories! Most books providing introductions to "Literary Theory" are long-winded tomes, guiding dogged readers through the twists and turns of critical analysis and logic. This small volume goes to the heart of the key concepts of literary theory, explaining them in clear, everyday language.It provides witty and memorable comments and quotations, and enables the student of literature to raise the most pertinent and challenging questions, which even university professors have difficulty answering.
©2006 Pocket Essentials; (P)2009 Summersdale Publishers Ltd
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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful

By Jeffrey on 06-14-11

Not bad

It's a good overview; covers all the relevant topics. Especially useful if you already know theory and want a refresher or an outline to keep skills sharp. Wonderful that the narrator's voice is a woman's (at least for my taste), but she talks just a beat too fast for explaining difficult material. This thing could have been about an hour longer, just a tad more engaging, and been much better.

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1 of 1 people found this review helpful


By Kenneth A. Wedin on 01-20-15

Appreciably Greater Detail than Similar Intros

Carter's book is superior to any other literary theory introduction I have read, filled with more detail than others that I've purchased, including Culler's Literary Theory: A Very Short Introduction, published by Oxford.

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful

By Michael on 08-12-09

Another attempt, another failure

Literary theory is important. It is also not as complicated and complex as so many academics seem to want to make it. David Carter's attempt to present literary theory in the language of those mere mortals who are not part of the academic 'club' fails, and falls hard. He not only imbues his analysis with an 'Englishness' that should have been left behind on colonial sands, but couches his work in the language of a Victorian toff. Frustratingly boring, uninspiring and, quite simply, another failure.

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6 of 6 people found this review helpful


By Elena on 07-15-14

It was great.

If you could sum up Literary Theory in three words, what would they be?

Viewpoints are different.

What did you like best about this story?

The essential was given clearly, intelligibly, and with humor.

What about Annette Rizzo’s performance did you like?

I liked it very much.

Was there a moment in the book that particularly moved you?

The last chapter.

Any additional comments?

It would be nice if you mentioned that there is a kindle edition for this book. It is cheaper to buy kindle addition and then audible book.

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